Posts Tagged ‘San Antonio Spurs’

Few people in Gregg Popovich’s orbit think the longtime San Antonio Spurs bench boss will coach beyond his assignment in the 2020 Olympics, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Three years ago, Popovich was named head coach of the USA Basketball senior men’s team for the 2017-20 cycle, which includes the FIBA World Cup next year, and the Tokyo Olympics two years from now.

Popovich, who turns 70 in January, is the longest-tenured head coach in the NBA, having taken the reins of the Spurs on Dec. 10, 1996. His team failed to win 50 games in 2017-18 for the first time since that initial season.

Popovich is expected to meet with Kawhi Leonard soon – possibly this week – to iron out any issues between the franchise player and the organization, while he’s also reportedly interested in having a free-agent conversation with LeBron James.

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Though some people around the league reportedly expect them to try, the Phoenix Suns have no interest in dealing the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday’s draft for San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, according to Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic.

The Suns’ reluctance would make sense, given that Leonard is under contract for just one more year and likely wouldn’t commit long-term to a rebuilding team that has won fewer than 25 games in each of the last three seasons.

Bordow reports there’s a sense around the league that Leonard wants to enter free agency next summer regardless, but that might change if the Spurs trade him to his preferred destination.

Head coach Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard will meet between now and the June 21 NBA draft in an effort to rebuild the relationship between the San Antonio Spurs and franchise forward, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

It’s been previously reported that a meeting between the two sides this summer was of paramount importance to the Spurs, but the timing before the draft is noteworthy given Leonard’s contract status. The Spurs can offer the two-time Defensive Player of the Year a five-year super-max extension worth about $219 million starting July 1. If he doesn’t sign it before the October deadline, Leonard would become an unrestricted free agent if he opts out of his existing deal next summer.

That’s probably not a situation the Spurs want to be in, and it could lead Leonard to the trading block. Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that teams continue to inquire about the former NBA Finals MVP, but that they have no intention to deal him yet.

Serious cracks formed in the relationship between Leonard and the Spurs this past season, with the forward being limited to just nine games due to a severe quad injury. According to Popovich, Leonard insisted that his own medical team – not that of the Spurs – make the decision when he would return to action. That never happened, with Leonard last playing a game on Jan. 13.

Since then, rumors have swirled that Leonard’s handlers are plotting a trade to a bigger market, while the Spurs have reportedly said the relationship between he and Popovich remains strong.

Contractually speaking, the Spurs likely won’t have much flexibility this offseason. Only Danny Green and Rudy Gay opting out of their deals would create any meaningful cap space. The era of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili may also come to an end this summer, with the 36-year-old Parker an unrestricted free agent and the 40-year-old Ginobili again considering retirement.

The distance between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs is starting to close as the two sides head into a pivotal summer.

Although he only played nine games across a contentious and disappointing season, Leonard has been in touch with Spurs trainers and officials throughout the year. Recently, he met with team representatives during the funeral service for Gregg Popovich’s wife, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports said on the Chris Mannix Show.

“Kawhi Leonard didn’t necessarily go rogue, despite all the reports. He was working out with San Antonio staffers during the season and now going into the summer, his rehab has continued,” Charania explained.

“He’s been around. He went to Gregg Popovich’s wife’s service shortly after the season ended. People close to him, they made it clear he was there. He interacted with Spurs’ officials, with staffers.”

Leonard, however, has yet to sit down formally with the team, but there is a meeting in the works. The Spurs plan to hash out any problems and misconceptions before potentially presenting a five-year super-max contract worth upward of $220 million.

Leonard was groomed to be the Spurs’ next franchise player following Tim Duncan’s retirement, but his extended rehab program over his injured quad created tension. Popovich was initially patient but grew more pointed as the season dragged on, and he eventually said Leonard’s return would be contingent on what “his group” permits.

There’s a chilly distance between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs, but there’s no problem nearly a quarter of a billion dollars can’t fix.

The Spurs are hoping to meet with Leonard and his representatives to discuss a potential five-year, $219-million super-max extension, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News.

The 26-year-old is eligible to sign the extension after July 1. Otherwise, he can become an unrestricted free agent in 2019, but only the Spurs can give him the super-max extension.

Leonard dealt with a mysterious quad injury that limited him to just nine appearances this season. His recovery was uneven, and Leonard continued to sit out despite team doctors granting him clearance. That created a frosty divide between the two sides, especially when Leonard opted to rehab by himself in New York when his team was still in the playoffs.

The Detroit Pistons will likely consider San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon for their head coaching vacancy, according to Rod Beard of the Detroit News.

Detroit parted ways with Stan Van Gundy last week after he guided the organization to just one playoff appearance in four seasons. Van Gundy’s departure created absences in both coaching and basketball operations, neither of which have been filled.

Presumably, once the Pistons have found their next general manager, they will begin identifying coaching candidates.

Hammon played professionally in the WNBA and in Russia for 15 seasons and is widely considered one of the greatest players of all time. After tearing her ACL, she pivoted into a career in coaching and was hired by Spurs bench boss Gregg Popovich as the first full-time female assistant coach in 2014.

Hammon led the Spurs to a Las Vegas Summer League title in 2015 and has been lauded by center Pau Gasol and other notable players as a gifted head coach in waiting.

Erin Popovich, the wife of San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, died on Wednesday, the team announced.

The two were married for four decades and had two children and two grandchildren together. Erin had been ill for an extended period of time, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

She was 67, according to ESPN’s Michael C. Wright, who added that she and Gregg were married while he worked as an assistant coach at the Air Force Academy from 1973-79.

“We mourn the loss of Erin,” Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said in a statement. “She was a strong, wonderful, kind, intelligent woman who provided love, support, and humor to all of us.”

Condolences poured in from around the NBA as well.

“I love Pop,” LeBron James said after being notified of the death on TNT’s broadcast of Game 2 of the Pacers-Cavs series. “Such a tragedy. My best wishes go out to Pop and his family … something like this puts everything in perspective.”

Charlotte Hornets guard Nicolas Batum added, via Twitter, “Life is short, enjoy your loved ones and don’t loose (sic) your time hating each other. Prayers and thoughts to Pop and his family.”