There’s no telling how much longer Gregg Popovich will roam the sidelines for the San Antonio Spurs. Though many believe he’ll ultimately retire whenever Tim Duncan finally decides to hang it up, the reigning Coach of the Year signed a multi-season contract extension last summer. For all we know, the 66 year-old could coach into the 2020s.
As long as the NBA doesn’t extend its schedule into July, that is. Responding to a question about the league potentially lengthening the regular season and playoffs in effort to ease wear and tear on players, Popovich said he’d retire if that scenario was ultimately put in place.
“If there is a game in July, count me out,” Popovich said Wednesday. “Count me out. Count me out. Life is too short.”
“I think the season is long enough,” Popovich said. “I will not come to work in July.”
The idea gained national traction last month when commissioner Adam Silver brought it up during his All-Star Weekend press conference. Though he was strictly speaking in generalities about thought processes related to schedule reform, Silver indeed said moving the NBA Finals past the 4th of July is “something we should look at.”
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban threw support behind the idea last week, too, insisting that “everybody’s for it now.”
Well, apparently not everybody.
We’ve long been advocates of simply reducing the number of regular season games from 82 to a mark in the 60s. But that seems an unlikely scenario with so many television advertising dollars at stake, not to mention the outcry from so many followers who can’t comprehend the benefits of such a plan.
Instead of extending the season or even playing fewer games, though, why can’t the preseason schedule be cut from three weeks? Such an adjustment would allow the regular season to start a week or so earlier, theoretically giving schedule-makers the chance to reduce back-to-backs and entirely eliminate stretches of four games in five night. That seems the most realistic and sensible option, right?
Even if Silver went with the radical notion of extending the season through Independence Day, we’re not quite headstrong enough to take Popovich’s stance. Basketball is basketball – we’ll always be obsessives, even if that means sitting inside and watching the Finals while family and friends celebrate red, white, and blue at the park or on the lake.
It seems Popovich, though, would be content calling it a career with just five championships. What an unmotivated curmudgeon.