British Basketball director Toni Minichiello believes Great Britain’s head coaching flex can pay off.

Marc Steutel will take charge of the men’s team in their opening EuroBasket qualifier against Montenegro on Friday after Nate Reinking was not released by the NBA G-League’s Canton Charge for the game, or next Monday’s clash with Germany in Newcastle.

Reinking is highly-regarded enough within the Cleveland Cavaliers hierarchy that there were discussions, according to The Athletic, about him stepping up from Canton to become the interim coach of their parent NBA club midway through last season.

It is unclear whether the impending exit of present Cavaliers head coach John Beilein was related to Canton’s insistence that he stay put.

However his lack of availability has raised questions over whether the appointment of the former GB guard on a six-year contract was the right move, given the nature of FIBA’s new (ish) international windows which clash with the NBA season.

But Minichiello is confident that Reinking’s long-term oversight, combined with guiding Steutel from afar, can pay dividends for GB despite his absence this week.

“He stepped into it at short notice when Alberto stepped away,” he said. “You’ve a G-League head coach so there was always going to be a negotiation.

“And you’re always negotiating: it depends how the season’s going, what the General Manager thinks. So we always knew this could happen – and there were always 2-3 provisional options.

“One was Marc, there were others. But what’s brilliant is we have a succession plan. It’s a British coach. He’s been around Nate. What you have to do if you want to build productively within the sport, there has to be some continuity.

“Look at the women’s programme with Chema (Buceta). You engage with the players and you know where they’re going. Nate is part of that.”

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When Reinking would be available to Great Britain is unclear, however, with every chance he earns a promotion within the Cavs structure next summer.

The remaining two windows in this qualifying campaign – November 2020 and February 2021 – are also during the NBA and G-League seasons.

“It will always be a negotiation,” acknowledged Minichiello. “The hope is we’ll know better in advance.”


Photo: MAP

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