Spurs operating as if Popovich will be back, but rumors persist

Sam Amico

While much of the talk around the league is Gregg Popovich's run with the San Antonio Spurs may have reached an end, the Spurs themselves sure don't seem to think that way.

"Pop’s shown nothing other than how we’re going to build our team for next year,” Spurs general manager R.C. Buford told reporters on a Zoom call.

There would be no reason to think Popovich would leave the Spurs after 26 years -- except for the fact the Brooklyn Nets may come calling. According to one report, he is the Nets' top priority in their coaching search.

The Nets, of course, boast talents such as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, along with several other notables. They could contend for a title.

The Spurs missed the playoffs for the first time in 23 seasons. They could end up trading LaMarcus Aldridge, and perhaps even DeMar DeRozan. It's hard to say, because no one even knows when next season will begin.

Either way, Durant and Irving will have some say in the search and both are big Popovich fans. If the Nets wanted Popovich, and he wanted the Nets, they would owe the Spurs some sort of compensation (most likely draft picks and cash).

For now, though, that is just the same speculation that rules every NBA offseason.

"Pop’s vision will be in play long after his presence," Buford said. "That doesn’t mean it’ll be him in there making those decisions, but we’ve all learned together, and you’re not going to step away from a values-based, team-building aspect that focuses on culture and coming to work every day and working on it.”