The competition for the San Antonio Spurs regarding Becky Hammon's coaching position just got stiffer. On Wednesday morning, Shams Charania broke the news that Brad Stevens was moving from his head coach job to a new role leading basketball operations in Boston. Danny Ainge will also be stepping down as President of Basketball Operations.
The news came suddenly but isn't shocking, as Boston wildly underperformed to the tune of a 36-36 record and lost to Brooklyn in the five games in the NBA Playoffs. Over the next few weeks, all kinds of names will be linked to the Celtics, and Becky Hammon will certainly be one of them.
Considering her experience and how much she has impressed as an assistant coach in San Antonio since 2014, Hammon will be one of the most coveted candidates for heading coaching gigs until she ultimately becomes one.
Becky has had loyalty to the city of San Antonio ever since her playing days with the Silver Stars -- one that resulted in her jersey retirement. She's also built incredible relationships with Gregg Popovich and the entire Spurs team, especially guys like DeMar DeRozan and Dejounte Murray.
The Spurs have a lot going for them as far as their chances of keeping Hammon until it's her time to shine as a head coach. At the same time, an opportunity to jump into a new situation as the head coach of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker certainly looks appealing on paper.
Should the San Antonio Spurs be concerned about the Celtics?
I'll start by saying this: I have no inside knowledge of the Spurs' plans for their coaching positions going forward. Anything they decide will be just as much a surprise to me as it is to you. All I can offer are my educated guesses about the future, which could very well end up wrong.
With that said, I can't help but feel like Coach Popovich has given Coach Hammon a silent nod behind closed doors that the team will be hers for the taking very soon. That doesn't necessarily mean that will happen next season, but Gregg Popovich will be turning 73 during the 2021-22 campaign. At a certain point soon, both sides would benefit from a transition to someone like Becky.
I've previously written about how Coach Popovich is 26 wins away from the all-time coaching wins record and how that will likely have no bearing on his decision to return or not. The bottom line is that the job is his as long as he wants it, and he's earned that right. Ultimately, the decision will simply come down to whether or not he's ready to let go.
As for Coach Hammon, it's no secret she's waiting for a head coaching opportunity, as she reiterated on NBC's recent special, Inspiring America: The 2021 Inspiration List. The quote seems like good news for people like me, who are hoping to see her have her shot as the head coach soon. When asked about a head coaching job, here was her response:
"In some ways, I feel like it could be in a year. In other ways, it could be 10 years. I’m not really sure. What I’m sure of is I’ll be ready.”
While it appears she's ready for the opportunity, she at least states she's willing to wait. Given her history with the Alamo City, it's hard to see her jumping to Boston so readily.
I expect another prominent Spurs assistant coach, Will Hardy, to be taken into consideration by the Celtics as well. Should he be interviewed, I feel confident he could impress. Hammon, on the other hand? I feel like San Antonio has bigger plans for her.