A few years back Gregg Popovich used to joke that when Tim Duncan decided to stroll off into the sunset he was going to do the same — he joked he looked brilliant while coaching Duncan.
However, at the Finals this year Popovich hinted more than once that he was having too much fun and was not yet ready to walk away.
That became evident Wednesday when the Spurs announced a multi-year agreement to keep Popovich as coach, the team announced. The two-sentence press release was something Popovich himself might have written.
No details were released and coach salaries are not made public, but Popovich is believed to make $6 million a season. He also has player personnel power, something shared with GM R.C. Buford. It was rumored this would be a 4-5 year extension, but that is only rumor.
What this really says is that Popovich wants to be in place to help the Spurs transition from the Duncan/Tony Parker/Manu Ginobili era to the Kawhi Leonard era. (Parker could be part of that transition, he is just 32 years old.)
But that is then, next season the Spurs are bringing all the key pieces back from the team that just won the NBA title (plus have a mid-level exception to add more talent). They are the team to beat and nobody can get as much out of them as Popovich, the best coach in the game today and one of the greats to ever coach the game.
Is the Derrick Rose/Jimmy Butler relationship nothing but puppy dogs and rainbows? No. There will be sparks between two intense competitors.
Have those sparks started a fire Bulls fans should be concerned about? A report on Wednesday said the core problem was Butler doesn’t respect Rose’s work ethic, which provided some kindling for that spark to catch.
However, as you would expect, Butler said this was all much ado about nothing, that he and Rose are all good. Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Spin this however you wish: Their relationship is fine and someone in the media is making this up; or their relationship has been rough, and this is all just leaking out now.
This is a Bulls team in a bit of a transition as Rose declines some and Butler has grown into a top-flight player. Clearly that dynamic has some people around the team — likely the people in one of one of the players’ camps doesn’t like the power struggle or where it leaves his buddy — talking out of school to the press.
But as Butler noted, winning cures all ills. If Chicago can get off to a fast start, nobody will be asking chemistry questions.
For now, however, tounges are wagging.
The NBA is still investigating and can take its own action. In theory people involved in the incident could decide to file a civil lawsuit (although Fisher said he would not).
However, Memphis’ Matt Barnes is not going to face any criminal charges for an altercation he instigated with Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher at the home of Barnes’ estranged wife in Los Angeles, according to police, who talked to TMZ.
Matt Barnes will NOT be charged with a crime for allegedly attacking Derek Fisher over the weekend … the Redondo Beach Police Department tells TMZ Sports.
Cops tell us they did respond to an incident and a police report was filed regarding the altercation — but officers say the case “was reviewed and there is no basis for criminal charges.” As we previously reported, a witness at the home says Barnes struck Fisher in the face and a fight ensued. However, the NY Post is reporting that Fisher did not want to pursue charges against Barnes.
Fisher has been seeing Gloria Govan — Barnes’ estranged wife and star of the “Basketball Wives” reality series — for several months, and was over at her house in the South Bay of Los Angeles Saturday night, along with other friends. Barnes said he got a call from one of his two sons, who “looked distressed” that Fisher was over, and that caused Barnes to drive over to the house. Once he arrived an altercation broke out between the two men, with Barnes allegedly texting a friend that he beat up Fisher and spat in his wife’s face. That’s not going to scar the young boy any further, well done.
If Barnes did this as described (and we don’t know the details), the NBA has to look hard at this. Barnes does not get to decide for a woman he is no longer seeing who she can and cannot see, and who she has over to her home. She is not property. That is the level of control seen in domestic abuse situations, and the league can’t sit back and tolerate it.