Longtime Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich remains undecided about his future beyond the 2018/19 season, writes Marc Stein of The New York Times. Popovich is in the final season of his current contract, and while the team would be happy to extend him for as long as he wants, he’s unsure whether he’ll continue his coaching career next season.
“I don’t know the answer,” Popovich said when asked about his coaching future.
According to Stein, Popovich – the NBA’s longest-tenured head coach by 12 years – said that he and general manager R.C. Buford have “periodically” discussed the Spurs’ options beyond this season. Buford notes that Popovich will remain on San Antonio’s bench for “as long as he wants to coach.”
NBA observers have speculated that Popovich would coach the Spurs for one more season after 2018/19, then retire after working with Team USA in the 2020 Olympics. However, while Popovich remains on track to coach the U.S. basketball squad in Tokyo in the summer of 2020, there’s no guarantee he’ll still coach the Spurs leading up to that event.
As Stein observes, Popovich will also coach Team USA during this year’s World Cup, which takes place in September, just two weeks before NBA training camps get underway. With international competitions bookending the ’19/20 season, Popovich may prefer to focus on those Team USA responsibilities.
Stein also points out that Popovich will turn 70 years old later this month. Only three other head coaches in NBA history have worked into their 70s, per Stein — Bill Bertka (71), Hubie Brown (71) and Larry Brown (70).
Popovich currently has the third-most wins of any coach in league history, with 1,223, and also ranks fifth in all-time winning percentage (.686) among coaches who have been on the sidelines for at least 100 games.