The Spurs have announced that top assistant coach Ettore Messina will coach the club on Thursday night for Game 3 of San Antonio’s first-round series vs. the Warriors, taking Gregg Popovich‘s spot on the bench.
Popovich will be away from the Spurs after his wife Erin passed away on Wednesday. The team will surely give him as much time as he needs to mourn and to be with his family, so it’s not yet clear whether he’ll be back on the sidelines for Game 4 on Sunday.
Messina, long considered a top candidate to become a permanent NBA head coach, has reportedly received interest from the Hornets, who are on the lookout for Steve Clifford‘s replacement. The Spurs granted Charlotte permission to interview Messina, but that meeting figures to take place later, with the veteran Euroleague coach focused on getting San Antonio into the win column against Golden State on Thursday.