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Gregg Popovich refuses to discuss return after Spurs eliminated

San Antonio Spurs v New Orleans Pelicans - Play-In Tournament

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 13: Head Coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2022 play-in tournament on April 13, 2022 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

“That question is inappropriate.”

That was Gregg Popovich’s response when asked if he planned to return as the Spurs head coach next season following his team’s elimination from the playoffs. The topic was off the table.

Popovich may not want it discussed, but it is a topic of a lot of speculation around the NBA. At age 73 — and now the winningest coach in NBA history, plus having coached Team USA to a gold medal — does Popovich want to return and put himself through the grind again? The NBA’s chattering class has been speculating on who is next in the Spurs’ big chair, but only Popovich gets to decide when Popovich will retire — and he may not know the answer right now. The only thing that is certain in all of this is the Spurs are not going to force Popovich out. He can coach the franchise as long as he wants.

Popovich has seemed energized this season, getting to really coach again and focus on player development with the youngest team he has ever had. People close to the Spurs read those tea leaves to say he probably comes back — Popovich was in his element again.

Ultimately, however, only Popovich knows if he will return next season — and even he may not know. He may choose to sit down in a few days with a good bottle of pinot noir and think about what he really wants to do and where he wants to put his energies. It’s his call.

Bit he was not discussing it after the Spurs’ loss to the Pelicans.