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Bill Self: ‘Zero truth’ to rumors about being Gregg Popovich’s successor

There will come a day when Gregg Popovich will step down as head coach of the San Antonio Spurs after a legendary run of success. When that happens, his successor will not be Bill Self, so says the Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball coach.

Speculation has swirled in recent seasons that Popovich may be leaning toward retirement amid a 24-year run as Spurs head coach that includes five NBA titles and three NBA Coach of the Year nods.

Regarding Self’s name being bandied about as Popovich’s successor, much of the speculation stems in large part to his close relationship with Spurs GM R.C. Buford.

Further, ESPN college basketball analyst Seth Greenberg recently predicted that Self will indeed take over for Popovich at some point. Self has since pushed back against such speculation.

“Well first of all, I haven’t talked to Seth in five or six months,” Self said, per Jeff Garcia of News 4 San Antonio. “And secondly, and most importantly, I haven’t talked to (Spurs GM) R.C. (Buford) ever about (the job), and he was in my wedding and I was in his so I’ve known him pretty well and we’ve never once discussed it. And thirdly, I think it’s kind of an insult to the Spurs because they have the greatest coach maybe our sport’s potentially ever known — certainly the NBA one of the two or three best of all time for sure. So, yeah, there was absolutely zero truth to that.”

It’s unclear whether or not Self would even consider a career change of this point, regardless of opportunity, much less a move to the NBA.

What’s more, Popovich may have different plans in mind when it comes to his eventual replacement. The veteran coach has long been grooming assistant Becky Hammon, and it’s conceivable if he had his say, Pop would tab her as his successor.

First things first, though: Pop has to actually decide to retire. While he’s clearly unimpressed with how the NBA game has evolved in recent seasons, Popovich obviously will call his own shots as far as when his coaching career comes to an end.