Gregg Popovich has long established himself as one of the greatest coaches in NBA history. The future Hall of Famer has led the San Antonio Spurs to five NBA titles while winning three NBA Coach of the Year awards. He also currently serves as head coach of the United States basketball team, which he led to a gold medal at the 2020 Olympics.
After a lengthy run as title contenders, Popovich and the Spurs have struggled in recent years. During the Spurs' media day, the NBA's all-time winningest coach revealed his expectations for the upcoming season. Discussing the Spurs' title chances, Popovich stated:
"I probably shouldn't say this, but I'll say it anyway. Nobody here should go to Vegas and bet on this team to win the championship. I know somebody will say, 'What a debbie downer. There's a chance. What if they work really hard?' It's probably not going to happen."
Many coaches likely couldn't get away with making such remarks about their team. Gregg Popovich, however, is one of the few coaches in sports who will never end up on the 'hot seat.' Instead, he will be able to dictate the terms of his own retirement.
While some may feel that Popovich's comments could hurt the team's morale, the Spurs roster appears uncompetitive. The organization traded their best player, Dejounte Murray, during the offseason. They will enter 2022-2023 with the third-youngest roster and the least amount of money committed to their roster.
Gregg Popovich's motivations for 2022-2023
Many question Gregg Popovich's motivations for remaining with the San Antonio Spurs, who are in the beginning stages of a rebuild. The future Hall of Famer is nearing the end of his career, while nearly his entire roster is just getting started in the league.
Popovich revealed that his motivation for returning is his paycheck. He is set to make $11.5 million as the highest-paid coach in the NBA, so it is not surprising that he returned. Popovich will enter his 27th season as the Spurs head coach in 2022-2023.
Gregg Popovich did share his goal for the season, noting that he wants to develop the Spurs young talent for his eventual successor:
"To develop this group and give them the best possible opportunity to have long NBA careers and to enjoy the he** out of it. Whoever comes after me will have an opportunity to take them to the next level."
With the Spurs unlikely to contend, it is possible that the team ends up in the Victor Wembanyama sweeptakes. The 7'3" center out of France is the projected number one overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.