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Report: Spurs to hire European legend Ettore Messina as assistant coach

Jun 10, 2014, 8:05 PM EDT

CSKA Moscow's head coach Messina reacts during their Euroleague Basketball Final Four third place game against Barcelona at the O2 Arena in London CSKA Moscow's head coach Messina reacts during their Euroleague Basketball Final Four third place game against Barcelona at the O2 Arena in London

As the San Antonio Spurs are two games deep in the NBA Finals, you can be sure that Gregg Popovich has not spent a lot of time thinking about who is going to be on his staff next season, but there is a very interesting report coming out of Europe.

The Spurs are going to hire European legend Ettore Messina as assistant coach for next season, first reported by Daniele Labanti of Corriere di Bologna and later confirmed by Sportando. Reliable sources, which is what makes this interesting.

Messina is currently the coach of CSKA Moscow and is considered one of the top, most innovative coaches in Europe. He spent one season stateside as an assistant coach for Mike Brown with the Lakers, but at times reportedly found it challenging to the NBA’s style of play (and players), plus the volume of games.

Messina is an offensive innovator, something likely lost on Mike Brown but likely to be used wisely by Gregg Popovich. Manu Ginobili told PBT during the Finals that the European influence of players — more willing to share the ball and play within the system — has been part of the success of the San Antonio offense in recent years.

Messina is a legendary coach in Italy having been in the big chair for Real Madrid, Benetton Treviso, Virtus Bologna and Italy’s national team.

  1. eugenesaxe1 - Jun 10, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    Prepping for Pop’s eventual retirement?

    • 00maltliquor - Jun 11, 2014 at 1:21 AM

      Don’t say such things

    • fm31970 - Jun 11, 2014 at 1:23 AM

      I was thinking the same thing. Budenholzer is now gone (not totally sure he was a candidate to replace Pop, though), so I can see the Spurs grooming(!?) Ettore to take over in a few years. It makes more sense for the Spurs than any other team.

    • thundercocck - Jun 11, 2014 at 2:35 AM

      Exactly what I was thinking too. When Timmy retires Pop said he will be 10 steps right behind him.

  2. saint1997 - Jun 11, 2014 at 3:50 AM

    Pop mentoring for when he leaves?

  3. ocgunslinger - Jun 11, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    What…a highly respected management team planning for their future? Wish another team (Lakers) would plan ahead rather than shoot from the hip decisions like Mike Brown and Mike D’ Antoni.

  4. granadafan - Jun 11, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    Today’s NBA is about managing the ginormous ego of NBA players, more so than actual coaching of Xs and Os.

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