…because “He Really Enjoyed Coaching That Young Team Last Year.”
Dejounte Murray, an All-Star point guard for the San Antonio Spurs, has been traded to the Atlanta Hawks along with a significant haul of first-round selections and Danilo Gallinari’s remaining contract. Trae Young’s backcourt has at last found a partner, as two of the league’s top playmakers will team up in Atlanta.
Rough times for the Spurs
Since Tim Duncan retired in 2016, the Spurs have tried to survive, but they haven’t been title challengers since Kawhi Leonard’s injuries and subsequent departure. Together, LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan were unable to reach the postseason; as a result, they are departing the Murray Jazz in exchange for three first-round picks and a first-round pick swap.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Gregg Popovich, who last season became the winningest coach in NBA history, will gladly guide the non-competitive Spurs through their reconstruction.
Woj says the expectation is that Gregg Popovich will return to coach the San Antonio Spurs next season.
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“This is certainly an organization with the experience of drafting well. This is now a full rebuild mode. Gregg Popovich, the expectation is that he will return. He really enjoyed coaching this young team last year and likes this young group. It may be one of the youngest teams in the NBA.”
In his nearly 30-year NBA coaching career, Pop is on track to have his poorest team ever. The coach of the Spurs through their 2023 “tank season,” who is accustomed to competing at the head of the pack, has a three-year record below.500.
Given that the team’s young players have committed to playing basketball Pop’s way, his attachment to them makes sense. Due to Pop’s fondness for him, Keldon Johnson is growing into a franchise cornerstone. A franchise-altering player like Victor Wembanyama or Scoot Henderson is on their radar for the 2023 draft after they selected Baylor Bears great Jeremy Sochan this year.