Will Hardy

Spurs Assistant Ettore Messina Joins Olimpia Milano

11:09am: Olimpia Milano has made it official, announcing today in a press release that Messina has signed a three-year contract to serve as the club’s president of basketball operations and head coach.

8:01am: Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina has agreed to a deal with Italian club Olimpia Milano, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). According to Charania, Messina will run the team’s basketball operations and will become its new head coach.

Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reported on Monday that Messina had interviewed for that dual role with Olimpia Milano, the only Italian club in the EuroLeague, and was expected to make a decision on his future this week. Prior to Charania’s report, Carchia had indicated that Messina was leaning toward accepting Milano’s offer.

While the details of Messina’s new agreement aren’t known, Carchia classifies it is a multiyear deal and suggests that Olimpia Milano made the veteran coach a “rich” offer to lure him away from San Antonio. Messina will replace Milano head coach Simone Pianigiani on the sidelines, and is expected to name a new general manager soon, per Carchia.

A longtime head coach overseas for CKSA Moscow, Real Madrid, and other clubs, Messina joined the Spurs in 2014 as Gregg Popovich‘s lead assistant. He has received interest from multiple NBA teams as a head coaching candidate since then, interviewing with the Hornets, Bucks, and Raptors in 2018, and the Cavaliers in 2019. He also coached Italy’s national team from 2015-17.

With Messina’s imminent departure, the Spurs will have some holes to fill on Popovich’s coaching staff for the 2019/20 season. After James Borrego left for the Hornets last spring, Messina and Ime Udoka are departing this year — Udoka recently accepted a job as the Sixers’ lead assistant.

Assistants Will Hardy and Becky Hammon are in position to take on more prominent roles in San Antonio.

Sixers To Hire Ime Udoka As Lead Assistant

Both Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium are reporting that the Sixers are hiring longtime Spurs assistant coach Ime Udoka as head coach Brett Brown‘s lead assistant in Philadelphia, replacing new Suns’ head coach Monty Williams.

Udoka, 41, interviewed for the head-coaching job in Cleveland this spring before the position ultimately went to ex-Michigan head coach John Beilein. He reportedly came across as “very sharp” during his interview.

Udoka, who has been on the staff of Gregg Popovich for the past seven years, played seven seasons in the NBA for the Spurs, Trail Blazers, Kings, Knicks and Lakers. He last played in the NBA in 2011, and he’s coached in the NBA since 2012, after finishing his playing career with a brief stint in Spain playing for UCAM Murcia.

Avery Johnson was reportedly among the candidates to interview for the lead role on Brown’s staff. Meanwhile, in San Antonio, Will Hardy is expected to take a more prominent role on Popovich’s staff in the wake of Udoka’s departure, per Wojnarowski.

Spurs Notes: Arcidiacono, Aldridge, Hardy

Ryan Arcidiacono, waived by the Spurs during the team’s preseason cuts, will join San Antonio’s D-League affiliate in Austin, league sources tell Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News. According to Young, the Spurs are hopeful that Patricio Garino and Livio Jean-Charles, who were both recently cut by the club, will head to the D-League as well. Both players were listed on Austin’s preseason roster, so it appears they’ll start the year with the team.

Here’s more from out of San Antonio:

  • Speaking to Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link), LaMarcus Aldridge reiterated that he’s content with his situation in San Antonio. “The organization is happy with me and I’m happy with them,” Aldridge said. “As long as we keep a good relationship then everything is fine.”
  • Boris Diaw won’t play in the Jazz’s first game against San Antonio this season, but that didn’t stop Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News from examining how this summer’s change of scenery has affected the veteran French forward.
  • In another piece for The Express-News, Young takes a closer look at new Spurs assistant coach Will Hardy, a potential up-and-coming “gem” for the franchise.

Spurs Hire Monty Williams, Landry Fields

The Spurs have added former Pelicans head coach Monty Williams to their basketball operations staff, the team announced today in a press release. According to the club, Williams will take on the role of vice president of basketball operations.

Within today’s announcement, the Spurs also confirmed several other hires and promotions, and one of the most notable names is a player who has only been away from the NBA for one year. San Antonio has hired former Knicks and Raptors swingman Landry Fields as a college scout, per the team’s press release.

In addition to hiring Williams and Fields, the Spurs also named Brian Wright the club’s assistant general manager, Andy Birdsong as the director of pro player personnel and the GM of the D-League’s Austin Spurs, Pat Sund as a pro personnel scount and Austin’s assistant GM, and Will Hardy as an assistant coach.

Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported back in July that Williams had a standing job offer from the Spurs, though it wasn’t known at the time what sort of role the team envisioned for him. Williams was an assistant with the Thunder last season, but took a leave of absence in February when his wife, Ingrid, was killed in a car crash. Before joining Oklahoma City’s staff, he spent five seasons as head coach in New Orleans, compiling a 173-221 record. He also spent time as a Spurs player under Gregg Popovich from 1996 to 1998, and was a coaching intern with the team in 2004/05.

When Stein first reported the Spurs’ offer to Williams, he noted that the longtime coach had received similar offers from other organizations, including the Thunder, and that he “absolutely” wants to become an NBA head coach again. However, as Stein pointed out, Williams’ in-laws live in San Antonio and have been helping to care for his five children, making that an ideal landing spot for now.

As for Fields, we heard last September that he would be sidelined for most of the 2015/16 campaign with a hip injury. His on-court production had also declined significantly, so it’s no surprise he didn’t land with a team at all last season. It’s not clear whether he has decided to transition into the next stage of his career, or if he’d still consider a comeback at some point.

A recent report indicated that many people within the Spurs organization expect Tim Duncan to take on a full-time role with the team at some point, but if that’s going to happen, it will likely happen down the road — Duncan wasn’t mentioned at all in today’s announcement.

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.