- Despite missing the playoffs for the first time in 22 seasons, Gregg Popovich has -200 odds to be the coach in San Antonio next season
- He also has the second-best odds to become the next head coach of the Brooklyn Nets
- Read below for a look into where Gregg Popovich will be coaching in the NBA next season
A 5-3 run in the bubble wasn’t enough for San Antonio to make the playoffs, ending a streak of 22 straight seasons in which the Spurs have made the playoffs.
The architect of that run has been Gregg Popovich, and now that he’s on the back side of that streak, many have begun to speculate that this may have been the end of the road for Pop in San Antonio.
Odds Gregg Popovich Coaches Spurs in 2020-21 NBA Season
|Will Gregg Popovich Coach San Antonio Next Season?||Odds|
All odds taken Aug. 14
End of the Road in San Antonio?
With such a long run of success broken, and a roster in need of some improvement, it appears that San Antonio may be entering a rebuild. It won’t be a 76ers-level tankjob, but the Spurs are certainly in need of an upgraded roster. That set of circumstances, along with the fact that Pop has been in the position since 1996, has led many to believe that his time as head coach may be coming to an end.
However, it appears Popovich himself isn’t of the same opinion. When asked about coaching next season, his response was “Why wouldn’t I?”
Gregg Popovich on coaching next year: "Why wouldn't I?"
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 14, 2020
While Popovich, and the odds, suggest that he’ll stay put, there is a case to be made for the Spurs and the head coach splitting up. After 18 years of 50-plus win seasons, San Antonio has failed to crack that mark in the last three years.
The Spurs have obviously missed the playoffs this year, and in the previous two seasons, they’ve been bounced out of the postseason in the first round. There is now a definitive downward trend for what was previously one of the league’s most consistent franchises.
Popovich will go down as one of the greatest coaches of all time, but perhaps it’s finally time for he and the Spurs to part ways.
Leaving San Antonio would not inherently mean leaving basketball for Popovich. One place he could end up is Brooklyn. The odds like the possibility of a potential marriage between Pop and Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and a solid Nets roster.
Odds on Brooklyn Nets Head Coach for 2020-21 NBA Season
|Jeff Van Gundy||+500|
Would Nets Make Sense for Popovich?
For Gregg Popovich, at 71, taking a new coaching job may not be the move that everyone expects. However, Brooklyn will be in a win-now situation next season with two superstars in Durant and Irving. There’s no rebuild required in Brooklyn, so a tenure of just a few seasons with the two stars in town wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.
The modern day NBA has come to be defined by short stints for star players. Durant’s short Golden State tenure, against LeBron James short time in his return to Cleveland, was the signature NBA Finals matchup in the league.
Yet, in what felt like a snap of a finger, each player left, and the power dynamic of the league shifted immediately.
It’s not just a realistic move for Popovich, but it also feels more likely in the current climate of the league.
Who Will Brooklyn Hire?
While a Popovich hire would make sense, there is one coach who’s remained at the top of these odds since March. Tyronn Lue is another coach with championship experience, and he has the leg up on Pop due to his relationship with the two Nets stars. Lue was the head coach in Cleveland when Irving was there, and he has a relationship with Durant as well.
Additionally, Lue’s status as a former player is important. Durant and Irving have a history of being volatile personalities, and having a younger coach that was in the league may be a move that creates a better locker room situation.
Stars have more power than ever in the league as well, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see Durant and Irving advocate for Lue to be the next head man.
Others in Contention
The other two candidates to keep an eye on are Jacques Vaughn and Darvin Ham. Each is fighting an uphill battle to get the job against some far bigger names, but they’ve still got a shot.
Vaughn is currently the Nets’ interim coach, and his +300 odds have some value. He’s done a solid job in keeping things afloat, and a trademark of his tenure has been to open up the lines of communication with players. Promoting the interim guy wouldn’t be the flashy move, but Vaughn is well-liked by his team and by colleagues around the NBA, so his chances are high.
A bigger sleeper is Milwaukee assistant Darvin Ham. The +1000 odds even feel too high when you consider the staffs and coaching jobs that Ham has been a part of. He’s been with Mike Budenholzer since his time in Atlanta, and from those staffs, Ham is the only coach that hasn’t gotten a head gig yet.
If the NBA Playoffs started today, 25% of the teams would be coached by dudes in this photo of the 2013-14 Atlanta Hawks staff. pic.twitter.com/EkFRY9uQ8x
— Jaryd Wilson (@JarydWilson) January 17, 2020
With the success of Taylor Jenkins and Quin Snyder, Ham is certainly due to get interest from teams due to the coaching tree he’s a part of. Ironically the one unsuccessful assistant from that group was Kenny Atkinson, the man who started this year as the Nets head coach.
The most likely hire for the Nets is Ty Lue, but in an encouraging sign for the NBA, there is a plethora of exciting coaching candidates.