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First Tim Duncan, then Tony Parker, now Manu Ginobili. As the Spurs enter the next chapter in their history, how much longer can we expect to see Gregg Popovich coaching the team?
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David Aldridge: Pop may surprise us all. As with everything about him these days, there’s no way for anyone other than him to know what’s in his heart emotionally after the death of his wife. And I wouldn’t speculate on that here. So whether he throws himself into his work, or decides it’s time to be with the grands full-time is something none of us can guess at. I do think he loves not only teaching and competing, but being with his staff and with his network of friends and associates around the league, and may not be ready to walk away from “the hang” of pro basketball.
Steve Aschburner: Two years from now, Popovich will take Team USA to Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Games. Presumably, he’ll steer that crew to a gold medal. He’ll be 71, closing in on 72. That’s not so very old, but with the Spurs coming down to the NBA pack and his legacy guys gone and/or retired, the 2020-21 season would seem like a swell time for Popovich to take a final lap through the NBA. Which, of course, he’d hate for all the attention it would focus on him, so – just a hunch – I’m thinking that Olympic championship game is the last one we see him coach.
Shaun Powell: Pop is done after the 2019-20 season. I see a seamless transition from NBA coach to Olympic coach that fall. He can satisfy his urge to coach in every World Championship and Olympic year. Between those events, he can get his fill with a bottle of wine.
John Schuhmann: I won’t venture to guess. Only Popovich or those really close to him could know the answer to that question, and maybe he doesn’t know just yet. Heck, Ginobili took four months (since the Spurs were eliminated) to make his decision, and a player has to answer to his body a lot more than a coach does.
Sekou Smith: Before seeing Pop in the flesh last month in Las Vegas during USA Basketball’s summer gathering, I wasn’t quite sure how much longer he would last coaching the Spurs. The key players from the dynasty have all either retired or vacated the premises. And Pop has clearly endured personal strife that would cause anyone to reassess their priorities. But his energy with the players in Vegas jumped out at me. He was in a great space being around the present and future stars of the game and they reciprocated that same energy. I could easily see him sticking around for another three or four seasons in San Antonio as we find out just how strong the Spurs Way culture is without a superstar anchor.
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