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.
Superstar players wanting to team up together and going to great lengths to make that happen has become an increasingly common theme in the modern day NBA, and one of the greatest coaches of all time has mixed emotions about it.
With Kirstaps Porzingis having been traded on Thursday and Anthony Davis publicly asking the New Orleans Pelicans to find a new home for him, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked about the trend of star players demanding trades. While the five-time NBA champion said he can understand why it would be bad for the league, he sides with players who want to better their personal situations.
Gregg Popovich acknowledges that the trend of star players demanding trades might have negative, “deleterious” effects on the NBA. But “Having said all that, I still have to side with individuals doing what they want with the rest of their lives.”
— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) January 31, 2019
Popovich, of course, is quite familiar with having a superstar player who wants out. Kawhi Leonard did everything he could to force the Spurs to trade him, and he eventually got his wish. The circumstances with Porzingis and the New York Knicks seemed similar, and Anthony Davis is likely to have his wish granted at some point between now and next year’s NBA trade deadline.
Some prominent basketball people are calling for the NBA to intervene in situations like the one with Davis, but it’s unclear what the league could do. Teams want to recoup assets if players have no intention of sticking around long-term, and that is what gives superstars like Davis leverage.
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The San Antonio Spurs may have won on Tuesday night, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell based on Gregg Popovich’s postgame interview.
The Spurs needed a last-second shot from Rudy Gay to top the Suns 126-124. Maybe it’s because they were facing an 11-42 team, but Pop felt like his Spurs did not put forth their best effort. He ripped his team after the game, saying they were “outplayed, outcoached” by the Suns, who got robbed.
— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) January 30, 2019
Between this and calling a timeout 16 seconds into a recent game, it’s clear Pop is trying to send a message to his team. He is not satisfied with their play and wants them to know it.
San Antonio may be 30-22, but Pop knows that is not good enough in what is a tough and competitive Western Conference.
There were numerous reports over the summer that the San Antonio Spurs had no intention of trading Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Lakers no matter what the circumstances, and they may be hoping the New Orleans Pelicans follow the same rule with Anthony Davis.
Stephen A. Smith said on ESPN’s “First Take” Tuesday morning that he has been told Spurs coach Gregg Popovich reached out to Pelicans GM Dell Demps to urge him to not cave to the Lakers in trade talks surrounding Davis.
“I’ve been told that one of the people Dell Demps has communicated with is Gregg Popovich — not for trade talks or anything, but Popovich has said, ‘Don’t cave to the Los Angeles Lakers, like we didn’t. Don’t think for one second that you have to be compelled to move Anthony Davis now. You can wait,'” Smith said. “That’s what he’s been telling Dell Demps.”
Smith followed up his own report by saying he’s unsure if it’s true, so it doesn’t sound like he has the utmost confidence in his sources.
It sounds like Davis is planning to tell interested teams he is only willing to sign a long-term extension with the Lakers, but that may not hurt his trade value all that much. The Boston Celtics can probably offer the best package for Davis, and they are said to be among several teams who are willing to trade for Davis without assurances that he will sign a new deal. The Celtics cannot trade for Davis until the summer because they already acquired one “Rose Rule” contract player in Kyrie Irving, so it would make the most sense for New Orleans to wait things out until all the bidders can get involved.
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San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is not really known to be a sentimental guy, so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that he’s not really interested in coaches praising rival players.
Popovich said it’s “baloney” when NBA coaches praise their opponent’s players, adding that it “doesn’t mean anything.”
Gregg Popovich said he doesn't have an opinion on Brad Beal's development because he leaves scouting up to his assistant coaches. Then he said of other coaches complimenting opposing players, "Everybody just tries to stroke everybody. It's the way of the world…It's all baloney" pic.twitter.com/Y5MhSB4LQ1
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) January 27, 2019
It’s safe to say the reporter won’t get the quote he was looking for about Bradley Beal’s ball-handling. Popovich won’t even accept praise from his former assistants, so don’t count on him dishing it out freely himself.
DeMar DeRozan was on the bench for the final play in Wednesday’s San Antonio Spurs-Philadelphia 76ers game, leading to some questions. Following the game, Gregg Popovich shared his reasoning for the decision.
Popovich says he held DeRozan out because he wanted his best 3-point shooters on the floor.
Gregg Popovich says he took out DeMar DeRozan for the final possession in order to get as much 3-point shooting on the floor as possible. "We didn't want to go to overtime."
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 24, 2019
The Spurs lost to the Sixers 122-120. DeRozan was blocked on a go-ahead layup attempt on the Spurs’ previous possession, which might have upset Popovich.
DeRozan gets blocked and the Sixers get the W. pic.twitter.com/ToL7YIqImC
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 24, 2019
DeRozan had 26 points in the game and is the Spurs’ leading scorer. Seeing him out for the play was surprising, but it makes sense since DeRozan isn’t a 3-point shooter. This isn’t the first time DeRozan’s been benched at the end of a game before, as the same thing also happened in Toronto. We’ll see if it creates any hard feelings.
Gregg Popovich had a funny response to praise he received from Brett Brown ahead of Wednesday’s game between their teams.
Brown, who was an assistant coach under Popovich in San Antonio, called Pop the best NBA coach ever. Pop gave a straight-faced response, saying Brown is full of s—.
The video is below but contains the profanity:
I asked Gregg Popovich about his former assistant Brett Brown saying he is the best to ever coach in NBA
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) January 23, 2019
Brown was part of the Spurs’ organization from 1998-1999 and 2002-2013 before getting the head coaching job with the Philadelphia 76ers. His Sixers enter the game with the better record, but Pop having San Antonio 27-21 the season after losing Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, is as impressive as ever.