The Canadian men’s basketball program could soon be bolstered by the greater involvement of two old hands: Steve Nash and Jay Triano.
Although the details are still being worked out by Canada Basketball, the sport’s national governing body is close to announcing – perhaps in the next month or so – that both will have more of a say in its day-to-day operations.
Triano of Niagara Falls, Ont., will likely be welcomed back as the head coach of the senior men’s team (a post he held from 1998 to 2005).
The potential role for Nash, a Victoria native and two-time NBA most valuable player with the Phoenix Suns, looks to be more of an executive posting, such as the one Wayne Gretzky assumed with Hockey Canada in the lead-up to the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Wayne Parrish, executive director and chief executive officer of Canada Basketball, confirmed Wednesday he has had ongoing discussions with both men over the last several months about their future roles within the organization.
Canada Basketball has been without a men’s head coach for the senior team since Leo Rautins resigned last September. There is no urgency to fill the job as the men failed to qualify for the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games in London, thus there are no meaningful games for the Canadian side this summer.
Both Triano and Nash are already members of Canada Basketball’s council of excellence, which acts as an advisory committee to the organization’s various programs.
When asked specifically if Basketball Canada was planning on hiring Triano, who was head coach of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors from late 2008 to the end of the 2011 season, for the vacant national team job, Parrish chose his words carefully.
“I think Jay’s a tremendous coach,” he said. “And it was phenomenal, and is still phenomenal, that we had a Canadian head coach for three seasons in the NBA. I would love for him to be involved in the program in a more fulsome way. He has a greater involvement now the last three years that he’s been involved in the council.
“If that developed into something further, I think that would be excellent for the program as well.”
As for Nash, who donned the Canada jersey at the 2000 Olympics and several international tournaments, Parrish said he has often talked with the 38-year-old point guard about his future involvement in Canada Basketball once the timing is right.
“I think there is going to be an opportunity at some point,” Parrish said.
He said Canada Basketball’s men’s program is at a bit of a crossroads in relation to its business structure and the continued influx of emerging young talent such as Tristan Thompson of Brampton, Ont., and Cory Joseph of Pickering, Ont. – both first-round picks in last June’s NBA draft – bodes well for the future of the Canadian game.
“In order to maximize the success of what we do going forward, we thought we would take this time period to really sort everything out and really look at it from a structural point of view,” Parrish said. “It also involves the personnel.”
Parrish said among other things to be dealt with is the underfunding of the men’s senior program, which, he said, is about “over 10-times less” than what other world basketball powers spend on their men’s teams.