PHOENIX SUNS

Spurs’ Popovich going to Duncan’s HOF induction, not coaching vs. Suns

May 15, 2021, 10:06 AM | Updated: 1:55 pm

Head coach Gregg Popovich talks to assistant coach Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs during the s...

Head coach Gregg Popovich talks to assistant coach Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs during the second half at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on March 08, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Spurs 132-129. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will not be coaching the team Saturday against the Phoenix Suns. Instead, the long-time head coach will be going to the Hall of Fame induction for former Spurs big man Tim Duncan.

The Spurs have clinched 10th place in the standings and a position in the play-in tournament, meaning they have nothing to gain or lose from Saturday or Sunday’s games against Phoenix. In Popovich’s place as acting head coach will be assistant Mitch Johnson. Popovich is expected to return for the second meeting between the two teams on Sunday.

Suns head coach Monty Williams, who spent time with the Spurs and is close with Duncan, said he wished the timing could have worked out better for him to go as well. The ceremony begins at 2:30 p.m. and the Suns’ game starts at 11 a.m.

“He and Tim are such a wonderful partnership and combination … I’m thankful and happy that he’s going,” Williams said. “I toyed with it myself. I was working it out in my mind how to rent a jet, which I’ve never done before, so I can get up there and hug Tim and come right back because I’m happy for him, I’m happy for Pop.”

Williams played with Duncan for the 1997-98 season before being back with the Spurs as a coaching intern for one year in 2005 and another as vice president of basketball operations in 2016.

“He’s meant so much to me, one of my best friends and I’ve been able to live vicariously through him for some of the highs of his career,” Williams said. “I’ve been able to watch him and I’m just as happy when he achieves something or has something cool going on.”

Phoenix Suns

Timberwolves Nuggets Basketball...

Associated Press

Timberwolves advance after defeating defending NBA champion Nuggets in Game 7

The Timberwolves overcame a 15-point halftime deficit — the largest comeback in a Game 7 in NBA playoff history — in Sunday's win.

2 days ago

T.J. McConnell...

Associated Press

Pacers punch ticket to Eastern Conference finals with Game 7 win over injured Knicks

The Pacers rode one of the most sensational first halves in Game 7 history to a win over the Knicks, advancing to the Eastern Conference finals.

2 days ago

Head coach Frank Vogel of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the second half of game three of the Weste...

David Veenstra

Suns GM James Jones on why Frank Vogel was fired: ‘We needed to improve in a lot of areas’

James Jones explained why the Suns fired Frank Vogel and why they waited so long to hire new head coach Mike Budenholzer.

4 days ago

Bradley Beal #3, Kevin Durant #35 and Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns watch from the bench duri...

Nick Borgia

James Jones on Suns’ Big 3: ‘Those guys aren’t going anywhere’

The Suns GM told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Friday that there are no plans of trading Devin Booker, Kevin Durant or Bradley Beal.

4 days ago

Mike Budenholzer and James Jones pose for a picture...

Dan Bickley

Suns’ Mike Budenholzer has a chance to reach new heights in Phoenix

Mike Budenholzer has already notched his first victory as Suns head coach. He dominated a must-win introductory press conference Friday.

4 days ago

Phoenix Suns head coach Mike Budenholzer is introducted on Friday, May 17, 2024....

Kevin Zimmerman

Why Suns coach Mike Budenholzer might do what Frank Vogel couldn’t

Phoenix Suns head coach Mike Budenholzer played to a frustrated fan base. He gave reason to believe why he can do what Frank Vogel didn't.

4 days ago

Spurs’ Popovich going to Duncan’s HOF induction, not coaching vs. Suns