Ettore Messina will not join Gregg Popovich’s coaching staff

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With Spurs Assistant Coaches Mike Budenholzer and Don Newman recently considered for coaching roles elsewhere in the NBA, San Antonio’s staff was a bit up in the air. So basically, it’s been the same old offseason story in South Texas.

As of right now, it doesn’t look like either coach’s departure is imminent, which is good, because it appears one possible replacement just got snatched up. Former Real Madrid Head Coach Ettore Messina is set to join Mike Brown’s new staff with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher. Messina will join Brown’s staff in a behind-the-bench, “consultant” role. Think Jacque Vaughn, not Coach Bud.

Messina was rumored to be a possible addition to Gregg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio. Messina spent a few days with the Spurs back in March after leaving Madrid. He had said that he was interested in coaching in the NBA and didn’t mind doing so as an assistant for a couple of years. It’s assumed he’ll be handling a lot of offensive responsibilities for the Lakers, which makes sense since he previously helped Brown out on that side of the ball a bit when Brown was coaching the Cavaliers.

In a way, it’s a shame that Messina didn’t join the Spurs, just because it’s one of those outside the box, under the radar moves you’d expect the Spurs to make. The last major move a coach made coming from Europe to the NBA was Mike D’Antoni joining the Suns in 2002 as an assistant. D’Antoni was previously the head coach at Benetton Treviso in Italy.

With Messina joining the NBA, the move further globalizes the game. In the event Messina spends a couple years as an assistant coach, learning the NBA and how things work behind the scenes, and then goes on to become a successful head coach somewhere, it opens up the European leagues further for NBA teams to pillage for more than just a draft-and-stash project or Gary Neal success story. And with the Spurs arguably the most global team in the league, I’m a little disappointed it wasn’t them who nabbed Messina.

Obviously, the Spurs have more glaring imperfections to fix, so Messina may not have been a high-priority target. It’s tough to say how much of an impact an assistant coach will actually have on a team, especially a veteran one like the Spurs. And if the fit wasn’t right, then it wasn’t right. No need to force something in the name of nonconformity. As long as Messina doesn’t resurrect the hopefully-on-the-downslide Lakers, that is.

Regarding Budenholzer, the Golden State Warriors hired ESPN/ABC analyst Mark Jackson to be the team’s new head coach. So it appears that Coach Bud will be back for another season with Gregg Popovich, unless something his name comes up in another coaching vacancy this summer.

  • idahospur

    Messina waiting for Kobe to tell management to fire Mike Brown to be a head coach? Or else he has to wait for Pop and Duncan to retire?

  • Rob

    Do assistant coaches make enough impact on a team other than to teach the players what the head coach is wanting them to do?  I guess they would if a head coach would implement some of their (assistants) ideas into a system.  Would be interesting to know if Pop has/does incorporate any of his assistants ideas.  I guess one evident sign Pop incorporated somebody else’s idea was the open offense they ran last year.  I’m sure that wasn’t all Pop’s design.

  • Rob

    Do assistant coaches make enough impact on a team other than to teach the players what the head coach is wanting them to do?  I guess they would if a head coach would implement some of their (assistants) ideas into a system.  Would be interesting to know if Pop has/does incorporate any of his assistants ideas.  I guess one evident sign Pop incorporated somebody else’s idea was the open offense they ran last year.  I’m sure that wasn’t all Pop’s design.

  • grego

    There was definitely a drop off when PJ left Pop a few years ago. I remember PJ liked to throw the zone D in at times which surprised the opponents. Whether he has all the right coaches might be another story though. 

  • DorieStreet

    The drop off is in the scouting. RE McNeill’s statement in his article: “And with the Spurs arguably the most global team in the league..”
    Once you get past #9 & No. 20, what has the continuous forays into the  foreign players market  netted this team over the last decade or so?

  • MSteele_in_Éire

    Nothing to do with the article and this is directed at the Spurs fans who wanted Dallas to win, do you still want Dallas to win?? It is so irritating watching Terry, Marion & Co. winning and playing arrogantly. Wade is ridiculously good and I hope they win it for Wade

  • Rob

    For those that don’t have the opportunity to see local SA newscasts.  Here’s a link to an interview recently given by Pop to Don Harris.

    http://www.woai.com/content/sports/spurs/story/The-Exclusive-One-On-One-Gregg-Popovich/Oab8nuC7UEKc1gThWywtJQ.cspx?rss=68

    He explains the Memphis series, the big three, and in Pop’s own humor, talks about coaching over seas.

  • Bob

    It’s frustrating listening to Pop in that interview. He claims the reason they lost to Memphis is guys didn’t play hard enough. They were playing hard but not effective. The real reason they lost is the defense was horrible. Better size and more active feet tends to improve defense. They should have been able to play better defense against a Memphis team without their top scorer. They needed to be able to single cover Gasol and Duncan and stick to the perimeter players. Hopefully an overseas team is interested in Pop because right now I think Carlisle is a better coach.

