As the Nets ramped up for Game 1 of their playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, beginning Monday night, the rumor mill has been in full swing when it comes to their head-coaching search.
Over the weekend, the Los Angeles Times’ Dan Woike — who is inside the NBA’s Orlando bubble — reported that the Nets are expected to make a push to hire legendary San Antonio Spurs boss, Gregg Popovich. Granted they such a pursuit “almost certainly will be unsuccessful.”
Woike’s report adds further fuel to the fire that was stoked by the New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy, who noted last month that speculation around the league is tabbing Nets owner Joe Tsai to make a “huge offer” for Popovich.
The 71-year-old is already the league’s highest-paid coach, and for good reason. He built the Spurs from a nice little small-market club to one of the most consistent brands in the game. Since taking over in 1997, the Spurs made the playoffs for 22-straight seasons, winning five NBA titles.
Despite not making the playoffs this season, Popovich is in as stable a position as possible in San Antonio, which would make leaving a questionable decision.
However, one of the greatest coaches of all-time could add another dimension to his already-Hall-of-Fame-worthy career.
After being an NBA afterthought for decades, the worm is finally turning in Brooklyn. The Nets are poised to be an Eastern Conference power beginning next season with a healthy Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant leading the way — both of whom shocked the NBA world by teaming up to head to Brooklyn last summer.
With two bonafide superstars comes the prospect of drama, which Irving and Durant have not been short of throughout their playing days. Bringing on a head coach like Popovich, who is one of the most well-respected names in the game, would keep the ship tight.
Would that be enough to coax Popovich away from San Antonio?
To coach such a talented duo while making Brooklyn an epicenter of the basketball map for a boat-load of cash sure is a strong argument.