10:05 AM ET 12.01 | While waiting for that $250,000 fine that Gregg Popovich and the Spurs ultimately incurred Friday night, wondering like everyone else about what sort of precedents will be set leaguewide now that San Antonio's bill has been sent, I found myself fixated just as much on the other big Pop story that will play out before the playoffs. Popovich's chances, namely, of being named Team USA's next coach. Or as conspiracy theorists would surely put it: Will the most public wedge ever driven between the commissioner and the famously stubborn coach in his league emerge as a factor that hurts Pop's chances of succeeding Mike Krzyzewski? I so want to believe the GM who insisted to me Friday: "Absolutely, positively not. The league doesn't get in USA Basketball's way like it used to." The final call on who coaches the national team, of course, belongs to USAB chairman Jerry Colangelo. As it has since 2005. The league, though, does get to register its input, which means Stern will have a voice until his Feb. 1, 2014 retirement. It's thus not much of a stretch to imagine the league (re: Stern) lobbying USA Basketball to view this whole chaotic episode, no matter how far Stern overreached, as a prime example of Pop's long-perceived reluctance to be more of a partner with the league office than they've historically been.