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Did the Spurs Really Ruin Becky Hammon's Shot at the Blazers' Job?

By Stephen Douglas
Gregg Popovich and Becky Hammon
Gregg Popovich and Becky Hammon / Ronald Cortes/Getty Images
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The NBA offseason is in that weird in-between portion where teams are still playing and free agency hasn't started, but there are still trades and coaches being hired as teams prepare for the NBA Draft. So far four of the seven recently vacated head coaching positions have been filled. San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon has not been one of the hires.

Instead of giving Hammon a shot, the Indiana Pacers re-hired Rick Carlisle who is a decade removed from winning a postseason series. The Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers hired Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups who both haven troubling "incidents" in their past.

Only the Boston Celtics, who hired Ime Udoka from the Brooklyn Nets, hired a fresh faced candidate who hasn't inspired any negative press. Coincidentally, Udoka spent multiple years coaching alongside Hammon in San Antonio.

Hammon was reportedly a finalist for the Blazers job, but they went with Billups. So what happened? Apparently the Spurs did. Via Bleacher Report:

Hammon impressed Portland officials and was generally liked among Blazers staffers, sources said. But when Portland reached out for intel from San Antonio figures, the background on Hammon was not nearly as complimentary pertaining to various aspects of day-to-day coaching responsibilities. That sentiment has been echoed by sources around the league. Blazers personnel then cast doubt that Hammon was the candidate to steer the ship through such delicate waters with Lillard.

It sure sounds like the Spurs, the team that has employed Hammon for the last seven seasons, ruined her chances. It makes you wonder why the Spurs continue to employ Hammon she struggles with day-to-day coaching responsibilities. It's probably best not to speculate what this means is actually going on inside the Spurs organization if she's good enough to take Gregg Popovich's spot on the bench when he gets ejected, but not work for another organization. Instead we'll just look at what Pau Gasol had to say about Hammon.

There is really no downside to hiring Hammon. She will be an incredible PR story for any organization. And if she fails, so what? Male coaches fail constantly. There weren't seven vacancies this summer because these guys were so successful that the franchises couldn't take it any longer and needed to taste sweet mediocrity again.

If Hammon isn't hired by the Washington Wizards, New Orleans Pelicans or Orlando Magic for one of the remaining jobs you have to wonder when she'll get a chance. You would have thought she was in the Spurs long-term plans, but with what the Blazers said, you now have to wonder.

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