The Indiana Pacers are the latest team in pursuit of San Antonio Spurs assistants Becky Hammon and Will Hardy to take over their head coaching vacancy.
After four seasons and four consecutive defeats in the first round of the NBA playoffs, the Indiana Pacers decided it was for the best to part ways with Nate McMillan. Injuries and a limited pool of talent played a definite factor but ultimately, coaches will always take blame before executives. Now, the Pacers are looking to poach a new leader from the San Antonio Spurs’ bench.
In a recent report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, both Becky Hammon and Will Hardy were named amongst a dozen coaches and executives being considered for the Pacers’ head coaching position. Hammon, in particular, seems to be a person of interest for the Pacers as she was named along former Kings coach Dave Joerger as headliners in Woj’s report. This is purely based on the emphasis of her name on the search — Nothing in the report notes that Hammon is their main target.
Though it wouldn’t be outlandish for Becky to be the No. 1 priority for that team. She’s amongst the most experienced and qualified assistant coaches in the NBA. Though she wasn’t actively on the bench during the Spurs’ title run, she spent a lot of time around that team while rehabilitating from an injury with the San Antonio Stars of the WNBA. Ever since she was hired, Hammon’s seen the progression of this organization up close and personal.
After years studying the game and the intricacies of coaching under one of the best minds in basketball history in Gregg Popovich, Hammon is ready for the challenge. If she accepts the job in Indiana, a sizeable portion of Spurs fans will be devastated. Many believe that she’s the successor for 71-year-old Popovich, whose inevitable retirement looms over the franchise.
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Hardy, on the other hand, is one of the younger options. His qualifications stem from an upbringing within the Spurs’ staff, beginning as a video coordinator before having the chance to coach some Summer League teams from 2013-15. He began with the organization almost 10 years ago and has watched exponential growth at varying levels.
He’d also make for a great option for the up-and-coming Pacers, though one might expect that Indiana is looking for a more experienced leader to replace McMillan. Considering this is a playoff team looking to take that next step, hiring someone so fresh to the role wouldn’t make much sense. If the Pacers ended up leaning toward a veteran head coach with experience in that role, I doubt anyone would be surprised.
This is the first of many rumors and reports that will name Hammon and Hardy this offseason. They’ve each been hot commodities on the market for some time now and eventually, they’ll seek greater opportunity outside of the River City. If only Hammon can hold out until that head coaching spot is vacant since she’s being groomed as Popovich’s successor by all accounts.
However, you can’t blame someone for taking a new job to increase their personal and professional endeavor. Good luck to both Becky Hammon and Will Hardy!