Tim Duncan is stepping away from his role as a full-time assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs. The former No. 1 draft pick, five-time NBA Champion, and upcoming 2020 Hall of Fame inductee has been an assistant with the team since 2019. So far, it’s unclear why exactly Tim Duncan has decided to step away and what his future plans are.
Tim Duncan Plans to Step away From Role Confirmed
An earlier report arrived via the New York Times’ Marc Stein indicating that Tim Duncan will step away from his full-time assistant coach role. An NBA.com report by Michael C. Wright confirms the earlier news. Stein and Wright also mention the move is no surprise within the organization.
Duncan was only expected to work in the assistant coach role for a short time, as part of the transition period after the departure of himself, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker. The team currently features former All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge, veterans including Rudy Gay, and rising young stars such as Lonnie Wright IV.
As mentioned by Stein in his tweets, Duncan chose not to go when the San Antonio Spurs went to the Orlando NBA bubble site for the league’s restart several months ago. Instead, Duncan stayed behind to assist with big man LaMarcus Aldridge’s rehab process after season-ending shoulder surgery.
The 44-year-old Duncan made his brief debut as a replacement head coach back in March. He replaced head coach Gregg Popovich for a Spurs’ road game against the Charlotte Hornets. The Spurs came up with a 104-103 win under Duncan, but the win still went onto Popovich’s coaching record.
Spurs to Keep Other Assistants, Replace Duncan?
While the 44-year-old Duncan will be stepping away, the San Antonio Spurs seem like they’ll keep the other assistants going forward. That includes Becky Hammon and Will Hardy, both of whom have been mentioned in reports and speculation about various NBA head coaching vacancies.
Hammon has been part of San Antonio’s coaching staff since 2014, while Hardy was promoted to his role in 2016 after working as video coordinator for the team. In addition, Chip Engelland will remain part of the staff. Engelland has been on the staff since 2005.
As far as Tim Duncan’s future with the team, that is uncertain. The Spurs will likely replace him for the upcoming season. So far it’s unknown who that replacement will be. It’s also unknown if Duncan is planning to return to his coaching role or continue to pursue other ventures after the next NBA season.
Popovich Called Duncan ‘Too Smart’ to Stay in Coaching
Ahead of the 2019-20 NBA season, head coach Gregg Popovich said of Duncan, “Something tells me it’s not going to be his passion for life, but he’s going to be great this year.” On several occasions, Popovich also called Duncan “too smart” to stay in coaching for a long period of time.
Tim Duncan was a frequent visitor to the Spurs’ locker room and team practices for the first three years following his retirement as a player. He had his own space in the coaches’ locker room at the team’s facilities. Duncan owns a personal business right down the road with BlackJack Speed Shop, so it’s likely he’ll focus on that among other things.
The five-time NBA Champion appeared on 15 All-Star teams, 15 All-NBA teams, and won two Kia MVP awards during his career. He’s amongst the top 10 players of all-time on most lists out there and is part of the 2020 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class. The rescheduled enshrinement ceremony takes place in May 2021.Visit our Spurs news page to get more team and player updates.