Sportress of Blogitude

Gregg Popovich on midnight pursuit of free agents: ‘I’ll be in bed’

The NBA free agency period begins as Tuesday rolls into Wednesday at midnight ET, which will initiate a frantic pursuit of highly coveted players by teams the instant it is allowed according to the league’s rules and regulations. While many coaches, general managers and the like will need only to hit “call” on their phones to reach out to a desired player or their agent, don’t count curmudgeonly head coach Gregg Popovich to be among those burning the midnight oil to be the first to make contact, even to LaMarcus Aldridge, the player the San Antonio Spurs reportedly are pursuing.

In fact, Pop insists that if a player’s ego is so fragile that he needs to feel wanted and the only way to accomplish that if for a team to desperately fall all over themselves by receiving a call at midnight to make him feel good about things, well, he has no time for them.

“I’m not calling anyone at midnight,” he said, per a report from the San Antonio Express-News’ Buck Harvey. “I’ll be in bed. And if that’s the difference in someone coming or not coming, then I don’t want them.”

With the Spurs among several teams in the hunt for the highly coveted LeMarcus Aldridge, Popovich’s hard-line stance against playing the free agency game with the late-night wooing and whatnot — although Pop will be among the Spurs’ representatives when the team meets with Aldridge on Wednesday, along with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker — perhaps the often-surly head coach’s churlish approach to free agency will rub Aldridge the wrong way.

Then again, the proof is in the pudding, as they say, and Popovich has a deserved reputation of getting the most possible of his players as he leads the Spurs to contender status year after year, even when the experts and pundits declare the demise of the Spurs organization time after time.

Maybe Duncan and Parker can put in a good word for Pop on the sly to Aldridge, telling him, “That’s just Pop being Pop,” something that in NBA circles, including the current crop of free agents, should mean quite a bit.

(image via Los Angeles Times)