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Gregg Popovich jokingly says Tim Duncan ‘tough to manage’ in retirement

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Gregg Popovich continues to give the newly retired Tim Duncan grief over his still-to-be determined role with the San Antonio Spurs. And this time around, the usually curmudgeonly coach jokingly suggested Duncan is even more difficult now that his playing career is done.

Days after suggesting Duncan’s job title with the Spurs might as well be “Coach of Whatever He Wants to Be,” here’s how Pop characterized how his former player is blending in with the team. Or not blending in.

“Most people under contract are required to show up for their jobs,” Popovich said this week, via MySanAntonio.com. “He said he didn’t have a contract, but I told him I thought we had a verbal contract, and I thought that was just as good as written. We’re having a tough time right now, the two of us, trying to get him straight. He’s always been tough to manage but especially so now that he’s retired.”

Not only that, Popovich previously joked on Monday that he will be fining Duncan $2,500 for each day of camp he misses, adding the two have been arguing over it for days.

But Pop won’t be able to fine Duncan at all, as the retired star showed up at practice Wednesday.

Popovich, with all his wisecracks and fine “threats,” obviously is just having some fun at Duncan’s expense. After all, the dynamic duo did win five NBA titles together during Duncan’s 19-year career. And it’s not like Pop hasn’t made his true feelings about Duncan abundantly clear in the past few months.

Spurs general manager R.C. Buford mentioned this week that he and Popovich discussed how difficult things would be after Duncan finally made his decision to retire.

“You tried to prepare for it, and you tried to be ready to transition, but you never wanted to hear those words,” Buford said.

Indeed.