Point guard Earl Watson is retiring as a player and will become a coach for the D-League affiliate of the Spurs, reports Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer. The 35-year-old spent 13 seasons in the NBA after the SuperSonics drafted him 39th overall in 2001, and the Mark Bartelstein client played out a one-year guaranteed contract for the minimum salary with the Trail Blazers last season.
The former UCLA Bruin mounted a darkhorse campaign to fill the Jazz’s head coaching vacancy this offseason, picking up an endorsement from Gordon Hayward, but it’s unclear if Watson received an interview for the job that went to Quin Snyder. In any case, Watson will join the reigning champs despite never having played for San Antonio. He instead appeared with the Grizzlies, Nuggets, Thunder, Pacers and Jazz in addition to his time with the Sonics and Blazers. His best performance came with the Sonics in 2007/08, Seattle’s final year of NBA basketball, when he averaged 10.7 points and 6.8 assists against 2.2 turnovers in 29.1 minutes per game while shooting 37.1% from behind the arc.
That was the only season in which he had a double-digit scoring average, and one of just two years in which he started more than half of his team’s games. Still, Watson racked up nearly $42.8MM over his playing career, according to Basketball-Reference.