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Why the Nets think they have a shot at landing Gregg Popovich

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It might seem pie-in-the-sky to Spurs fans, but Brooklyn has its reasons.

Golden State Warriors v San Antonio Spurs - Game Four Photos by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Gregg Popovich leave San Antonio to coach another team? Never.

It was recently reported that the Brooklyn Nets will ask Coach Pop to head east and finish his career with the team some pundits view as likely to win a title next year.

While never seems the most logical reaction, and most probable, there are a few things here to consider:

  • Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks won two titles with the San Antonio Spurs — one as a player in 2005, anther as an assistant coach in 2014, BOTH under Gregg Popovich. To say Pop would take the phone call and hear Marks out is an understatement.
  • There’s little doubt that Marks and Kevin Durant — who gave the Spurs the courtesy of a sit down during free agency — could get a meeting with the NBA’s greatest coach.
  • The Brooklyn Nets are slated to be the league’s top contender next season. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will lead a team that secured a playoff spot without either of them. This team absolutely will compete for a championship with the right coach.
  • Pop missed coaching an All-NBA team featuring some of the world’s greatest athletes in the cancelled 2020 Olympics. The Brooklyn Nets offer a similar, high-caliber, ready-to-go team.
  • The Spurs are obviously in the midst of a transition. The Youth Movement (yeah, let’s go ahead and capitalize it) is in full swing. DeMar DeRozan’s future is uncertain. LaMarcus Aldridge is nearing the end of is tenure. Add any hint of retirement from Pop, and the Nets will descend on the Alamo City like a vulture.

That said...

Gregg Popovich is more than a coach in San Antonio, and not just in the legendary sense. He is the President of the San Antonio Spurs. Taking a lesser position in Brooklyn makes little sense.

Despite Pop’s assertion that he would head out the door immediately after Tim Duncan, he ushered in the next generation of Spurs stars. Everyone saw the potential on display in Orlando. It must be nurtured and honed and Gregg Popovich is the man to do it.

Next season is going to be something special. No one knows that better than Pop. He’ll want to be calling timeouts thirty-six seconds into the second half when the young guys miss a rotation, and preparing Derrick White, Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker IV, and Keldon Johnson for long, stable careers.

If all else fails, there was a promise from Coach Pop to stay on as the head coach when LaMarcus Aldridge signed on. We can always ask LaMarcus to remind him of that.

Everybody gets it. There are few if any NBA teams that wouldn’t benefit from stealing Gregg Popovich away from the Spurs. But there are few who could get the meeting. And none that can pull it off.


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