Gregg Popovich Rumors

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San Antonio assistant Jim Boylen has accepted an associate head coaching job with the Chicago Bulls, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg had targeted Boylen to coordinate his defensive coverages and use his strong NBA bench experience to facilitate Hoiberg’s leap to the pro sidelines from Iowa State. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich wanted to keep Boylen on his staff, but ultimately understood the financial opportunity and promotion that the Bulls were offering, sources said. Hoiberg and Boylen met recently, and Boylen had been weighing an offer for several days, sources said.
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Robert Horry: Here are a few things I think: Brent Barry was one of the smartest players I ever played with in the NBA. Rudy Tomjanovich was the best coach I ever had, not Phil Jackson or Gregg Popovich. Kobe Bryant was the hardest working player I ever played with. The Triangle is just a fancy name for the same plays that 50 percent of the NBA runs. Dennis Rodman was a genius. Basketball is a ruthless business. Winners don’t take no shit.
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In dismantling the two-time champion Miami Heat in last year’s NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs fired up more 3-pointers (23.6 per game) than any championship team in league history and averaged more 3s than even the most 3-happy Phoenix Suns squad in the “Seven Seconds Or Less” era. But Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is hardly proud of it. “I can’t be stubborn,” he explains, “just because I personally don’t like it and think it mucks up the game.”
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When Gasol was being courted by the Bulls and Spurs in free agency, he says he spoke to Thibodeau and Popovich at length before he made his decision to leave the Lakers and sign in Chicago. He connected with both coaches in different ways. He loved everything about Pop. They share a taste for the good life. But he worried about longevity with the Spurs. There was no guarantee Popovich, Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili would be there by the end of the three seasons he was signing up for.
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Do you anticipate any changes to the intentional foul rule? Gregg Popovich: “There will be a lot of discussion about the fouling, as there should be. But principle-wise, I fee’ really strongly that it’s a tactic that can be used. If someone can’t shoot free throws, that’s their problem. As I’ve said before, if we’re not allowed to do something to take advantage of a team’s weakness, a trade should be made before each game. ‘We won’t foul your guy, but you promise not to block any of our shots.’ Or, ‘We won’t foul your guy, and you allow us to shoot all uncontested shots.’ “So we’d have to make a trade. On an intellectual or principle basis, I think you’re on high ground. Now, visual-wise, it’s awful. It couldn’t be worse. I tend to side on the principle side where it’s basketball, and if we have a guy who can’t shoot and it’s an important part of the game, I should probably get him off the court. We’ll see how it comes out. I’m sure the way it looks will be discussed very seriously by the league.”
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For the record, furthermore, don’t forget that Popovich only just completed the first season of a five-year contract. Word is he contemplated retirement after last season’s championship with more seriousness than any of us on the outside realized, but Pop didn’t just agree to keep coaching. He consented to sign that long-term deal which, according to industry insiders, pays in the $11 million range annually. The reflex reaction to news of Pop’s five-year contract was to conclude that it was somewhat ceremonial, based on the idea that no one in South Texas really expects to see out all five of those years on the bench. Yet we can share that there’s at least one pretty well-connected Spurs watcher we know who thinks Pop just may surprise us. And his name is Peter Holt.
What about playoff seeding? “Division leaders (getting a top four seed) will be discussed I’m sure. Everybody asks about the top 16 teams (being re-seeded, regardless of conference) all the time. I honestly yield to the intelligence of the league on that. They’ve got a lot of good minds up there and you know they’ve thought about it. If they haven’t done it yet I’m sure there’s a good reason. I’m sure economics is a big part of it, or travel or whatnot. If they thought it would work, they would do it.”
Do you feel confident that the team has been able to maintain flexibility without mortgaging the future? Gregg Popovich: “R.C. and his group have always done a great job of doing things, both frugally and with class. If money needs to be spent, it’s spent. But it’s never done unwisely. We’ve never put the organization in a situation where they’re paying a ridiculous amount of money for no value. My complete faith and trust in R.C. is never going to change, because of the track record he has, thinking not just for the next year and the next two years, but the next three years, the next seven years, that type of thing.”
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Do you see a scenario where Tim Duncan returns? Gregg Popovich: “We haven’t talked yet about that. We’ve got a pretty good number of free agents so with R.C. and the coaches and the group we’ve talked about what we want to do going forward with the makeup of the team but the team will probably look considerably different than it looks this year because we have so many free agents and we want to re-tool a little bit. We want to try to start — not exactly over again — but these last four seasons have been a grind and we put the team together with that in mind, that this year we’d have all the free agents so we can decide what we want to do moving forward, as far as the makeup of the team. So we’ll spend a lot of time on that but as far as if guys are retiring or not we haven’t touched that.”