San Antonio Spurs News

Raptors interviewed Ettore Messina, Ime Udoka for head coach vacancy

By Rob Wolkenbrod
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 26: Coaches Ime Udoka of the San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs, and Ettore Messina of the San Antonio Spurs speak during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on January 26, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 26: Coaches Ime Udoka of the San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs, and Ettore Messina of the San Antonio Spurs speak during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on January 26, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Two San Antonio Spurs assistant coaches interviewed for the main spot with the Toronto Raptors, according to a report.

Since the San Antonio Spurs were eliminated from the playoffs, multiple assistant coaches under Gregg Popovich have been interviewed for outside positions, including Becky Hammon and James Borrego, who became the Charlotte Hornets head coach. Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka joined the conversations, as well, but have yet to be hired away.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, both Messina and Udoka spoke with the Toronto Raptors for their vacant head coach position last Thursday and Friday, respectively. The Raptors fired head coach Dwane Casey after a series sweep to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs.

Messina was up for the Milwaukee Bucks job before Mike Budenholzer left the Atlanta Hawks for it. The 58-year-old coach joined the Spurs in 2014 and had a stint as Team Italy’s head man.

Udoka also interviewed with the Magic, who have yet to hire a head coach. Aside from working under Popovich, the Portland State product played in San Antonio from 2007-09 and 2010-11.

Most of the Spurs staff have received sit-downs for other jobs, a trend that continues with the organization’s success. Budenholzer already found two jobs, Brett Brown went to the second round of the playoffs with the Philadelphia 76ers, and Mike Brown even had postseason success with the Cleveland Cavaliers. So other franchises scour San Antonio’s coaching staff to find the next Popovich.

Next: 2018 NBA Mock Draft: After the lottery

For this offseason, Borrego has been the only assistant to receive a chance, but with two openings left in the NBA, will someone else take an opportunity to lead a bench? If not, they could return to Popovich’s staff for the 2018-19 season as the team eyes a 22nd playoff appearance, but not before the events of a potentially interesting offseason in the Alamo City.

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