A new report indicates that Tim Duncan wasn't the first of the San Antonio Spurs' Big Three to be offered a role with the team's coaching staff.
According to Marc Stein with the New York Times, Manu Ginobili was offered a role as an assistant coach with the team. According to Stein, Ginobili was hesitant to return so soon into his retirement. That's when Duncan stepped in.
"The assistant coaching concept, I’m told, was also broached with Ginobili, who has only been retired for one season and was apparently not quite ready to dive back in. But then Duncan volunteered — and happily took second billing to Will Hardy in the Spurs’ official news release bearing this predictably saucy headline: 'Spurs Announce Assistant Coach Updates.'
The idea of Duncan joining the coaching staff was his, Stein says. "He knew Popovich was struggling to fill the last open spot on his bench staff and made himself available because he sensed that Popovich needed him."
Popovich offered a statement following Duncan's hiring, calling the move "only fitting, after I served loyally for 19 years as Tim Duncan's assistant, that he returns the favor."
Duncan's hiring was announced Monday alongside fellow assistant coach Will Hardy. They join Becky Hammon on a mostly re-tooled coaching staff following the departure of longtime assistants Ime Udoka and Ettore Messina.
Hammon likely could be the top assistant under Popovich. If that happens, and Pop ever got kicked out of a game, Hammon would be the first woman to coach an NBA game. The Spurs haven't announced yet who will be the top assistant under Popovich for the 2019-20 season.
Ginobili weighed in on Twitter following Monday's announcement: