Will this be Gregg Popovich’s final season as Spurs coach?

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Gregg Popovich has earned the right to step away from the Spurs and NBA coaching on his own terms. He will decide the time and place.

That doesn’t stop speculation around the NBA.

That rumor mill suggests this could be Popovich’s last season coaching the Spurs, reports Jake Fischer at Bleacher Report.

…there’s a growing belief in league circles that Popovich, after leading Team USA to a gold medal this summer and just 26 victories shy of passing Don Nelson for the NBA’s all-time wins record, could finally walk away from San Antonio’s sideline following the 2021-22 campaign.

Take this report with a grain of salt: I doubt even Popovich knows what he plans to do after this season. Maybe he decides it’s time to go into wine making full time, or perhaps he is energized and wants to coach another season. It’s his call.

Popovich has been at this a while. He took over as San Antonio’s general manager in 1994 then appointed himself as coach replace Bob Hill two years later. In 1997 the Spurs got the top pick in the NBA Draft, took Tim Duncan, and a dynasty was born.

Speculation about who might be next in line in San Antonio has been going on for years, and the Popovich coaching tree is a Sequoia Redwood at this point. There are a lot of options. As Fischer notes in his story, internally even Spurs staff have no idea who might be next… but again, that never stops speculation and rumors around the NBA.

Will Hardy, the respected Spurs assistant who just joined Ime Udoka’s staff in Boston, has been considered a favorite for the job in recent years…

If San Antonio were to hire a first-time head coach, such as Hardy or [Manu] Ginobili, many league observers B/R contacted would expect the Spurs to hire a former head coach, such as Brett Brown, to serve as a chief assistant.

Ginobili and Tim Duncan have their names come up, but do they really want the grind and stress of being a full-time head coach? Brown would be in the mix, as would Becky Hammond, and current head coaches elsewhere such as Jacque Vaughn and Monty Williams likely would get back-channel contact to see if there was interest.

All of that talk is moot, however, until Popovich says it isn’t. And right now, he’s just focused on this season.