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New partnerships, same approach for Gregg Popovich

There are big changes on the floor and in the front office, but as he spends the week with his staff preparing for the season ahead, Pop affirmed that the Spurs' culture and mentality remain the same.

Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

"Most people aren't married for 19 years," [Brett Brown] said, and that's why Friday represents more than the beginning of another season.

That's the conclusion to Buck Harvey's excellent piece on Gregg Popovich's relationship with Tim Duncan, who's currently holed away somewhere in the West Coast with his new-look staff and at least a few bottles of pinot noir, preparing for the season ahead. If you haven't read the article yet, I can't recommend it enough -- not least of all because of the story involving Pop picking Duncan up a piece of carrot cake whenever the team was on the road.

The tradition was "more than a late-night snack," Harvey states. "It was a nod to partnership and appreciation."

The article also touches on one of the new front office additions, former Spurs player and assistant coach Monty Williams, who will rejoin the team as Vice President of Basketball Operations. Williams had been an assistant coach in Oklahoma City most recently and was a head coach in New Orleans prior to that. That's not the only change afoot, though.

The team issued a press release on Friday laying out the full list of additions and promotions, which include Will Hardy moving up to assistant coach (following Chad Forcier's move to Orlando) and former NBA player Landry Fields coming on as a college scout.

Duncan may be gone (at least as a player) and there are some new personalities in the front office, but Pop assured the organization's approach remains the same:

"Same culture, same philosophy," [Popovich] said. "I only know what I know. We'll hang our hat on defense. We just don't have the greatest power forward of all-time playing for us anymore."