Gregg Popovich on the approaching end of Tim Duncan’s career: ‘It makes me sad’

9 Comments

The bond between Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and the team’s Hall of Fame big man Tim Duncan is as rare as it is undeniable.

The two have been together for 17 years, stringing together an unprecedented run of success that will be tough to top by any player-coach pair at any point in the future.

The Spurs have won five titles during that span, which is fine. But much more incredible is the fact that the team hasn’t suffered a single down season, winning at least 50 games in all but the lockout-shortened 1999 campaign, which, by the way, resulted in San Antonio posting a .740 regular season winning percentage before coming away with the team’s first championship.

Duncan contemplated retirement this summer, but ultimately decided to return for the final year of his contract. This may or may not be his last season, but the mere thought of the end of Duncan’s career is one that’s upsetting to Popovich.

From Michael Lee of The Washington Post:

“When he’s not at practice, I’m going to be little depressed, I think,” Popovich said this week. “It makes me sad. I’m going to miss it an awful lot…I’ll think about it when it happens and it’ll be tough, but until then I’m not going to start being unhappy now.” …

The length of Popovich’s deal was not made public but it is believed to be for five more years. Popovich has joked for several years that he was headed out of the door right behind Duncan but he acknowledged that he will probably stick around beyond Duncan’s final season, whenever that is.

“That’s very possible. I always said that [he’d leave with Duncan], because it’s kind of a funny line. It seems pretty logical and smart to do that. I know where my bread is buttered,” Popovich said with a laugh. “But I basically made the same commitments to Manu [Ginobili] and to Tony [Parker] that when they signed contracts, they wanted to know if I’m going to be here and I tell them I am, so it’s pretty tough to go ahead and leave.”

Popovich’s deal isn’t iron-clad, obviously, and while Parker is under contract for four more years, Ginobili’s deal (like Duncan’s) is up at the end of the upcoming season.

Though the organization would like to keep him on as long as possible, once Duncan is done, it would be fairly easy to see Popovich similarly stepping away. Parker and Kawhi Leonard are the franchise cornerstones now, but as we saw in the Finals, Duncan is still monumentally important to his team’s ultimate level of success.

Things just won’t be the same in San Antonio once Duncan decides he’s finished. And Popovich knows that.

WNBA suspends Riquna Williams 10 games for domestic violence

Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
1 Comment

NEW YORK (AP) The WNBA has suspended Los Angeles Sparks guard Riquna Williams 10 games for a domestic violence incident.

The WNBA handed down the suspension Tuesday. Williams was arrested on April 29 and charged with two felony counts, one involving the assault of an individual with whom she was in a relationship and the other involving a threat to another person with a firearm. Her criminal case is ongoing.

The league conducted its own investigation and consulted with a panel of experts in the field of domestic violence. Among other factors, the WNBA said it took into account the nature and seriousness of the allegations, including the involvement of a gun.

The WNBA also will require Williams to participate in counseling.

Williams’ suspension will begin with Thursday’s game against the Dallas Wings.

Report: Bulls signing Luke Kornet for guaranteed $4.5M over two years

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Just three 7-footers have averaged 3.5 3-pointers per game and made 35% of them each of the last two seasons:

The Bulls will now have most of them.

Markkanen is Chicago’s top young player. Kornet will join him with the Bulls next season.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

I’m a little surprised Kornet got more than his minimum ($3,383,360 over two years). But it’s worth taking a flier on him.

In addition to his outside shooting, Kornet has shown good timing as a shot-blocker in two seasons with the Knicks. The 24-year-old must get stronger and improve as a rebounder to play major minutes.

But the Bulls won’t have to press him into action. They also have Thaddeus Young, Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Daniel Gafford and Cristiano Felicio as bigs.

Pistons claim Christian Wood off waivers

Cassy Athena/Getty Images
2 Comments

The Bucks waived Christian Wood late last season to ensure avoiding the luxury tax. The Pelicans claimed him. Wood had played well in limited minutes with the 76ers, Hornets and Bucks and in the NBA’s minor league since going undrafted in 2015.

New Orleans gave him his biggest opportunity yet. In 24 minutes per game over eight games, he averaged 17 points and eight rebounds.

But the Pelicans filled their roster for next season and waived Wood.

Detroit will take advantage.

Pistons release:

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has claimed forward/center Christian Wood off waivers.

Wood’s $1,645,357 minimum salary is unguaranteed until the regular season. So, Detroit could still waive him before the season. But it seems he’ll at least go to training camp and get a shot at a regular-season roster spot.

The Pelicans also could’ve kept him through the preseason then waived him before the regular season. They seemingly did him a favor of allowing him to get somewhere he has a realistic chance of sticking.

Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond will start in the frontcourt for the Pistons. Markieff Morris and Thon Maker appear to be first in line is backups.

But don’t be surprised if Wood earns playing time. At minimum, the 23-year-old should provide nice depth at both power forward and center.

The Pistons have also now acquired four members of last year’s Bucks – Tony Snell, Thon Maker, Tim Frazier and now Wood.

Knicks: Reggie Bullock has spine injury

Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images
1 Comment

Reggie Bullock had his agreed-upon salary cut by more than half with the Knicks. He’ll reportedly miss at least a month of the regular season.

All because of a mysterious health issue.

The Knicks have finally disclosed what’s happening.

Knicks release:

Reggie Bullock underwent successful surgery today at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York for a cervical disc herniation. The team will plan to provide an update on his rehab and progress around the start of training camp.

Bullock is a good shooter from the wing. New York could use him. Many teams could use him.

But Bullock must get healthy first.

At this point, we probably shouldn’t expect much from him any time soon. The best indication: how eagerly his agent praised the Knicks for their handling of this situation. Again, Bullock settled for less than half his initially agreed-upon salary.