Gregg Popovich refuses to address coaching future after Spurs loss, calls question ‘inappropriate’

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Gregg Popovich has done everything an NBA head coach can do. He has won five championships and three Coach of the Year awards. He became the winningest coach in NBA history this season and has led the Spurs for nearly three decades. But Popovich is also 73 years old. The players he won championships with have retired or left, and naturally, all of this has led to speculation about Popovich’s retirement. Sooner or later, he will have to call it a career.

But right now, he’s not ready to have that discussion. Following San Antonio’s loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, a reporter asked him about his future and he responded by calling the question “inappropriate. Popovich is usually aloof with the press, so the response was hardly surprising. Whenever he announces his retirement, it certainly won’t be after a game, and it will likely be a fairly low-key announcement. When Tim Duncan joined Popovich’s coaching staff for a year, it was done through a simple press release.

But ultimately, Spurs must prepare for Popovich’s retirement and a future without him. Longtime general manager RC Buford was promoted to CEO in 2019, so Popovich is the last big league side to still occupy his original role on the basketball side of the organization. A number of assistant coaches previously believed to be candidates to replace Popovich, including Becky Hammon and Ime Udoka, have since left the team for other opportunities.

Whether or not there is a succession plan in place remains to be seen. When Popovich retires, he will do so with an argument as the greatest coach in NBA history. As such, it has acquired the right to announce its decision under the conditions it deems appropriate.

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