The Spurs currently have a record of 27-20, which is the six best record in the west through 47 games. Recently, the Spurs were in Dallas to take on the Dallas Mavericks, before the game during the media scrum. I asked coach Popovich, who will be turning 70 years old on January 28, if he could see Becky Hammon replacing him whenever he said to step down as head coach of the Spurs.
“Well, somebody is going to replace me, I really don’t know who that is going to be,” Popovich told me.
If the Hammon were to take over for Popovich, she would become the first female head coach in NBA history. The Spurs and Popovich have made history when they hired Hammon making her the first female assistant coach in NBA history.
In a recent report by New York Times reporter Mark Stein, Popovich is uncertain if he will return next season.
Stein asked coach Popovich during an interview after the Spurs beat the Mavericks 108-105 if he plan on returning next season “I don’t know the answer,” said Popovich.
Coach Pop added according to Stein:
He and R.C. Buford (Spurs president), have discussed team options moving forward this season.
Buford added: “He’ll coach as long as he wants to coach”
Gregg Popovich has been coaching dating back to 1979, as an assistant at Air Force. The future Hall of Famer would take over the head coaching duties in San Antonio in 1996, after firing Bob Hill and never looked. The 1996 season, was not a great showing for the Spurs, and their best player David Robinson broke his foot after only six games, and he was out for the season. Other injuries included Sean Elliott was also limited to 39 games due to injury, and Chuck Person missed the entire season. The Spurs would finish the season 20-62.
The future for the Spurs was about to get brighter, as they were able to land the number one pick, which turned out to be Tim Duncan. Two years removed from the 1997 NBA Draft, Duncan helped lead the Spurs to their first Championship in a shortened season in 1999 against the New York Knicks.
The duo of Popovich and Duncan would help lead the Spurs to four more championships in six finals appearances in 15 years. Duncan would decide to retire in 2016, leaving the team in the hands of Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker. At the start of the 2017 season, had to deal with questions surrounding their young superstar Kawhi Leonard return date. The Spurs wanted to be cautious with Leonard, but reports started stating the Spurs medical staff had cleared him to play. Leonard and his camp, though, had other ideas. He would end up sitting out the rest of the season and would end up getting traded to Toronto for a couple of players, which include All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan this past summer. Also, longtime point guard Tony Parker decided to sign with the Charlotte Hornets in the offseason.
Popovich recently surpassed Pat Riley for most wins all-time on the road. He is also one of five coaches they have won at least five NBA Championships. Those other coaches are Phil Jackson (11), Red Auerbach (nine), Pat Riley (five) and John Kundla (five).