Great coaches like Gregg Popovich are looked at with a certain amount of reverence in NBA circles. But, recently we have seen that the most grizzled man on the San Antonio Spurs bench has come to terms with a change that some fans have still not reconciled.
There will be no Tim Duncan when the 2016-17 season rolls around in Texas.
When speaking with the San Antonio Express News, Coach Pop was candid about some of the lighter moments coaching The Big Fundamental. Challenges like filling these quiet moments away from the court look like they will present more of a challenge for the head coach.
He shared that: “He (Popovich) would go to a Zagat-approved restaurant on the road with his staff, and sometimes, towards the end of the meal, he would ask the waiter for a small carrot cake to go.”
That cake would be intended for Old Man Riverwalk and his coach would leave it outside of his hotel room door for him. That kind of unspoken bond is going to be hard to recreate.
But, if any team is equipped to deal with the loss of one of the greatest players of all-time, it would be San Antonio.
From Pop’s other comments, it seems like Duncan is still around in some capacity. His presence can’t do anything but help the roster take shape as they adjust to life without him around.
The coach spoke about wanting him there: “If he wants to go on a scouting trip, fine. If he wants his own station in training camp, he has it. He’s in charge. He can tell me exactly what he wants to do. But I’m not paying him a penny.”
On first blush, that sounds kind of harsh. But, make no mistake that’s just how their relationship works. Some things just don’t change.