Tim Duncan, Spurs Agree to Contract as Assistant Coach on Gregg Popovich's Staff

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2019

FILE - In this Dec. 7, 2015, file photo, San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan watches the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, in Philadelphia. Duncan announced his retirement on Monday, July 11, 2016, after 19 seasons, five championships, two MVP awards and 15 All-Star appearances. It marks the end of an era for the Spurs and the NBA.  (AP Photo/Chris Szagola, FIle)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The San Antonio Spurs will have a familiar face on the sidelines next season.

Tim Duncan has been hired as an assistant coach under Gregg Popovich, the team announced Monday. Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic first reported the news.

He will join Will Hardy and Becky Hammon on the bench for San Antonio next season, making it more than just a player development role, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.

The 43-year-old spent his entire NBA career with the Spurs before retiring after the 2015-16 season.

"It is only fitting, that after I served loyally for 19 years as Tim Duncan's assistant, that he returns the favor," Popovich joked.

Popovich took over for San Antonio in the middle of the 1996-97 season and drafted Duncan the next summer. Over the next two decades, the pair combined for five NBA titles and a playoff appearance in each season.

Duncan also excelled at an individual level, earning 15 All-Star selections and two MVP awards as part of what will certainly be a Hall of Fame resume.

As he transitions to coaching, he will be a help for younger players who can learn from one of the best of his generation. Young big men like Jacob Poetl, Trey Lyles and Luka Samanic should especially take note of his teachings.

It will also be a relatively easy transition with several former teammates on the roster, including LaMarcus Aldridge and Patty Mills.

If things go well, it could be another impressive mark on the Popovich coaching tree, which features former assistants-turned-head coaches like Mike Budenholzer and Brett Brown as well as former players like Steve Kerr and Doc Rivers.


Michael Lee of The Athletic joins The Full 48 with Howard Beck to discuss the Washington Wizards, Utah Jazz, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, Giannis, 2019 Christmas Day matchups, and play-off predictions.

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