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Coach K to the NBA: Mike Krzyzewski joins league as special adviser

With other teams struggling and Nikola Jokic thriving, the Nuggets look like a solid bet for the NBA championship.

Mike Krzyzewski is coming out of retirement and heading to the NBA — as an adviser, not a coach.

The league announced Wednesday that Krzyzewski, the Hall of Famer and all-time men’s college Division I coaching wins leader, is its new special adviser to basketball operations. He will be present next week at the league’s general managers meeting in Chicago, coinciding with the draft lottery and combine there.

“We are honored to have Coach K join the NBA family and share his vast experience and expertise with the league and our teams,” said Byron Spruell, the NBA’s president of league operations. “As a preeminent coach and renowned leader who cares deeply about the game of basketball, he is uniquely suited to drive discussions and offer insights about the present and future of the NBA.”

The former Duke coach “will provide counsel to the league office, NBA team executives and other leaders across the league on a host of issues related to the game,” the league said.

Krzyzewski retired after the 2021-22 season with five national championships - along with a slew of records including 1,202 wins at the men’s Division I level, 13 Final Four appearances, 36 NCAA Tournament trips and 101 NCAA Tournament game wins.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to deepen my connection to the NBA and participate in conversations about further strengthening the league and the game,” Krzyzewski said. “Even in my retirement from coaching, my passion for the sport has never been higher. This role will enable me to stay engaged with basketball at the highest level.”

Krzyzewski turned down opportunities to join the NBA as a coach multiple times during his Duke career. He worked with NBA players through his long stint as coach of USA Basketball’s senior men’s team - going 88-1 in that role with three Olympic gold medals, two Basketball World Cup gold medals and one gold in the FIBA AmeriCup.