Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan Stepping Away From Role As Spurs Assistant

After being hired by the Spurs last July and spending a year as an assistant coach on Gregg Popovich‘s staff, Tim Duncan has decided to step away from that position, reports Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).

According to Stein (via Twitter), the news doesn’t come as a major surprise to the Spurs, since the team anticipated Duncan’s stint as a full-time assistant would likely only last one season. As Stein explains, the expectation is that Duncan will return to the informal role he previously held with the franchise, showing up frequently at the Spurs’ facility to provide player development assistance, but without an official title or full-time responsibilities.

It’s not clear whether or not Duncan envisions getting back into coaching in a more formal capacity down the road. He served as San Antonio’s interim head coach for one game in March and picked up a win, so if he doesn’t return to the sidelines in the future, he’ll go out with a perfect 1-0 record. He didn’t accompany the Spurs to the Orlando bubble this summer, having stayed in San Antonio to help oversee LaMarcus Aldridge‘s rehab from shoulder surgery.

Duncan was voted into the Hall of Fame alongside fellow former stars Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant earlier this year. However, the induction ceremony has yet to take place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Western Notes: Holiday, Duncan, Len, Hield, Schiller

Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday announced today during an appearance on ESPN’s The Jump that he and his wife Lauren will be putting his remaining game checks toward the Jrue and Lauren Social Justice Impact Fund, as Andrew Lopez of ESPN writes.

The aim of the social justice fund will be to help communities in New Orleans, Indianapolis, and the Los Angeles area, according to Lopez. Holiday plays in New Orleans, his brothers Aaron Holiday and Justin Holiday play in Indiana, and the Holiday family is from the L.A. area.

“We want to make an impact,” Holiday told ESPN. “God has blessed us with so much. We know a couple of things that are important are time and money, and right now, we have both. To be able to give away our money to help further this movement and Black-owned businesses that have taken a hit in COVID-19, to us, it felt like the perfect time and opportunity.”

Lopez suggests that Holiday’s remaining game checks could be worth up to $5.3MM — that estimate seems a little high based on my calculations, but considering the veteran guard has a 2019/20 salary of $26MM+, his donations will be substantial.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Spurs assistant coach Tim Duncan won’t be with the team in Orlando, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times, who tweets that Duncan is staying in San Antonio to help oversee LaMarcus Aldridge‘s rehab from shoulder surgery.
  • Like Harrison Barnes, center Alex Len – who recently contracted COVID-19 – isn’t yet with the Kings at the Walt Disney World campus, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “We have to prepare as if we’re not going to have either one of those guys,” head coach Luke Walton said of Barnes and Len. “And that’s just getting ready for what worst-case scenario would be. And there’s a reality that might be it. So our mindset is we prep that we’re not going to have them with us, and we’re hopeful that they rejoin us.”
  • Within the same story, McMenamin passes along Buddy Hield‘s comments on his experience with the coronavirus. The Kings sharpshooter said his symptoms were mild and that the virus resulted in just “a little head cold” and “chills one night.”
  • G League Coach of the Year Martin Schiller, who had been the head coach of the Jazz‘ NBAGL affiliate, is leaving the Salt Lake City Stars to coach Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania, as Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune details.

2020 Hall Of Fame Ceremony To Be Delayed Until 2021

The 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony won’t take place this August, as initially planned. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the ceremony will tentatively be pushed back to the spring of 2021, according to the chairman of the Hall’s board of governors, Jerry Colangelo (story via Jackie MacMullan of ESPN).

This year’s star-studded class of Hall of Fame inductees is headed by Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and the late Kobe Bryant. Former Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, former college coach Eddie Sutton, longtime WNBA star Tamika Catchings, former FIBA and IOC executive Patrick Baumann, and veteran women’s basketball coaches Kim Mulkey and Barbara Stevens are also part of the 2020 class.

The induction ceremony for the nine new members of the Hall had been scheduled for the weekend of August 28-30, with proposed alternate dates of October 10-12. However, Colangelo tells MacMullan that those dates are “just not feasible” due to COVID-19’s impact on large gatherings.

“We’re definitely canceling,” Colangelo said to ESPN. “It’s going to have to be the first quarter of next year. We’ll meet in a couple of weeks and look at the options of how and when and where.”

Despite the delay, Colangelo made it clear that the Basketball Hall of Fame doesn’t intend to eventually merge the 2020 class with its 2021 class, which figures to be announced next spring — the plan is still to hold two separate ceremonies.

“We won’t be combining them,” Colangelo said. “The Class of 2020 is a very special class and deserves its own celebration.”

Bryant, Garnett, Duncan Joined By Six Others In Hall Class

Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan have officially been named to the Naismith Hall of Fame Class of 2020, Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets. They are joined by Rudy Tomjanovich, Eddie Sutton, long-time WNBA star Tamika Catchings, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens and Patrick Baumann, Bontemps adds.

