Tuesday roundup: Popovich calls Duncan ‘irreplaceable’
Gregg Popovich bade an emotional farewell to Tim Duncan’s playing career Tuesday, the longtime San Antonio coach saying the now-retired Spurs star was the best teammate anyone could have known.
Sounding as if he were choking up at times and wearing a T-shirt with Duncan’s face printed on the front, Popovich spoke at the Spurs’ practice facility in San Antonio. Duncan announced his retirement after 19 seasons on Monday in a statement released through the Spurs.
“Irreplaceable,” Popovich said of the five-time NBA champion.
Duncan and Popovich won more games together than any player-coach combination in NBA history. Popovich said he hopes Duncan will remain involved with the Spurs in some capacity, even if only part time.
Popovich spoke while standing in a corner of the practice facility, the spot where he holds court with reporters after workouts during the season. There was no news conference, no elaborate setup, not even any live coverage permitted. Even for something that will have so much impact on the team, the league and the sport, the Spurs kept things as simple as possible.
Duncan is leaving. Other than that, nothing’s changing.
“It’s not Tim Duncan to bring any attention to himself,” Popovich said. “We’ve been saying it for 19 years and he really only cared about doing the best job he could basketballwise and being who he was for his teammates and being somebody who loved his family. That’s really who he is. So this is the furthest thing from his mind.”
Popovich spoke at length about how if he could pick one person to share a dinner with, it would be Duncan.
“To spend time with Timmy is really sublime in many ways,” Popovich said. “People don’t know about his cleverness. … But his teammates have and that’s why his teammates love him, because he’s been the best teammate anyone can ever imagine.”
There were moments of humor, too.
“I remember a pretty neat summer league game when he first came in and (Greg) Ostertag blocked his shot,” Popovich said when asked if there was a moment in Duncan’s career that he enjoyed most. “That was pretty cool.”
Davis signs with Grizzlies
The Grizzlies signed guard Andrew Harrison and center Deyonta Davis to multiyear contracts. Terms weren’t disclosed.
The Grizzlies acquired 19-year-old Davis on the night of the draft after the Celtics selected him in the second round with the 31st selection. Davis, who is 6-foot-11, averaged 7.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 18.6 minutes in his lone season at Michigan State.
Harrison, 21, averaged 18.5 points, 4.9 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 46 games this past season for the Iowa Energy, the Grizzlies’ NBA Development League affiliate.
The Grizzlies acquired Harrison the night of the 2015 draft after the Phoenix Suns selected the 6-6 guard from Kentucky in the second round with the 44th pick.
The Clippers signed free agent Marreese Speights, who played on Golden State’s championship team a year ago. The 28-year-old center-forward averaged 7.1 points and 3.3 rebounds for the Warriors last season.