The Brooklyn Nets have ambitious plans for their opening at head coach, reportedly targeting San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Though the 71-year-old hasn’t given indication he wants to leave San Antonio, the Nets “plan to seriously explore the possibilities with Popovich.”
The Spurs are coming off a 32-39 season, missing the playoffs for the first time since Popovich’s first year with the team in 1996-97.
During his 24 seasons with the Spurs, Popovich has led his team to four NBA titles and 1,277 regular-season wins, third-most in league history.
Even coming off a disappointing season, he is ready to keep coaching going into 2020-21.
It could be tough for the Nets to steal him away from the Spurs, but they are clearly looking for someone who can turn the team into an instant contender next season.
Despite ending the year with a first-round sweep by the Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn expects to have a healthy Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant next year, who cost a combined $300 million as free agents. With players like Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen emerging as quality contributors, this squad could be dangerous in the Eastern Conference.
The first step is finding a coach after Kenny Atkinson was fired in March. Jacque Vaughn was the interim coach through the NBA restart, but the team is apparently keeping its options open.
General manager Sean Marks has previously denied the team is targeted Popovich.
“Pop has a job. So I will say that,” Marks told WFANs Joe & Evanin July (h/t Nick Friar of NetsWire) . “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.”
Charania also called landing the veteran coach a “pipe dream for now,” but the Nets will seemingly at least try to lure him from the Spurs.