Legend Jay Wright is latest rumored replacement for Coach Popovich

2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team Minicamp
2018 USA Basketball Men's National Team Minicamp / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

After 26 years of steady leadership under Gregg Popovich, the current era of the San Antonio Spurs coaching staff seems to be coming to an end. There is still some uncertainty about when Coach Popovich will step down, but it should be within the next two seasons barring some unexpected circumstances.

Quin Snyder, James Borrego, and some in-house names have all been mentioned to carry the torch, but in a drama-filled NBA, even the Spurs are not exempt from the craziness. After announcing his well-deserved retirement, former Villanova coach and NCAA legend Jay Wright suggested that after a year or two of rest, he might consider taking an NBA job.

Of course, any team in the league would do almost anything to hire Wright. The Lakers and Hornets both make some degree of sense: Los Angeles might place all the blame for their season on Russell Westbrook and Frank Vogel and run it back with their current roster under new leadership, and the Hornets are a young and exciting team that could benefit from Wright’s experience with younger players.

Personally, I think those are both a long shot to hire Wright. On the other hand, the Spurs have a young core in place, and Popovich has a relationship with Wright, who assisted the Olympic team in 2021. 

Wright has worked with Zach LaVine in the past, so while Jabari Young’s suggestion that Bradley Beal could be a good fit is off-base, the foundation of his argument is solid. Wright also coached Keldon Johnson in Tokyo and would fit with the already established Spurs’ culture. 

On top of everything, the frontrunners for Wright need a coach now, and in a Sports Illustrated interview, he said he would be interested in an NBA job, but “definitely needs a break” right now. 

Wright's timeline would be ideal for San Antonio

That would actually be ideal for Spurs fans. If Popovich coached one or two more seasons, he would cement himself as the all-time winningest coach with an unbeatable record, and he would get at least another run in the playoffs considering these Spurs are only getting better. After Popovich has a farewell tour, Wright (who would only be 62) could step in and establish a second Spurs dynasty. 

While it seems far-fetched that the small-market Spurs would be able to land such a big fish, keep in mind that the small market might actually be preferable for Wright. He wouldn’t have anyone to butt heads with and he could take over a franchise that is always pointed in the right direction instead of pulling a Doc Rivers or Steve Nash and having to try to rescue a sinking ship.

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The timeline, culture, players, and market all fit what a first-time NBA coach would want. After the greatest NBA coach of all time finally calls it a career, the Spurs could make a lateral move–which would be unheard of–and pick up right where they left off.