LOS ANGELES (AFP) – San Antonio great Tim Duncan is returning to the Spurs as an assistant under longtime head coach Gregg Popovich, the NBA team said Monday.
“It is only fitting, that after I served loyally for 19 years as Tim Duncan’s assistant, that he returns the favor,” Popovich said in a statement released by the team.
Duncan, who won five NBA titles with the Spurs, has been a familiar figure at the Spurs practice facility since he retired in 2016, helping out informally.
He is the Spurs’ all-time leader in points, rebounds and blocked shots, but in their low-key announcement on Monday, the Spurs gave him shared billing with another new assistant coach, Will Hardy.
Hardy, who joined the Spurs as a basketball operations intern in 2010 after graduating from Williams College, “is a talented, young basketball mind who has earned a great deal of respect from everyone in the organization thanks to his knowledge, spirit and personality,” Popovich said.
Lakers gain rights to Kostas Antetokounmpo
Meantime, the Los Angeles Lakers confirmed Monday they have gained the rights to Kostas Antetokounmpo, younger brother of Milwaukee’s NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis.
Kostas Antetokounmpo, 21, was signed to a two-way contract by the Lakers. He appeared in two games for the Dallas Mavericks last season and played 40 games for the Texas Legends in the NBA’s developmental G League.
Selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 60th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Antetokounmpo was acquired by the Mavericks in a draft-night trade.
Kostas is one of three Antetokounmpo brothers to play in the NBA. The eldest, 27-year-old Thanasis, has played in Greece, the G League and signed with the Bucks this off season.
That puts him on the team where Giannis has emerged as a superstar, leading Milwaukee to the best record in the NBA last season.
The Bucks fell to the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference finals.
When Giannis collected his MVP award, he thanked his brothers and his parents – Nigerian immigrants to Greece – in his speech.
Giannis, Thanasis and Kostas have all been named in Greece’s squad for the basketball World Cup that tips off in China on August 31.