    He puts way too much emphasis on the regular season. The Spurs beat the Mavs in Dallas but the Lakers also blew out the Mavs but ended up getting swept in the playoffs. In the playoffs teams are going to try to attack your weaknesses. In the regular season not every team has the ability to punish you inside like the Grizzlies.

  • DorieStreet

    Honestly, MSteele_in_Eire—–you have not witnessed players on other teams in earlier playoff series (or previous postseasons) do some of the same things?
    “..winning & playing arrogantly.” You don’t remember the Cavaliers’ sideline antics before, during and after playoff games with Lebron James leading the way? Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett; how about one-trick pony Eddie House when he was with the Celtics in the ’09 playoffs?
    And there are waaaay more observers of this series- and this season, for that matter- that would tell you the Heat are “basketball arrongance.”
    AND–what of it if there are Spurs fans who for whatever reason (Texas NBA  team, western conference preference over the eastern conference, want a league superstar to get a title (Dirk instead of Wade-whom you stated you prefer)—-so be it. It is their choice. It does not make them lesser Spurs fans than those who don’t.
    Remember, the Grizzlies eliminated our team when the playoffs began. The Spurs fans who are still watching to this point follow basketball in general and the NBA in particular. They probably have put away their intense emotional involvement as well, and are watching for the competition and to see which team comes out the champion for the 2010-11 season.
    Since the Mavs team and fans upset you that much, do yourself a favor and record the next two games. If the Heat win the next game/both games, you can go back and watch tthem. If Miami loses Sunday night or Tuesday night, you spare yourself from watching the Mavs team & fans celebrating.

     l

  • DorieStreet

    Condolences to the Family of Mike Mitchell, former Spurs forward, who passed away yesterday to cancer.

  • MSteele_in_Éire

    I know what you mean Dorie. Undoubtedly Miami are an arrogant team (about 95% of the league seems to be, that’s why I like the Spurs and what they stand for). And I understand why fans would not want Miami to win but it’s probably just that we have had so many battles with the Mavs, my dislike for them is greater than Miami & Lebron because they were never a threat to us. I don’t want to listen to Terry when they win and I certainly don’t want to hear what Cuban has to say.
    One thing I have to say about the series is that it’s been great. It’s been awesome to watch Wade and Dirk laying it all on the line. J Kidd has been the difference IMO, when he’s not in the game Dallas don’t seem to run offense. As much as I hate to say it Terry has been brilliant in their wins. I don’t know what is up with Lebron, he almost looks scared at times. He’s so passive with the ball in his hands, moving the ball from one side to the other but never attacking. I’d love to see a game 7, regardless of who wins it but obviously you know who I want to win haha

  • Tyler

    It’s funny because in years past the philosophy has been the  total opposite – “who cares about the regular season, playoffs are what matters” was always the mentality.

    I remember Manu stating at the beginning of the season that they wanted to put more emphasis on the regular season so they didn’t have to fight an uphill battle as a bottom 4 seed in the West. They accomplished that and it still didn’t matter. And ironically, that strategy probably ended our year with his injury against Phoenix.

    At the end of the day, whether it was to Memphis or whoever, we weren’t going to win the West. In the big scheme of things, it makes no difference whether the loss comes in the 1st round or the 2nd; the fact is we didn’t have it this year.

    Retool, refocus, hopefully make a few strategic moves, and hope next year turns out better. But after next year (assuming we don’t win the title), I think we might be in for some major changes.

  • Lvmainman

    I’m officially on record with the belief that the Spurs made a mistake letting Ian Mahinmi go. I like his game more than Matt Bonner any day of the week.

    4 pts 3 rebs, 5 fouls and now an NBA champion! Ian Mahinmi.

  • Lvmainman

    Lebron James a +/- of   -24   in a game 6 of the NBA finals???

  • SAJKinBigD

    This = +100! :)
    So glad LeFraud got whooped! I know a lot of Spurs fans were rooting against the Mavs, but I REALLY like Dirk (especially how he changed his attitude and really WENT AT the Heat) and Cuban managed to keep his mouth shut the whole Playoffs. I can tolerate a Title up here in BigD, especially since we’ve still got THREE more than them! MWAHAHAHA!!!

  • Tyler

    A good 6 minutes of playing time won’t change what we did and didn’t see from Ian is 3+ years. He’s your 10-12 guy at the end of the bench.

  • DorieStreet

    Mavs finished off the Heat in 6 games–and the final game didn’t go down to the last minute or shot.
    Get ready for their fans to boast and brag.  They will even predict a ‘repeat’ —back-to-back titles.

  • DorieStreet

    So Mahinmi’s 11 minutes of contribution in last night’s championship clincher is going to turn his career around.
    I will believe it when I see what he does next season.

  • DorieStreet

    Yeah, but they will say our last one was half a decade ago. And just to stoke our ire, the Mavs fans will add that the conference front runners the next season will be them and the 3rd team located off IH 35 – the Thunder.
    Let the off-season boasting begin!

  • Colin Rigney

    Yeah, because Mahinmi played such an integral role for them (sic).  If Haywood wasn’t injured, Mahinmi would have logged about 2-3 minutes in the finals….maybe.  The Spurs aren’t missing much from Mahinmi that Splitter can’t or hasn’t already provide(d). 

