It turns out The Big Fundamental may not have been the Spurs' first choice.
According to a report from the New York Times' Marc Stein, the Spurs franchise initially offered the job to another legend: Manu Ginobili. In a Tuesday newsletter, Stein writes:
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.”There's no denying that Ginobili is plenty qualified to be an assistant coach. In his 16 seasons with the Spurs, he won four rings, two All-Star nods and the completely-deserving Sixth Man of the Year award. At the same time, he's only been retired for one season, so it's understandable that he wants a longer break from the NBA's hectic schedules.
The revelation came after Ginobili joked about the Monday announcement, which also named Will Hardy as an assistant coach.
Duncan, who retired three years ago, has been known to stop by the team's practice facility to work out with former teammates and new players alike, so it isn't all too surprising that he "volunteered" to take an official role as part of head coach Gregg Popovich's bench.
Awesome news! So happy for him!— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) July 23, 2019
Always knew Will Hardy was gonna make it to the front of the bench! 😜 https://t.co/PWI6adr4Ck
The time may come when Ginobili also feels ready to take on a role as assistant coach. For now, fans appear plenty happy that Duncan's joining the staff.
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