It often gets overlooked that KD and Kyrie not going to Orlando isn’t the only important fact about the Nets. They will also be coached by an interim coach. After parting ways with Kenny Atkinson, the Nets gave Jacque Vaughn the chance to prove he is their head coach of the future.
But a few days ago we heard a bigger name might be in play. I should say, the biggest name. Gerald Brown of “Let’s Get Technical,” a podcast starring Rasheed Wallace and Bonzi Wells, brought up the Brooklyn Nets’ plans for their vacant head coaching position.
“There’s a story going around that the owner of the Brooklyn Nets is looking to make a ‘Godfather offer’ to Gregg Popovich, and when I say the Godfather, I mean ‘something he can’t refuse,’”Gerald Brown, “Let’s Get Technical”
Nets owner Joseph Tsai is estimated to be worth over $11 billion, so money is no object. A man like that can truly make an offer hard to refuse. In addition, Nets GM Sean Marks is a part of the San Antonio family tree, so that connection did raise some eyebrows. While appearing on WFAN’s Joe & Evan, Marks commented on the rumor.
“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.”Sean Marks, Nothing But Nets
“I’ll let Pop continue to coach for the Spurs” is a poor choice of words, but lets us know that according to Marks, the Nets won’t be pursuing Pop. (GM’s never lie.) But if there was ever a time for Pop to surprise us, this could be it. Probably the greatest coach in NBA history has been rumored to retire for a few years now and obviously doesn’t want to spend his last days on an NBA bench coaching through a rebuild.
Let’s get money out of the way. Tsai can pay a king’s ransom, and make Pop the richest coach in NBA history (maybe even throw in team ownership in the conversation). But Pop is already one of the best-paid coaches in the NBA and doesn’t seem like a man who would chase an extra million. Yes, everybody has a price, but I just don’t see money being crucial in such a scenario.
There are basketball reasons that make sense. Pop obviously doesn’t want to coach through a rebuild, so the Spurs are in limbo. Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker, and Derrick White are all losing valuable minutes to Patty Mills and DeMar DeRozan. Don’t get me wrong, DeMar and Patty are better, more consistent players, but you are not winning a lot of playoff games with them. This seems like the perfect time to let the reins over to Becky Hammon, Tim Duncan, or whoever else the Spurs had in mind to take over after Pop.
Meanwhile, there’s a team in Brooklyn ready to win it all right now. With KD and Kyrie back, the Nets are one of the favorites to win the NBA title. Here we come to the biggest block in the road. It’s KD and Kyrie, not Timmy and Manu. Pop always said the most important quality in a San Antonio Spur was “getting over yourself.” That’s the last phrase you’d describe Durant and Irving.
But, it seems the whole LaMarcus Aldrige experience taught Pop to let star players be who they are. Coaching Team USA gave Kyrie, KD, and Pop time to get to know each other. Maybe there’s something there.
Pop goes to Brooklyn for two years and an absurd amount of money to take one last swing at the Larry O’Brien trophy. The Spurs transition with a new head coach and a young nucleus. After his contract with the Nets is done, Pop returns to River City and get a position within the Spurs organization. It’s a long shot, but I just don’t see Pop deal with the KD & Kyrie show for an entire NBA season.