San Antonio Spurs news: Tim Duncan steps down as assistant coach

Dec 14, 2019; Mexico City, MEX; San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Tim Duncan looks on before the game against the Phoenix Suns at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

All-time great big man Tim Duncan is once against going to step back into retirement. There’s some San Antonio Spurs news breaking on Wednesday. It reportedly includes the Hall of Famer moving on from his role as Gregg Popovich’s assistant.

Marc Stein of The NY Times goes on to note that this was always going to be the plan. The belief in San Antonio was that Duncan would coach for one season before stepping into his initial post-retirement role as a part-time coach.

This San Antonio Spurs news is surprising for a number of reasons. First off, there was speculation that the Spurs might look to replace Gregg Popovich with Duncan once the former decides to retire. At 71 years old, Popovich is no spring chicken.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Spurs, check out #GoSpursGo rumors, rankings, and news here.

Needless to say, Duncan is widely respected around the Spurs’ organization and within the broader confines of the NBA world. Apparently, he just viewed this assistant coaching role as a short-term opportunity.

Duncan, 44, starred for San Antonio from 1997-2016. He earned 15 All-Star appearances and brought San Antonio five NBA titles. News of Duncan’s departure will raise more questions succession plans for Popovich in San Antonio.

San Antonio Spurs news: Becky Hammon now slated to replace Popovich?

San Antonio Spurs news: Tim Duncan, Becky Hammon
Nov 16, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs assistant coaches Will Hardy, Becky Hammon, and Tim Duncan look on in the second half of the game against the Portland Trail Blazers after head coach Gregg Popovich was ejected at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

News around the Spurs have suggested that Hammon could very well end up being the heir-apparent to Popovich when the veteran coach decides to call it quits.

Already a trendsetter within the sports world, Hammon has received head-coaching interest from multiple NBA teams in the past. While she has yet to be hired, a path could have just been cleared in San Antonio.

Hammon, 43, has been a Spurs assistant since back in 2014. The former WNBA great actually served as a head coach for a game this past season and is seen as someone who has Popovich’s ear.

Expect this chatter to pick up in the coming months now that head-coaching vacancies around the NBA are filled. For now, Duncan’s decision to move on from the Spurs is pretty big news in San Antonio.