Ivkovic's agent was in negotiations with the Golden State Warriors for him to take over the head coaching job.

Credit: BNS/Tomas Lukšys
Credit BNS/Tomas Lukšys

Dusan 'Duda' Ivkovic was one the most famous European basketball coaches of all time. At one moment, he could have coached in the NBA.

Bill Duffy is one of the most respected agents in the business. He currently represents players like Luka Doncic, RJ Barrett, Nikola Vucevic, Deandre Ayton, or Chet Holmgren. Back in the day, he represented Ivkovic as well.

In an interview with Sportal, Duffy revealed that the legendary Duda was close to becoming the first NBA head coach from Europe.

"The coach I always thought about was Ivkovic. We tried to help Ivkovic come to Golden State. At one point, many years ago, Chris Mullin was the general manager, and we had a meeting in Miami to help coach Ivkovic," he revealed. "It didn't work, it was a matter of timing."

"Too bad, I thought it would be the real deal. In my opinion, he was very dignified, brilliant, had excellent communication skills, and was well respected," Duffy said about Ivkovic. "That was my dream to see Ivkovic as a coach in America. I know he passed away. God rest his soul. We loved him."

When remembering Ivkovic, Duffy said that he was reminiscent of an old wise man who would always share his lifelong knowledge with him.

"I always saw him as a wise man. He kind of reminds me of John Wooden," the famous agent said. "He is just like the Godfather. A wise man. He always had smart things to say. You learn from that. I spent a lot of time with him. If I went to Europe, I would even go to his place. We had lunch together. He was very grateful that we tried to connect him with the NBA. This was many years ago. I wish that had happened."

In his last interview with Sport24 before his death, Ivkovic himself revealed that there was serious interest from the NBA, particularly from the Denver Nuggets back in 2002. Contrary to the situation with the Warriors, he should have become a consultant before assuming a higher role in the organization.

"We left, and Bill Duffy said to me, 'Be ready to sign the contract tomorrow morning.' We found out the size of the contract and what my role would've been. We had agreed that  I would be a consultant during the first to learn the reality of the NBA and then have another two-year contract."

"The next morning, while we were drinking coffee, I was told that the team owners were on vacation and we couldn't finish the signings," the legendary specialist said. A few days later, he signed with CSKA Moscow.

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