SAN ANTONIO — Gregg Popovich was anticipating certain types of questions to be lobbed his way during Saturday’s media availability in advance of Sunday’s Game 5, where his Spurs will have a chance to finish off the Heat and win a fifth NBA title under his reign as the team’s head coach.
But he wasn’t necessarily expecting to be probed about his future.
It’s been speculated that Popovich may choose to end his coaching tenure at the same time as Tim Duncan, who has only a player option for next season remaining on his deal. If indeed that was the plan, it would make sense for Popovich to groom a successor to continue his winning tradition. But it hasn’t exactly been a priority for someone so focused on the task at hand.
“I don’t think about legacy very often or at all, I guess,” Popovich said. “But if something like that happened or was available, we’d do it, but we haven’t really discussed it.”
Duncan wanted no part of retirement talk when he faced a similar line of of questioning.
“I don’t have any plans on doing anything,” Duncan said. “I’m going to figure it out when it comes. I’m not saying I’m retiring, I’m not saying I’m not retiring. I’m not saying anything. I’m going to figure it out as it goes.”
“I don’t have a timeframe,” he continued. “I don’t think about it. Whatever people are saying or who has insight on whatever, they’re getting it from somewhere else because I haven’t told anybody anything nor have I thought about it in any respect.”
While Duncan made it clear he’s truly undecided, Popovich was a bit more willing to commit to continuing his brilliant career.
“I don’t feel tired,” Popovich said. “I mean, I’m tired today, but I mean in general. I’d like to continue to coach.”
Beyond this season?
“Sure,” he said. “I didn’t think I was going to have to answer those kind of questions today.”
The reason that those were the questions that came, of course, was due to the fact that the Spurs — a team that’s won at least 50 games for 15 straight seasons — have a commanding 3-1 lead over the Heat in these Finals. And based on how San Antonio has performed offensively in this series, most observers expect that its result is now a foregone conclusion.
All of which forces us to look forward to what might be next for one of the league’s all-time great franchises.