Coach Tim Cone couldn’t hide his excitement after the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Gin Kings repulsed the NLEX Road Warriors, 83-75, and posted their third win in four games Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
But it’s not the coming games of the Kings in the ongoing Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup that have Cone giddy with delight.
His dream of being part of the coaching staff of a team in the NBA is finally happening as he is now set to join the Miami Heat in their offseason games in the Summer League in Las Vegas, San Francisco and Salt Lake City.
Cone said watching the Miami Heat coaching staff prepare and plan for games in the locker room is something he looks forward to.
“I will be able to go. For the first time, I will get a preview of what goes on in the locker room. That to me is exciting,” said Cone, who is also now part of the Gilas Pilipinas national men’s basketball team coaching staff.
The NBA Summer League 2022 will take place July 7 to 17 at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada, featuring all 30 NBA teams playing five games each.
Erik Spoelstra won’t be coaching the Heat, which is putting a different group of players for the 11-day cagefest.
The 12-member squad of the Miami Heat will be coached by Malik Allen, to be made up a few rookie draftees, a part of their regular roster, some free agents and imports and those who won’t part of the draft.
And Cone hopes that the coaching staff will get NBA hopeful Kai Sotto to play for them.
“I hope Kai will be drafted (for the Summer League),” added Cone.
“I was actually supposed to do this two years ago, 2020. But the Summer League was cancelled because of the pandemic,” said Cone.
The invitation for Cone to be part of the Miami Heat staff came after Spoelstra found out that Jimmy Alapag accepted an invitation to join the Sacramento Kings staff for the meet that was held yearly in Las Vegas.
“Coach Spo, he found out about Jimmy, and we were in conversation. He goes, ‘Why don’t you do that? Why don’t you do that with us?’ And I was like, ‘Well, I never got an invitation. If I ever had a chance, I’d dive for it if I could,’” said Cone on his talks with Spoelstra three years ago.
The Summer League was revived last year. But Cone was not available because Ginebra was in the thick of a campaign to make it to the PBA finals .
Cone is headed for the US on June 28 and will hook up with Allen after that.
The American coach also thanked San Miguel Corp. President and CEO Ramon S. And and the company’s sports director Alfrancis Chua for supporting his move to be part of the Heat this July.