Nets Reportedly Expected To Pursue Gregg Popovich

With the Nets expected to seek a permanent head coach once their season ends, one long-shot target for the organization appears to be Gregg Popovich, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times writes.

While Woike’s report stresses that Popovich departing San Antonio after two decades of excellence is unlikely at best, the Nets figure to take their best shot at landing the legendary head coach. Sources familiar with both the Nets and Spurs expect Brooklyn to explore the possibility, according to Woike.

With the All-Star duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving expected healthy for Brooklyn in 2020/21, a coach of Popovich’s caliber would further legitimize the Nets’ championship aspirations. However, there are many factors not working in Brooklyn’s favor, including Popovich’s lengthy tenure with the Spurs and the fact that he remains under contract for next season.

Popovich, the NBA’s oldest head coach at 71, strongly indicated this week that he would return to the Spurs’ bench for another season in 2020/21.

“Why wouldn’t I?” Popovich asked, per Marc Stein of The New York Times.

There is a clear connection between the Nets and Spurs that could play in Brooklyn’s favor: General manager Sean Marks played under Popovich in San Antonio and then spent multiple seasons as a coach and executive with the Spurs. It could get the Nets’ proverbial foot in the door to discuss a union with Popovich, though Marks himself downplayed that possibility during a WFAN interview in July.

“Pop has a job. So, I will say that,” Marks said. “And, obviously, we all know he’s an amazing, amazing coach, and to be quite frank, an even better leader. So, I’ll let Pop continue to coach for the Spurs. He owes it to them and they owe it to him. I’m sure he’s quite happy there.”

Adding a five-time NBA champion coach with the most wins in league history to the sidelines would be a major coup for a Brooklyn team looking for its next leader. At this stage, however, it seems more a case of wishful thinking than a possible reality.

Interim head coach Jacque Vaughn is expected to receive strong consideration for the Nets’ permanent job, with Tyronn Lue, Jason Kidd, Jeff Van Gundy, and Ime Udoka among those who have also been named as possible candidates.

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