Will Gregg Popovich Leave Spurs For Nets?
The Brooklyn Nets are preparing to make a very serious push for current San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. Will they be successful in luring him to the Big Apple?
Almost certainly not.
One of the NBA’s worst kept secrets has been Nets owner Joseph Tsai’s desire to hire Popovich. Chatter regarding this restarted last week when the regular season concluded.
Although the Nets are technically still alive and set to play the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the Eastern Conference NBA Playoffs, nobody is giving them much of a shot.
They went 1-3 against Toronto in the regular season and are +1800 to win the series.
That is why everyone is already looking forward to next season.
Jacque Vaughn is currently the team’s interim head coach, but retaining him in that position permanently is not something Tsai wants to do.
The Nets owner wants to go big – and there is no bigger fish in the sea right now than Popovich.
Gregg Popovich Won’t Leave The Spurs
While Brooklyn’s interest in Popovich is understandable, it will not actually result in much of substance. There is no realistic scenario where they lure him to New York. His ties to San Antonio are just too strong, and his legacy there is too important to him.
Updated Nets coaching odds from @betonline_ag:
Tyronn Lue- 5/2
Jeff Van Gundy-7/1
— Alex Schiffer (@Alex__Schiffer) August 17, 2020
Popovich has been with the Spurs since 1996. Since then, he has led the organization to five NBA championships. Beyond that, prior to this year, San Antonio finished with a winning record in each of its 22 full seasons.
Last week, the Spurs officially missed the playoffs for the first time in 23 seasons.
While there is no conceivable situation where San Antonio will become a legitimate championship contender again under Popovich, he will stick it out as long as he wants to. Nobody will ask him to leave, that’s for sure. He will coach the Spurs until he doesn’t want to coach anymore, and then he will retire.
This is not a Phil Jackson situation. Whereas Jackson became comfortable jumping from franchise to franchise after his stint with the Chicago Bulls, Popovich never displayed similar tendencies.
Unfortunately for the Nets, he is a Spurs lifer.
Some Nets Players Want Jacque Vaughn To Stay On
Not everyone in Brooklyn is calling for Popovich, though. Some Nets players have grown very fond of Vaughn and want him to be kept into next year.
One such player? Joe Harris. During a recent interview, he gave a wholehearted endorsement of Vaughn and his style.
“J.V. has been awesome,” he said.
“He’s been with us the last four years since I’ve been here. He’s been an unbelievable assistant while he’s been here and he’s been a great head coach throughout this entire time even before the bubble.
“Everybody loves J.V. We love playing for him. We love competing for him. He is sort of the ideal leader through all of this. He’s a real calming presence, an unbelievable basketball mind. Guys just play hard for him and love playing for him.”
How much Harris’ opinion reflects that of his teammates remains to be seen. You have to figure that if the call for Vaughn to be kept on grows loud enough, someone upstairs will listen.
Other Names Are Being Mentioned
Winning the lottery with Popovich or making Vaughn the real head coach are not Brooklyn’s only options. The organization has also expressed interest in some other notable big names.
Current Los Angeles Clippers assistant Ty Lue, former Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson, and current Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd have all been mentioned as potential candidates.
Once the season ends and management begins making moves, a clearer image should emerge regarding who will ultimately be the Nets’ next head coach.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.