Report: Spurs' Gregg Popovich Believed by Some to Be Open to Coaching in 2022-23

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 29, 2021

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich talks to his players during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat in San Antonio, Wednesday, April 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
AP Photo/Eric Gay

The 2021-22 season reportedly may not be the swan song for Gregg Popovich as head coach of the San Antonio Spurs.

According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, multiple sources close to Popovich said it "would not surprise them" if he returned to coach in 2022-23.

The 72-year-old Popovich, fresh off leading Team USA to a gold medal at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, is set to enter his 26th season as head coach of the Spurs.

Regardless of when he decides to retire, Pop is already among the most decorated and accomplished head coaches in NBA history with five championships and three NBA Coach of the Year awards to his credit.

Popovich has coached 1,963 career regular-season games and owns a record of 1,310-653, which equates to an astounding .667 winning percentage.

He is already seventh on the NBA's all-time list in regular-season games coached, and he will get to fourth by the end of the season.

Popovich is also third all-time in regular-season wins behind only Don Nelson and Lennie Wilkens, and he will move into first place with just 26 more victories.

On top of that, Popovich is second in NBA history in playoff games coached (284) behind only Phil Jackson and third in playoff games won (170) behind Jackson and Pat Riley.

Arguably, the most impressive achievement of Popovich's career is the fact that he took the Spurs to the playoffs in 22 straight seasons from 1997-98 through 2018-19, making it past the first round on 16 occasions.

He also got the most out of many star players over the years, including David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard.

Recent years have been a bit of a struggle for Popovich and the Spurs, however, as they have missed the playoffs in each of the past two seasons and haven't made it out of the first round since 2016-17.

Following the offseason departures of DeMar DeRozan, Patty Mills and Rudy Gay, getting back in playoff contention during the upcoming season could be a huge challenge.

If Popovich can develop younger players such as Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker IV and Keldon Johnson, however, the Spurs have a chance to be a surprise team in 2021-22, and it could compel Popovich to continue coaching.