Back in March, right before the NBA was put on hiatus for four months, some pretty interesting Gregg Popovich rumors began popping up in league circles. He was floated as a shocking candidate for the Brooklyn Nets coaching job.
Days earlier, the Nets and head coach Kenny Atkinson made the surprising “mutual decision” to part ways. Atkinson got the Nets to the playoffs the year before, and was seen as an integral part of the attractive franchise infrastructure and chemistry that attracted stars like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to sign with the club. He was replaced by interim head coach Jacques Vaughn, who will lead the injury-depleted roster when things start back up later this month.
General manager Sean Marks came to Brooklyn from the San Antonio Spurs front office. He played for Popovich from 2003-06, and returned to the franchise as an assistant coach, before moving up to the front office. From there, he was hired as the Nets’ GM to rebuild the franchise after the damaging Billy King era.
Could Marks bring his former boss Popovich to Brooklyn to finish out what has been one of the great coaching tenures of all time? It seems very unlikely. However, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith brought it up days after Atkinson’s departure on First Take.
According to @stephenasmith, there are only three candidates to fill the head coaching job with the Brooklyn Nets …
… one of them is Gregg Popovich. pic.twitter.com/yc6jUkg6zS
— First Take (@FirstTake) March 9, 2020
There hasn’t been a ton out there about this, but the Gregg Popovich rumors haven’t gone away. The “Let’s Get Technical” with former NBA stars Bonzi Wells and Rasheed Wallace brought it up this week, with ESPN’s Amin Elhassan and former NBA player Gerald Brown on. Brown said he heard that the franchise was set to make a “Godfather offer” to Popovich.
— Josh Paredes (@Josh810) July 3, 2020
The panelists didn’t seem to buy that Pop would make a move like that this late in his career, even as there have been persistent rumors about his own replacement in San Antonio as well. Things have gone far enough to where Sean Marks had to answer a question about the rumors, however, during a recent interview on WFAN. Via USA Today:
Pop has a job. So I will say that. And, obviously, we all know he’s an amazing, amazing coach — and to be quite frank, an even better leader. So I’ll let Pop continue to coach for the Spurs. He owes it to them and they owe it to him. I’m sure he’s quite happy there.
As pretty much everyone has said, it would be a massive shock for Gregg Popovich to leave the San Antonio Spurs, and no one really sees it happening. It is fascinating that the rumors continue to permeate now, months after they began.