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R.C. Buford denies Spurs have spoken with Ettore Messina about coaching next season

Jun 11, 2014, 1:12 PM EDT

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Do the San Antonio Spurs plan to hire Ettore Messina?

Multiple report say the CSKA Moscow coach is headed to San Antonio next season.

Spurs general manager R.C. Buford indicates otherwise.

Buford, via Mike Monroe of Spurs Nation:

“Is someone leaving our staff that I don’t know about?” Buford said when asked about the Messina report. “We have not had one conversation with anyone about a coaching position for next season.”

Well, about that.

Shooting coach Chip Engelland – who drew rave reviews last night for his work with Kawhi Leonard, the leading scorer of Game 3 – might be leaving after the Finals. Marc Stein of ESPN:

Steve Kerr succeeded Engelland as the top perimeter gun at Pacific Palisades High School in Southern California and, according to NBA coaching sources, wants to bring him to the Bay Area to sit on the Warriors’ bench.

new Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder also said to be in the hunt

At the risk of sounding reading to much into Buford’s statement, he never denies a plan to hire Messina.

Is a San Antonio assistant leaving? Did Buford say one wasn’t? Or is he just asking questions? Do you understand how he might be dodging something?

It’s also possible Buford has spoken not with Messina, but his agent. Or perhaps the talks were vaguer than “next season” and based on when there’s an opening with a wink at the end.

Buford’s quote could be a creative way of misleading without outright lying – a line many in his position are comfortable walking with the media. Whether he’s doing that here or not, I have no idea.

I just wouldn’t write off Messina to the Spurs based on that quote alone.

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