San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has been coaching in the NBA for almost 30 years now. During his nearly three-decade at the helm, the Spurs have won five NBA titles, with the most recent one coming in 2014 against the Miami Heat.
However, over the last couple of seasons, there has been some charter that Coach Pop might call a career. In a recent piece for Bleacher Report, Jake Fischer shared that there are still questions surrounding when he might retire.
“The fact that Spurs officials and rival team personnel persistently whisper about his eventual retirement, when it will arrive, and who will ultimately replace him, is noteworthy in itself.
“Over beers, we always talk,” one former Spurs staffer said. “But nobody knows.”
“Nobody necessarily even internally knows,” the executive said.
The next question would be who would replace Coach Pop at the helm. According to Fischer, there have been rumors that Kansas head coach Bill Self could be named as his replacement.
“The person having Kansas ties would be really important. It’s kind of sacred,” one executive said. “You talk about the Spurs tree—the Spurs tree goes through Kansas. You gotta keep in mind, that goes all the way back to James Naismith, who literally invented the game of basketball.”
Another candidate could be Becky Hammon, who I asked Coach Pop directly about a couple of years ago, and he said someone has to replace me.
“Well, somebody is going to replace me, I really don’t know who that is going to be,” Popovich told me.
Despite being the longest-tenured assistant coach, it doesn’t automatically mean they will name her the next head coach, according to an NBA coach that spoke with Bleacher Report.
“Just because she’s the first female assistant on the front of the bench doesn’t mean she’s the first head coach. There’s just a lot more responsibility, and very few assistants, male or female, are truly capable of moving over to the first chair,” one NBA coaching figure told B/R. “She got pumped up for being the first. It’s a blessing and a curse. It’s a difficult situation to be in.”
On Friday afternoon, Jamal Crawford was on Twitter Spaces in the HoopSpaces. During that chat, the former three-time sixth man of the year was asked if this was Pop’s last season. Who did he think would replace him?
“I think Pop is so much more than a coach. When I look at him, I don’t look like someone who is just a basketball team coach. Everything he stands for and talking to people who played for the Spurs. The Spurs low key has been the blueprint the past 20 years that I have been in the league. You had teams like the Celtics, Warriors, Lakers, and had different teams over that time run, but the Spurs have been there time and time again, and no matter who suits up, you know that they will compete like hell,” said Crawford.
“You know that we will play the right way and Pop everything he stands for; you know he means more than just a basketball coach. He is a first-ballot, first-ballot, first-ballot Hall of Famer when he decides to hang up his coaching suit.”
We are two weeks away from the start of the NBA season, and the Spurs will host the Orlando Magic on October 20th.