The end of the San Antonio Spurs dynasty may not be as close some people believe.
It is widely believed that future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan will only play one or two more years. It has also been speculated that head coach Gregg Popovich will not want to start over with a new group and could also retire once the core group of Duncan, Manu Ginobli, and Tony Parker decide to call it a career.
However, not only is Popovich planning to keep going after they retire, he is already bracing himself for a time when he is coach of the Spurs without the Big 3.
In an interview with Sage Steele of ESPN, Popovich was asked about the end being near for this great Spurs team and if he will keep coaching when they are done. While he doesn’t come out and say it explicitly, he does confirm that he has made the promise to keep coaching.
“Signing LaMarcus [Aldridge], I had to make a commitment,” Popovich said with a hesitation and a smile. “I couldn’t say, ‘LaMarcus, we would love to sign you, see you later.’ So I committed to those guys and I committed to LaMarcus. So, I’ve got to fulfil my promise.”
Aldridge signed a 4-year, $US84 million free agent contract with the Spurs this off-season. This means Popovich will coach at least four more years, through the 2018-19 season.
Just prior to signing Aldridge, Marc Stein of ESPN reported that Popovich’s plan was to coach the remaining four years on his 5-year contract he signed in the summer of 2014.
As for coaching without Duncan, Ginobli, and Parker, Popovich seemed to confirm that it is only a matter of when and that he has already resigned himself to that happening at some point and is bracing for when that day comes.
“I will feel very weird walking out onto a court and not seeing Timmy or Manu or Tony out there,” Popovich said. “[They are] kinda like my safety blanket or my comfort level. I’ll miss them a lot.”
The biggest fear for Spurs fans was that there would be a sudden drop-off, that the Big 3 and Popovich would all leave at the same time and the franchise would have to start over from scratch. But much like the transition from David Robinson to Duncan, the Spurs seem to have their next superstar in Aldridge — along with the very good Kawhi Leonard who is only 24 — and Popovich will stick around long enough to oversee the transition.
In other words, the Spurs aren’t going away anytime soon.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.