Spurs coach/president Gregg Popovich was hesitant to make a definitive statement about how long he’d continue before retiring, but when the question came up while he was pitching LaMarcus Aldridge on signing with the Spurs this summer, he knew he had to answer, as Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe details.
“He outed me,” Popovich said to Washburn. “He put the pressure on me. Who knows when you might want to retire, but he and his agent sat across, and [the agent] said, ‘Ask him, ask him, go ahead and ask him.’ I knew it was coming, so I tried to end the meeting, ‘OK, we gotta go eat. We gotta do something.’ [The agent] said, ‘No, no, ask him.’ That’s when he hit me: ‘What are you going to do? How long are you going to be here?’ I said, ‘I’m here.’ I had just signed a five-year [extension] a year before. The contract was in place, so I told him I’ll be here.”
It’s unclear whether it was departing Wasserman Media Group agent Arn Tellem or another agency representative who prompted Aldridge to ask the question, but regardless, the Aldridge signing apparently secured more than just a star power forward for San Antonio. See more on the Spurs:
- Popovich also told Washburn that he and GM R.C. Buford initially weren’t quite sure how to approach Aldridge. “R.C. and I sat in a room and just looked at each other and just said, ‘What do we do now?’” Popovich said. “We don’t know how to do this. So we just decided to be who we are. ‘This is us, you know who we are, you wanna come or not?’”
- Kawhi Leonard‘s ability to perform so well on both ends of the floor is “spectacular,” according to Popovich, who applauds the faith he showed when the Spurs decided against an extension last year before re-signing him this past summer, as Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio News-Express relays. “He trusted us,” Popovich said. “We think everything comes at its own pace, at the appropriate time. I think he understood that, and his agent [Brian Elfus] understood it. He knows our history.”
- The Spurs are 4-2 so far, but with key figures Aldridge and David West among the team’s six newcomers, they must make adjustments before hitting their stride, as TNT’s David Aldridge examines in his Morning Tip column for NBA.com.