It’s almost hard to remember life for the San Antonio Spurs before Gregg Popovich. Outside of Red Auerbach, no coach in basketball history is more closely tied to the successes of an organization that Popovich is in San Antonio, as he has been at the helm since 1996 and has coached the team to five championships. Popovich, along with general manager R.C. Buford and a laundry list of players, has been instrumental in building the revered “Spurs culture.”
At the same time, Popovich will turn 70 next season, and as we all know, Father Time is undefeated. Popovich famously said he was going to retire when Tim Duncan retired, but went back on that plan. Now, a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN indicates that Popovich’s time in the Association may be coming to an end in the near future.
Wojnarowski wrote that Popovich, at least according to those close to him, isn’t expected to man the ship in San Antonio beyond the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, where he will coach the United States men’s team.
Few in his orbit expect Popovich to coach the Spurs beyond the 2020 Summer Olympics, and there always has been the possibility that he could spend the 2019-20 season traveling around the NBA and across the globe, preparing for his national team duties. Perhaps Popovich can have Leonard on Team USA in 2020, too, but that’s a conversation for a different day.
Perhaps this doesn’t end up being the case and Popovich sticks around in San Antonio until the end of time — as mentioned earlier, it wouldn’t be the first time there would be retirement chatter surrounding Popovich that didn’t come to fruition. Ultimately, time will tell whether he’s going to continue chugging along with the Spurs or if we’re in the final year or two of Popovich’s tenure on the bench in the NBA.