Shortly after learning about Patrick Mills needing shoulder surgery in the offseason, San Antonio re-signed Mills to a three-year deal worth approximately $12 million. Then the Spurs re-signed Boris Diaw on Sunday for a little more than $22 million over the next three seasons, with the third year partially guaranteed.
And, oh by the way, Tim Duncan opted in for the final season of his contract (worth about $10.3 million) with San Antonio, eight days after the Spurs won the NBA Finals for a fifth time, June 15. So the latest news of Gregg Popovich re-signing with San Antonio shouldn’t come as a surprise … or should it?
Popovich Agrees To Multiyear Contract Extension With The Spurs
Good news San Antonio, the NBA’s longest-tenured head coach appears to be sticking around a little longer. Fittingly, the first ones to report the news was not Brian Windhorst, Marc Stein or Chris Broussard; it was the Spurs in a press release.
Coming off his fifth title and third NBA Coach of the Year award, Pop will be back. The terms are currently unknown, but Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports was told “Popovich is eager to coach another 4-5 years.”
Pop made $6 million last season. With Popovich’s championship pedigree, one might assume he’s going to get paid an even bigger salary. After all, coaches-to-be Derek Fisher and Steve Kerr of the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors will make $5 million each next year.
What’s Pop Worth? Is It Possible Popovich Will Coach Even After Duncan Retires?
The former front-office employee of San Antonio is 65 and enjoys his fair share of wines. Pop’s anticipated to be paid more handsomely than his previous contract.
However, the Spurs aren’t the prototypical sports franchise who is obsessed with getting the biggest paycheck and looking at themselves in the mirror.
If any coach is willing to take less money it’s Popovich, who took over for Bob Hill during the 1996-97 season. A former general manager, Pop, in his first year, probably felt uncomfortable on the sidelines.
In 1994, San Antonio signed Popovich to be the GM and Vice President of Basketball Operations after Peter Holt purchased the Spurs. In 1996-97, however, Pop fired Hill for a 3-15 start and named himself the new coach.
Alamo City’s Dreary 1996-97 Campaign Proved To Be A Saving Grace
San Antonio went on to go 20-62. David Robinson broke his foot six games in and was done for the year as were the Spurs.
Popovich must have doubted whether he was really the right man for the job with a rude awakening.
Then came the 1997 NBA Draft Lottery. San Antonio won the lotto and without any hesitation selected Timmy No. 1 overall. Two seasons later the Spurs hoisted their first NBA championship.
In 2002 Pop relinquished his GM duties to R.C. Buford. A year later San Antonio won their second title. Two seasons later, a third and two years after that, a fourth championship until winning a fifth in 2014.
The Spurs flipped the script on 1996-97 by going 62-20 last season. San Antonio has been two things the last 17 years–consistent and confident.
Keeping Popovich only helps in maintaining both. But when that sad day finally comes when Duncan retires, will Pop walk out the door with him?
It appears Popovich may not.