In essence, every finalist for Hall of Fame consideration this year received enough votes for induction. A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Word leaked on Friday that Bryant, Garnett, Duncan and Tomjanovich would be inducted, though it was a foregone conclusion that the late Bryant, Garnett and Duncan — three of the game’s all-time greats — would received the required votes.

Bryant was an 18-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion, winning the MVP award in 2008 to go along with a pair of Finals MVPs. He is fourth on the league’s all-time scoring list and won scoring titles in 2006 and 2007.

Duncan won three Finals MVPs and five titles in total. Like Bryant, he was named to an All-NBA team 15 times over the course of his career. The longtime Spurs‘ big man was one of the best players of his era, ranking sixth on the NBA’s all-time rebounding list and fifth in blocked shots.

Garnett earned 15 All-Star nods, an MVP award (in 2004), a Defensive Player of the Year award (2008), and a title in 2008 with the Celtics. Garnett, who began his career with the Timberwolves, ranks in the NBA’s top 20 in career points, rebounds, blocks, and steals.

Tomjanovich is one of just three coaches to win both an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal. He coached the Rockets to a pair of championships in the mid-1990s and had an impressive career as a Rockets player prior to his coaching days, earning five NBA All-Star nods in his 11-year career.

Sutton is a four-time National Coach of the Year and was the first coach to lead four different schools to the NCAA Tournament.

Catchings is a 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist. She was also named WNBA MVP in 2011. Mulkey has coached Baylor to three NCAA national championships, including last season. Stevens has coached in the collegiate ranks for over 40 years and is the fifth coach in NCAA women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 career wins. Baumann is a longtime FIBA executive.

It remains to be seen if this year’s induction ceremony will take place as scheduled on August 29 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Kobe, Duncan, Garnett, Tomjanovich To Be Inducted Into Hall Of Fame

Former NBA stars Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).

This year’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony figures to be an emotional affair, with Bryant headlining the 2020 class just months after his tragic passing. The Lakers‘ legend was an 18-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion, winning the MVP award in 2008 to go along with a pair of Finals MVPs. He is fourth on the league’s all-time scoring list and won scoring titles in 2006 and 2007.

Bryant will be joined by a pair of fellow NBA champions, including Duncan, who won three Finals MVPs and five titles in total. Like Bryant, he was named to an All-NBA team 15 times over the course of his career. The longtime Spurs‘ big man was one of the best players of his era, ranking sixth on the NBA’s all-time rebounding list and fifth in blocked shots.

While Garnett’s résumé isn’t quite as decorated as that of Bryant and Duncan, he earned 15 All-Star nods, an MVP award (in 2004), a Defensive Player of the Year award (2008), and a title in 2008 with the Celtics. Garnett, who began his career with the Timberwolves, ranks in the NBA’s top 20 in career points, rebounds, blocks, and steals.

Bryant, Duncan, and Garnett may be this year’s headliners, but they aren’t the only ones being inducted into the Hall of Fame. According to Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston (Twitter link), former Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich has also been elected.

Tomjanovich is one of just three coaches to win both an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal. He coached Houston to a pair of championships in the mid-1990s and had an impressive career as a Rockets player prior to his coaching days, earning five NBA All-Star nods in his 11-year career.

Tamika Catchings, Kim Mulkey, Eddie Sutton, and Barbara Stevens were announced as Hall of Fame finalists in February — it’s unclear if anyone from that group will be inducted into the 2020 class alongside Bryant, Duncan, Garnett, and Tomjanovich. The official announcement will happen on Saturday.

It remains to be seen what form this year’s induction ceremony will take. It’s scheduled to happen on August 29 in Springfield, Massachusetts, but there’s no guarantee that the coronavirus situation will have improved enough by then to hold large-scale gatherings.

Southwest Notes: Covington, Bell, Duncan

Rockets GM Daryl Morey said on Tuesday that Robert Covington has been better than the team anticipated when it acquired him at the trade deadline.

“The biggest reason for the trade was to get Covington and he’s actually been even better than we thought,” Morey said (via Salman Ali of Clutch Points on Twitter). “…Not only how good he is, but how much he helps everyone on the team, but in particular Russell Westbrook. The driving lanes for him are super important.”

Morey added that the trade for Covington, which sent out Clint Capela, gave the Rockets more flexibility to make another move in the future.

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Jordan Bell, who was waived by the Grizzlies earlier this week, will not be eligible to play in the playoffs should he sign with a playoff team, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks relays (Twitter link). Memphis had to wait until Monday to release Bell to ensure that Anthony Tolliver cleared waivers.
  • Rudy Gay, who re-signed with the Spurs last offseason, has had a disappointing campaign and the veteran forward knows that he can do better. “It’s no secret I haven’t been playing well,” Gay said via Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. “You just need a good one to get out of it.”
  • Tim Duncan is serving as the head coach of the Spurs tonight, as Gregg Popovich misses the contest because of personal issues, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today tweets.

Basketball Hall Of Fame Selects Eight Finalists

The Basketball Hall of Fame has selected eight finalists for the 2020 class. This year’s Hall-of-Famers will be officially announced in April. Let’s take a look at the candidates:

Kobe Bryant

Bryant, who tragically passed away late last month, helped the Lakers bring home five NBA championships. He took home the Finals MVP on two of those occasions. He was selected to 18 NBA All-Star games during his career in Los Angeles.

