The San Antonio Spurs delivered one of the delightful shocks of the offseason Monday by announcing that they had hired franchise legend Tim Duncan as an assistant on Gregg Popovich’s coaching staff.
As it turns out, Duncan might not have been their first choice.
According to a report in the newsletter of The New York Times’ Marc Stein, the Spurs initially had another Spurs great in mind to join Popovich on the bench:
The assistant coaching concept, I’m told, was also broached with Ginobili, who has only been retired for one season and was apparently not quite ready to dive back in. But then Duncan volunteered — and happily took second billing to Will Hardy in the Spurs’ official news release bearing this predictably saucy headline: “Spurs Announce Assistant Coach Updates.”
Ginobili is just a year removed from his retirement after a year in which he won four rings, two All-Star nods and a Sixth Man of the Year award, all with the Spurs.
Just like with Duncan, Ginobili’s basketball IQ, demeanor and experience with Popovich seem like they would form a perfect fit for the Spurs coaching staff. However, it’s understandable for the Argentinean to want to take more than just one season off after playing competitive basketball every year of his life since he was a child.
And who knows, Ginobili could still join the staff at some point in the future if he gets the itch to return to the NBA like Duncan did. Maybe Tony Parker could even join him and make a Spurs Big Three reunion.
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