The San Antonio Spurs legend is free to go back to enjoying his retirement
One of the curses that comes with having a legendarily well-regarded teacher and mentor as a head coach is that the San Antonio Spurs bench is regularly pilfered by other teams looking for the next Gregg Popovich. With every new head coaching vacancy that opens you can always expect to see one or two of the Spurs top assistants on the list of potential candidates. It is what it is.
It’s frustrating at times but it also opens windows for some truly exciting possibilities. Spurs fans were treated to one of those last years when it was announced that Tim Duncan would be joining his former head coach as an assistant.
Somehow the Spurs were able to convince Duncan to take a step up from bodying Spurs rookies at the practice facility and actually take a place on the bench. There were questions about how things would go, but they were more along the lines of “does he own a suit” and “will he try to wear flip-flops on the bench” than they were about his competency.
But all good things come to an end and it seems that Duncan’s time as a San Antonio Spurs assistant coach is coming to a close.
Tim Duncan stepping down as Assistant Coach of the San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio's internal belief was always a one-year stint on the bench for Duncan, who is expected to return to his previous post-retirement role in which he made frequent appearances at the team's practice facility to provide various Spurs with player development assistance
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 11, 2020
Marc Stein was the first to report that Tim is stepping away from coaching full time to go back to building cars and enjoying his retirement. He would go on to add that the Spurs knew that this was likely going to be a patch fix, not a long term deal.
Duncan will surely remain a fixture at the practice facility and a regular presence around the team. He means far too much to the franchise and seems to enjoy scrimmaging with the young guys too much for him to walk away completely.
Timmy retires from coaching with a perfect win-loss record after helping leading San Antonio to a road win over the Charlotte Hornets while Gregg Popovich was out.
Will Duncan be the last former Spur to take a place on the bench next to Popovich? He tried to recruit Manu Ginobili to join him last year, to no avail. Will Manu pick up the clipboard that Tim is leaving behind?
Or, in a few years, could that spot be Patty Mills‘s for the taking? He took on what was basically a coaching role in Orlando and seemed right at home on the bench. He’s still got a few years left in the tank but count us in for having Coach Mills on the Spurs staff.
If there is a silver lining to this it’s that we can put the speculation that Duncan was going to succeed Popovich to rest. We all know the next coach of the San Antonio Spurs should be Becky Hammon.