Tim Duncan

Duncan, who is currently an assistant coach with the Spurs, brought San Antonio five NBA championships during his time in the league. He won Finals MVP three times and was named to 15 All-Star games.

Kevin Garnett

Garnett won a championship upon arriving in Boston. Over the course of his career, the big man was named to 15 NBA All-Star games and nine All-Defensive First Teams. He played for the Wolves, Celtics, and Nets in his career.

Tamika Catchings

Catchings won a WNBA championship during her time with the Indiana Fever. She was selected to 10 WNBA All-Star games and won four Olympic Gold Medals for Team USA during her playing days.

Rudy Tomjanovich

Tomjanovich is just one of three coaches to win an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal. He coached the Rockets to two championships in the early 90’s and had a nice career as a player prior to that, as he was selected to five NBA All-Star games.

Kim Mulkey

Mulkey is the first person to win a National Championship as a player, assistant coach, and head coach. She played point guard for Louisiana Tech in the early 80’s and has coached at both Louisiana Tech and Baylor.

Eddie Sutton

Sutton coached in the college ranks for 36 years. He was the coach of the year four times in his career and he took two different teams—Arkansas, Oklahoma State (2x)—to the Final Four.

Barbara Stevens

Stevens is only the fifth coach in NCAA women’s basketball history to achieve over 1,000 career wins. She has led Clark University, UMass, and Bentley throughout her coaching career.

Kobe Bryant On Track To Headline 2020 Hall Of Fame Class

Late Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant is on track for a first-ballot enshrinement into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this year, as Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Bryant, who was among the eligible candidates announced last month, will be part of the Hall’s standard screening process this week, then is expected to be named a finalist in February and an inductee in April, per Charania (Twitter link).

[RELATED: Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash]

In addition to featuring Bryant, the Hall of Fame’s class of 2020 is expected to include Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, who are eligible for the first time this year. Players like Chris Bosh, Shawn Marion, and Michael Finley are also first-time nominees and Hall-of-Fame hopefuls. The list of inductees will be announced during the NCAA’s Final Four in Atlanta this spring.

“(The class of 2020 is) expected to be arguably the most epic class ever with Kobe, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett,” Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo said, according to Charania. “Kobe will be honored the way he should be.”

The enshrinement ceremony for the class of 2020 will take place on August 29 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Given the circumstances surrounding Bryant’s induction, it figures to be an emotional event.

And-Ones: Wiseman, Schwartz, Andrews, Hall Of Fame

It’s unlikely that James Wiseman will fall below the top five in the June draft, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reports. The freshman center decided to leave Memphis on Thursday and sign with an agent to prepare for the draft.

Wiseman could have solidified his draft stock had he finished the college season on a high note after his 12-game NCAA suspension ended. However, he could have also slipped some if the Tigers had started losing games with Wiseman in the lineup. Givony continues. The lack of quality big men in a draft and the need of several lottery teams to add an impact big man could also help him, Givony adds.

We have more from around the basketball world:

Southwest Notes: Duncan, Morey, Iguodala, Zion, McClure

While perhaps not as noteworthy as some of the more marquee free agent news we’ve seen this summer in terms of on-the-court impact, Marc Stein of The New York Times opines that the return of all-time-great Tim Duncan to the Spurs as a full-time assistant coach under legendary head coach Gregg Popovich is a gigantic story all the same.

As Stein notes, Duncan has been a frequent visitor at the Spurs’ practice facility throughout his retirement, mentoring/coaching players along the way, but this had always been done outside of the limelight, a setting in which Duncan prefers. So his abrupt return to the court for an 82-game season filled with continual travel and other headaches is a bit surprising, to say the least.

One narrative as to why Duncan accepted a position on Pop’s staff despite his disposition is simply need. Duncan reportedly knew that his old coach was struggling to fill the last open spot on his bench staff after departures by longtime Spurs’ assistants Ime Udoka and Ettore Messina, and his loyalty dictated he offer his services.

Here are some more stories from around the Southwest Division:

  • As Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said on Friday that while Houston is not yet done adding to their 2019/20 roster, the team is much more likely to make further additions by trade rather than via free agency.
  • According to Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian, it’s not a certainty that trade offers for Grizzlies veteran swingman Andre Iguodala will improve as time goes on, and Herrington remains skeptical that Iguodala will play a meaningful role for the Grizzlies at any point.
  • Pelicans president of basketball operations David Griffin tells Jeff Duncan of The Athletic that rookie phenom Zion Williamson is still getting taller and that the team is more worried about making sure the 19-year-old is eating well and in good condition than what his playing weight will be.
  • The Grizzlies have hired Pacers player development coach David McClure as an assistant for new head coach Taylor Jenkins’ staff in Memphis, reports J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. McClure also spent two seasons in San Antonio before joining the Pacers back in 2015.