Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is the oldest coach in NBA history and there is a “growing belief” that Popovich could be entering his final season, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.
Popovich, 72, took over as Spurs coach during the 1996-97 season and has been on the sideline for six Finals appearances and five championships.
He needs just 26 victories to pass Don Nelson on the NBA’s all-time coaching wins list.
While there are certain to be rumors about Popovich’s future, given his age, Fischer wrote that it’s always been an “open-ended” type of deal.
“The fact that Spurs officials and rival team personnel persistently whisper about his eventual retirement, when it will arrive, and who will ultimately replace him, is noteworthy in itself,” Fischer wrote.
Spurs assistant Will Hardy is among those who could be in line to replace Popovich should Popovich decide to retire, Fischer noted. Hardy has interviewed for several head-coaching openings over the past several seasons.
“Who actually becomes Popovich’s replacement could prove to be situational,” Fischer wrote. “If the Spurs choose a younger voice to match San Antonio’s younger group, perhaps Popovich would be open to some type of an advisory role, just as any former Spur has been welcomed back to the franchise with open arms.
“If San Antonio were to hire a first-time head coach, such as Hardy or Manu Ginobili, many league observers B/R contacted would expect the Spurs to hire a former head coach, such as Brett Brown, to serve as a chief assistant.”
San Antonio has failed to make the playoffs in each of the past two seasons and hasn’t gotten out of the first round since 2017.