The Brooklyn Nets have yet to hire a new head coach after Kenny Atkinson resigned just before the season was postponed back in March. One could attribute this to the fact that the Nets' season isn't technically over yet and they want to let interim HC Jacques Vaughn finish the race. Or that it's still difficult to get in-person interviews set up with the threat of coronavirus still looming. Or that Brooklyn wants to take their time here, because if they mess up this head coach hire, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant will be a very unhappy pair of superstars.
Or you could go full galaxy brain and believe they're taking it slow because they're prepping a huge offer for another head coach. That particular rumor hit the news cycle yesterday, when former NBA player Gerald Brown said on his Let's Get Technical podcast that Brooklyn wanted to make an offer to the San Antonio Spurs for Gregg Popovich that no one could refuse. GM Sean Marks adamantly denied this rumor.
Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe discussed the matter on Monday's episode of Undisputed. Bayless doesn't think the marriage would work because Popovich is not afraid to criticize anybody and the Durant-Irving combo has the thinnest skin of any superstar pairing in the league.
I will start by saying this rumor is legitimately insane. I have no idea how the Nets would be able to convince the Spurs to trade one of the greatest head coaches in NBA history who has been at the helm in San Antonio for over two decades. No amount of draft picks or talent could convince a team to turn their back on such an important figure in the franchise and city's history. Even if they did, what incentive does Popovich have to agree? The man is 71-years-old. He probably doesn't have many coaching years left in the tank. Going to Brooklyn gives him the best shot at another NBA title, but Popovich does not care all that much about accolades.
Everything we've learned about the man over the years suggests he cares more about living life to the fullest than basketball, and uprooting from his longtime home of San Antonio to head to New York in the midst of a global pandemic to maybe win one or two more championships does not sound like Gregg Popovich at all. The Spurs could certainly agree to the trade, and Popovich would probably retire.
Now, if everything I just said turned out to be false and this reality did come to be, I disagree with Bayless. Irving and Durant do come across as sensitive personalities for basketball players, but it's different when the critiques are coming from Popovich instead of Twitter User NBALover22887 or a member of the media. It's not like Atkinson left because Irving and Durant didn't like his criticism-- neither played enough for that to have a legitimate role. He left because his superstars didn't believe in his system and style of play. If they don't believe in Popovich, they wouldn't believe in anybody.
So it won't happen, but if it did, everything would be fine. Irving and Durant might be more thin-skinned than their coworkers, but they certainly do know a lot about basketball. Even they would recognize that doing what Popovich tells you to is a good idea.