Tim Duncan’s stint as a San Antonio Spurs coach is shaping up to be very short-lived. The future Hall of Famer joined Greg Popovich’s bench last season after having a Hall of Fame career as a player.
It seemed last season was going to be the permanent next step for Duncan’s possibly successful career as a future head coach. However, the former power forward doesn’t seem to be sold on a coaching career — not now at least.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, Duncan is “stepping away from full-time coaching,” ahead of the 2020-2021 NBA season. Last year, Duncan was one of several notable assistants under the legendary Popovich.
Now, Duncan will go back to retirement, as he did in 2016 following his 19-year career as a player. While the news of Duncan’s departure shocks the NBA world — it apparently didn’t catch the Spurs by surprise.
Per Stein’s report, the internal belief within the Spurs’ organization was that Duncan was in a trial year. All along, the franchise expected Duncan to serve as an assistant for a single season.
While Duncan will avoid a full-time position as an assistant with the Spurs, he won’t suddenly become a stranger to the organization. According to the NYT, he’s expected to “make frequent appearances” at San Antonio’s practice facility this upcoming season in a player development type of role.
Is Duncan’s coaching career officially over? It’s too early to tell. While the future Hall of Famer could change his mind sometime in the distant future, we only know he plans to take a step back from the game this season. Perhaps, when the league returns to normal in 2021-2022, Duncan will reconsider his stance.