The San Antonio Spurs’ assistant coaches have been in high demand, as they are during most offseasons, and they’ve now lost two of their top assistants as Ettore Messina heads to Italy.
Brett Brown already swiped away one of Pop’s top assistants as he hired Ime Udoka to replace Monty Williams as his right hand man in Philadelphia, and now the Spurs have also lost Ettore Messina to a head coaching job in Italy.
Messina began his coaching career in Italy with Virtus Bologna in 1989 and was then hired to coach the Italian national team in 1993.
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After four years with the Italian national team, Messina returned to Virtus Bologna in 1997 and coached for a few different European squads winning four Euroleague titles, five Italian League titles, and five Russian League titles before getting his first job in the NBA as a consultant for the Lakers in 2011.
Messina returned to Europe after two seasons with the Lakers before Gregg Popovich brought him to San Antonio as one of his assistants in 2014.
Messina was forced into an interim head coaching role for two different stints while Pop tended to the health of his wife, including a first round playoff series against the Warriors after Pop’s wife tragically passed away.
The Italian drew some interest for NBA head coaching positions over the past couple of offseasons, but he was unable to ultimately secure one of those 30 prestigious jobs.
Messina’s exit leaves Becky Hammon, Chip Engelland, and Will Hardy as the only remaining assistants on Gregg Popovich’s staff.
With Messina and Udoka gone, Hammon will move into an even more prominent place on the Spurs’ bench as she continues her historic climb up the coaching ranks.
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Messina’s experience and expertise will be sorely missed as Pop needs to rebuild his coaching staff yet again in San Antonio.