Jun 18, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich talks to San Antonio Spurs shooting guardManu Ginobili
(20) and power forwardTim Duncan
(right) during overtime in game six in the 2013 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 103-100 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Through 17 seasons in the NBA, four championships, two MVPs and 14 All-Star games, Tim Duncan has only played for one team and under one coach: the San Antonio Spurs and Gregg Popovich.
Popovich drafted Timmy, and the two have since maintained a special relationship.
Duncan has a player option in his contract for next season, 2014-15, for $10 million.
Popovich is the fifth highest paid coach in North America at $6 million; but he is 65 years old.
According to Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News, Popovich intends to be active in the NBA well into his 70s; he won’t retire when Tim Duncan does.
But I think differently.
Tim Duncan will sign another contract in the NBA.
For a few years, Tim Duncan was looking old.
His stats were dipping into the less-than-20-points-per-game category, a key sign of an aging superstar.
Now, according to Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports, he’s playing like a 26-year-old athlete.
He’s boxing. He’s swimming, throwing tires, fighting dragons.
What knee problems? Duncan has lost 15 pounds, a huge ease on his old man legs.
Will Popovich Coach the Spurs without Duncan?
Oct 24, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) shares a laugh with head coach Gregg Popovich during the second half at AT&T Center. The Rockets won 109-92. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Popovich has somehow taken even another step into basketball intelligence. He is a sure candidate for the Coach of the Year award every year, and he will probably win it this year. His coaching style has turned his team from being about the star players into a nicely-run system, a well-cogged machine that relies almost equally on the bench and starting lineup.
Six players scored in double-figures as the Spurs defeated Portland Wednesday at the AT&T Center for their eighth… http://t.co/jvzEpz3wQG
— mySanAntonio (@Spurs_Nation) March 13, 2014
Without Duncan, though, there is no Popovich; and the head coach recognizes that.
Nina Mandell of USA TODAY Sports explains his revelation:
Get the No. 1 pick in the draft every 10 years and make sure it’s a franchise player.
Well said, Pop.
Mar 12, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is interviewed by ESPN reporter J.A. Adande during the second half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
It’s all be best expressed in this Spurs Talk forum:
Does Popovich have a rolling contract? When is it up?
Pop’s contract is up when he decides to leave.
We know Tim Duncan is not only the best power forward of all time, but he is still at the top of his game at age 37.
He turns 38 this month.
With Pop only getting better (I still don’t understand how), he’ll gladly keep coaching with or without the Big Fundamental.
But if I had to bet on the three-time Finals MVP, I’d say he still has more left in the tank.
There hasn’t been a duo like Tim and Pop since Bill Russell and Red Auerbach of the ole Boston Celtics, and it’ll be hard to find another coach-superstar relationship like that again after the two Spurs hang ’em up for good.
Again championship contenders this year, let’s sit back and enjoy Tim, Pop and the Spurs try to win their fifth championship in these playoffs.