  • Titletown99030507d

    Dirk and the mavs wont get 3 more in the next decade that is certain. And dirk wont get 2 more MVP’s. That’s the only consoling thought. They are old as hell. At leas the ones that matter.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Add he still wont admit to being too short primarily the reason for getting punked in the first round.  Get real Pop. It’s time to ship out. Go drink some wine in Italy I could care less. And take a few flakes with you that didn’t show up for the real games.

  • Titletown99030507d

    No but I would rather have him than Bonner. Yikes!

  • Titletown99030507d

    Doesnt matter if it does or not, the point is its vindication for him. He’s got the last laugh on Pop. Just keep getting rid of your players Pop before you can even pronounce their names. Wineo.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Wanna add… at least wait till they gain some weight like Ian did before you ship them out.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Not me can’t stand anything that has to do with Dallas. Including Cuban and Jerry. Were the 7th largest city in the nation and still growing  and with the economy on the upside over many other major cities and we can’t get our own NFL franchise. I’m tired of Jerry lobbying against SA any opportunity we have to be considered for one. We’re not stupid we know whats going on. You can keep your cowgirls and take Taylor with you Jerry maybe you can give him a job where he belongs. 

  • Titletown99030507d

    Relax they’re not winning anything next season. Kidd and Dirk looks like they just rose from the crypt. And Terry had one of those Stephen Jackson series. Next.

  • SAJKinBigD

    I disagree on Dirk. I think he’s finally figured out how to be THE MAN on that team – it was his will and heart that kept them in those games in the 4Q.
    Kidd? About done, but if they can get his minutes down more, he’ll be a key cog in their offense.
    The key to them having a chance to repeat will be whether Chandler resigns or not. I am about 99% sure Butler will resign w/them, and he’ll be a big factor as well.
    It’ll be interesting to see what they do about Beaubois (sp?) and JJ Barea. They’re essentially the same, but Barea’s a lot tougher while their lil Frenchman is faster and unpredictable (both a positive and a negative, imo).
    I also think it fairly likely they’ll resign Stevenson (the shirt was NOT classy, sir) to continue their defensive realignment.

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  • Tyler

    So it doesn’t matter what Ian does for the rest of his career, just because he played well for a handful of minutes in one game, that’s how he gets the “last laugh on Pop”? 

    If that’s the highlight of Ian’s career, I’d be mad we wasted so much time and money developing him. How would that not validate the decision to let Ian go? 

  • DorieStreet

    What we need to be concerned about is how many the Spurs will get in the next decade. Our ‘Core 3′ have averaged 15 years in professional basketball. Hill, Blair and Neal bring our average roster age down a bit, but the other 3 that were part of our 9 man rotation -McDyess, Bonner, Jeffeson- equal Terry, Butler and Stejackovic in NBA time played.
    With a few (if any) tweaks (Beaubois plays more) they ride with the same squad to attempt a repeat.
    What status are the Spurs at–figure we can duplicate what they did–ascend to the top after 3 seasons of playoff early exits.
    What the western conference–and succeed.
    The Mavs got their first title; don’t spend the summer being bitter about it.

  • DorieStreet

    Typo—-
    See the Vegas odds for next season/ they have the Spurs tied for 11th with MEM and ATL . Have us behind 5 other western conference teams– LAL, DAL, OKC, POR, HOU. Means nothing for now……

  • DorieStreet

    Look at the big picture, guys—seeding is relatively secondary to how you are playing (roster talent & ability, injuries) vs your round-by-round opponents: 09 playoffs:  2nd in west–lost to #7 Mavs 1-4 in 1st round. 10 playoffs: 7th in west–beat #2 Mavs 4-2, lose to 3 Suns 0-4. This postseason:  #1 in west–loss to 8th Grizzlies 2-4 in 1st.

    But Mavs have did the same thing for the 4 postseasons following their 2006 title loss—3 1st round losses frin ’07-’10.
    Improve at SF (play the youngsters—Butler, Green Anderson) and PF/C (play Splitter, bring in Richards) and give it one last shot with the Core 3.

  • DorieStreet

    Title—once Houston got a second chance with the Texans, the city’s slim chances to get and NFL franchise was shot. Yeah, Jacksonville to Tampa = to SA and Houston, and Tampa to Miami = DAL to SA/HOU and Texas population around their metropolises is greater than Florida’s. But the the league is not trying to add more franchises to the present 32. (If Los Angeles gets a franchise, it is another city’s loss—Jacksonville.)

  • DorieStreet

    Did I say they were going to repeat? Be realistic, Dude. I agree Kidd is done–he didn’t do anything the first 3 quarters in game 6. But Dirk has 3 more years of 20/10. And we only had Jackson for 1 one year. They get another 30+ guy back in Butler –but if we don’t play our young players  (Splitter, Anderson, Green, Da’Sean Butler) to go against them–can we get by them–or OKC. MEM, LAL.
    Hate on Mavs all you want—it is what will OUR TEAM be ready to do next season against them==and the rest of the west.

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