San Antonio Spurs: Unflattering Hammon 'intel' is hard to believe
It's been an eventful few days for former San Antonio Spurs' assistant coaches. Hours ago, the Boston Celtics officially introduced Ime Udoka as their new head coach. The longtime Spurs assistant coach took another longtime Spurs assistant coach with him as well, as Will Hardy will also be joining Udoka in Boston.
Meanwhile, as head coaching vacancies are beginning to fill quickly, Becky Hammon is still waiting in the wings. Not long ago, there were seven open coaching spots to fill. Since then, the Trail Blazers, Mavericks, Pacers, and Celtics have now found their next leaders.
As my colleague, Roberto Araiza, recently discussed, only Orlando, Washington, and New Orleans are still in need of a head coach, with Hammon only getting an interview with the Magic so far. With Shams Charania's latest report, even that option isn't looking very likely.
Why are so many teams passing on Becky Hammon?
For a while now, I've had a gut feeling that Coach Popovich and Becky Hammon have a backdoor agreement that she'll be the next coach of the San Antonio Spurs. When that happens is yet to be determined. The latest events, interviews included, only have reinforced my beliefs.
While it seems counter-productive to go on interviews when your dream job is already hiring you soon, why would you refuse to weigh all your options just in case? Whether Coach Popovich retires this offseason or after the next couple of seasons, it's hard to believe Becky isn't going to succeed him.
Of course, like everyone, I have no inside knowledge of the situation and am not going to pretend I do. This is why a recent "report" from Bleacher Report has me highly skeptical. In a piece diving into the recent coach hirings in Portland and Dallas, Jake Fischer had this to say about Becky:
"Hammon impressed Portland officials and was generally liked among Blazers staffers, sources said. But when Portland reached out for intel from San Antonio figures, the background on Hammon was not nearly as complimentary pertaining to various aspects of day-to-day coaching responsibilities. That sentiment has been echoed by sources around the league. Blazers personnel then cast doubt that Hammon was the candidate to steer the ship through such delicate waters with Lillard."
There's a lot to unpack here. Let's start with San Antonio figures allegedly not being complimentary about Hammon's day-to-day coaching responsibilities. That doesn't exactly sound like San Antonio culture to me, and I can't see anyone with remote ties to the team even believing that sentiment in the first place.
Of course, there's also the chance that this is CIA Pop reaching into his old bag of tricks. For those of you not in the know, Spurs fans have long used that term to poke at Popovich's spy-like past as a young Air Force officer. Anytime you see a smokescreen surrounding the Spurs meant to deceive others, that's CIA Pop.
Then again, Coach Pop wouldn't disparage his favorite assistant coach in such a manner just to retain her -- that's just not how he operates. This entire "report" just reeks to me of a desperate team trying to explain away passing up a perfect candidate for a former player with a troubled past.
The situation in Portland is getting more dire by the day, and any reports or speculation coming out of there should be taken with a spoonful of salt.
As for the part saying "that sentiment being echoed by sources around the league?" Show me. I'd love to hear legitimate sources saying Becky Hammon's day-to-day job isn't up to par. As I've been doing often recently, I'm calling shenanigans on this entire report.