The Spurs‘ three longest-tenured players left the team this offseason, with Tony Parker departing in free agency, Kawhi Leonard getting traded to Toronto, and Manu Ginobili announces his retirement earlier this week.
San Antonio still has a pair of All-NBA players in DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge, along with a handful of reliable veterans – Pau Gasol, Rudy Gay, Marco Belinelli – and a group of up-and-coming youngsters, such as Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker, and Jakob Poeltl. Even without Ginobili, the Spurs should be a strong playoff contender in the competitive Western Conference in 2018/19.
Nonetheless, with longtime Spurs like Parker and Ginobili leaving San Antonio just two years after Tim Duncan did, it’s fair to wonder how Gregg Popovich‘s mindset has been affected by the upheaval on the roster, not to mention to the impact his wife’s death in April might have had on his future plans.
Popovich is by far the NBA’s longest-tenured head coach, having taking over on the Spurs’ sidelines back in 1996 — no other head coach has been in his current role since before 2008. Popovich will also turn 70 years old during the 2018/19 season and has been working as a basketball coach in some capacity for the last four and a half decades. It’s possible that Popovich may not want to keep his job with the Spurs for a whole lot longer.
In a roundtable for NBA.com, a series of writers and reporters explored Popovich’s possible future, with Steve Aschburner and Shaun Powell of NBA.com speculating that the three-time Coach of the Year will coach for two more years, then treat the 2020 Olympics as his farewell to the game. However, Sekou Smith, who was impressed by Popovich’s energy at the Team USA minicamp last month, writes that he wouldn’t be surprised to see the longtime Spurs coach remain in his current role for another three or four years.
What do you think? Will the departures of Parker and Ginobili this offseason hasten Popovich’s own exit? Will the 2020 Olympics be his last hurrah? Or can we expect to see the five-time NBA champion stick with the Spurs for several more years to come?
Jump into the comment section below to weigh in!