Gregg Popovich has yet to state publicly if he intends to continue coaching the San Antonio Spurs next season, but all signs point to him coming back for his 24th season with the team.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Popovich is expected to sign a three-year extension with the Spurs that will make him the highest-paid coach in the NBA. Despite the length of the new deal, the Spurs understand the 70-year-old will continue evaluate his coaching future on a year-to-year basis.
Popovich has five NBA titles and is one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game. He’s trying to get the Spurs back to being a championship contender after they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs the past two seasons. His 1,245 victories rank third on the all-time list behind only Don Nelson and Lenny Wilkins.
For what it’s worth, Popovich intends to coach Team USA in the FIBA World Cup in China in September and then in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. He recently gave a classic Popovich response when asked if he will return next season, but it would be a surprise if he retired at this point.
Good luck getting a straight answer out of Gregg Popovich about his coaching future.
On Monday, Popovich was asked about his contractual status for 2019-20, and he joked that he was already negotiating with some other teams who are off the map a bit.
— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) April 29, 2019
Popovich also dropped plenty of hints, however, to indicate that he intends to return for next season.
And..as he walked away, Popovich wished the media a great summer and said we’ll joke some more in the fall. Think that’s another way of saying he plans to be back. #Spurs
— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) April 29, 2019
Popovich hasn’t given any indication that he doesn’t plan to be back. Sure, he’s been prickly during the playoffs, but that isn’t really anything out of the ordinary. He’ll play coy about it and he doesn’t like to answer the questions, but all signs point to him returning for another season on the San Antonio sideline.
The San Antonio Spurs had a brainfart at the end of their Game 7 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night, which left Gregg Popovich in complete disbelief.
The Spurs were down 90-86 to the Nuggets in the deciding game of their first-round playoff series. With only 24 seconds left in the game, the Spurs’ best chance of winning or tying was to foul Denver to stop the clock and hope they missed free throws. Instead, they were playing defense as if it were a one-possession game.
Popovich could be seen motioning to his players to foul Denver, which they never did.
— 69 (@ftbeard_17) April 28, 2019
After Denver missed their shot attempt, the Spurs got the ball back but there was so little time it didn’t matter.
“Obviously he didn’t hear anything, because he didn’t foul,” Popovich said after the game.
What were the Spurs players on the floor thinking at that point? There’s no other explanation than a horrendous mental mistake.
Gregg Popovich had to have set a record on Saturday for the briefest pre-game press conference of all time.
Popovich went to a media room to answer questions before the San Antonio Spurs’ playoff game against the Denver Nuggets. He sat down at the podium with a microphone in front of him for a few seconds. There were no questions, so he quickly got up and left.
Gregg Popovich with the quickest pre-game press conference of all-time pic.twitter.com/AwABWK9etz
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) April 20, 2019
That. Was. Amazing.
Popovich is typically terse with the media, especially during in-game interviews. In this case, he didn’t even have to do anything to not be bothered with questions.
His Spurs lead the first-round series 2-1 against the Nuggets.
Gregg Popovich is a five-time NBA champion and one of the greatest coaches in basketball history, but his passion for the sport is rivaled by his love for wining and dining. While Popovich’s incredible basketball IQ and leadership qualities have allowed him to draft, sign and develop some great players over the years, it was his affinity for wine and a good dinner that helped him land Manu Ginobili.
ESPN’s Baxter Holmes published a fantastic feature this week that examines Popovich’s borderline obsession with wine and fine dining. Several players explained to Holmes how Popovich uses the culinary world to bring his teams closer together, and the three-time NBA Coach of the Year said his passion for hosting a good gathering led him to Ginobili many years ago.
Steve McHugh, the owner and chef at upscale restaurant Cured in San Antonio, once asked Popovich why he was going through so much trouble to select what he felt were the perfect appetizers and wines for a dinner he hosted with Spanish basketball officials back in 2015. Popovich said most NBA teams will pass off such obligations to assistant coaches or front office executives, but he explained how hosting a contingent from Argentina in similar fashion years prior landed him one of the most important players in Spurs franchise history.
“I blew ’em away, and we wined ’em, we dined ’em. We gave them photo ops. We gave ’em everything they wanted,” Popovich recalled. “That’s how we found out about Manu, when nobody else knew about him.”
Popovich has been known to do the same for his players, even after brutal losses.
“I was friends with every single teammate I ever had in my [time] with the Spurs. That might sound far-fetched, but it’s true,” one former Spurs player told Holmes. “And those team meals were one of the biggest reasons why. To take the time to slow down and truly dine with someone in this day and age — I’m talking a two- or three-hour dinner — you naturally connect on a different level than just on the court or in the locker room.”
While many of us only know the Pop who treats sideline reporters like he’d rather be getting a root canal than chatting with them for 30 seconds, his players and confidants know the other side to him. In many ways, Popovich’s passion for wine sounds like it has helped his career as much as his dedication to the game of basketball.
Gregg Popovich is having a tough time with the officials.
Popovich was ejected 63 seconds into Wednesday night’s San Antonio Spurs-Denver Nuggets game. He received two technical fouls, which triggered the automatic ejection. He was perplexed upon being tossed:
Pop got tossed 1:03 min into the game… pic.twitter.com/qZehhTeezU
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 4, 2019
Ettore Messina served as the team’s coach after Pop’s ejection.
This is the second ejection for Pop in the Spurs’ last three games. He was also tossed in the third quarter of the team’s loss to the Kings on Sunday.
Gregg Popovich had to be held back as he was tossed for arguing with officials. pic.twitter.com/2ZdmVTky9p
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 1, 2019
Gregg Popovich had a funny exchange with a cameraman prior to the San Antonio Spurs’ game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.
The Spurs coach was getting ready to do a pregame interview in what appeared to be a tunnel that didn’t have great lighting, so a camera person had a light on to film. Pop asked if the light was necessary because he preferred not to be interrogated if it wasn’t.
Funny Gregg Popovich moment before the game at MSG.
Pop: Do you need that?
Reporter: Mumbles something about dimming the light.
Pop: Well, if you need it, you need it, but if you don't, I'd rather not be interrogated. I didn't do it. I probably did pic.twitter.com/YtWW2gTfek
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) February 25, 2019
For someone with a reputation of being a difficult interview,that was a funny and lighthearted moment.
He was probably a lot more cheerful before his team lost 130-118 to a Knicks squad that had previously lost 18 straight home games.