There have been San Antonio Spurs rumors swirling around the possibility that the Brooklyn Nets would pursue Gregg Popovich. Now that speculation has been confirmed, with new reports popping up about the Nets’ situation. It appears the two All-Stars who could lead the Nets to the NBA Finals are both interested in a “higher-profile coach” such as Popovich. Nets General Manager Sean Marks may have a different coach in mind, but will also take his players’ feedback into consideration.
Spurs Rumors Confirmed in New Reports About Nets, Popovich
A recent report arrived from ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan discussing the Brooklyn Nets’ future with their All-Star players Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. They were both absent from the NBA bubble’s restart due to injury situations. Meanwhile, their teammates were swept 4-0 by the Toronto Raptors in the first round. Still, the future is promising once KD and Irving finally suit up together along with the rest of the roster.
One piece of the puzzle will be deciding what sort of coach to install to guide this squad to that next level. Per ESPN’s MacMullan:
“…league sources say Durant and Irving are interested in a higher profile head coach, along the lines of Tyronn Lue or Gregg Popovich, who are among the candidates who have been linked to the opening.”
There had been previous Nets and Spurs rumors that Brooklyn would pursue Popovich, perhaps making him a “Godfather offer” that he just couldn’t refuse.
The Athletic’s Shams Charnia has now confirmed the rumors that Brooklyn will make a pursuit. He even mentions that Pop is a favorite of Durant, “dating as far back as Oklahoma City’s coaching search process in 2015” (per league sources).
However, it’s believed that Gregg Popovich will be reluctant to leave behind the San Antonio Spurs, a team he’s been a part of coaching for over two decades now. He recently praised his Spurs players’ effort during the NBA restart games as they nearly got into the play-in game to battle for a playoff spot.
The other name that popped up as far as a coach that Irving and KD might want to lead them is Tyronn Lue. He coached Irving and the Cavaliers to an NBA Championship in 2016, so there’s a familiarity there. Lue was coach of the Cavs up until 2018. A bad start saw the organization fire him after six games. He currently is an assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Nets GM May go With Other Coaching Option, Though
While Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving want someone high-profile like the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich or Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue, GM Sean Marks may already have a coach. ESPN reported that the Nets’ interim head coach Jacque Vaughn may end up being their top candidate.
He took over as Nets interim head coach once Kenny Atkinson resigned during the 2019-20 NBA season. Vaughn played his last three seasons in the NBA for the San Antonio Spurs under Popovich from 2006 to 2009. Upon retiring, he was an assistant coach alongside Pop from 2010 to 2012.
Per ESPN’s report, Vaughn has earned respect from the Nets organization and players. That right there has Marks interested in offering him a permanent job as head coach.
However, the league has become run by the power of its star players. Many NBA stars are able to have a strong say in what happens where they play including who coaches. That could end up being the case in Brooklyn with top talents Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
Right now, it seems a longshot that they’d land Gregg Popovich. However, one never knows just what sorts of pull and rapport the All-Stars may have. It’s possible that KD and Irving have a strong connection with Pop and could get him interested in their situation. Stay tuned as the Spurs offseason could get very interesting. For more team and player news, visit our Spurs page here.