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Spurs legend Tim Duncan won’t return as full-time assistant next year: report

Duncan was acting head coach for two games last season

San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Tim Duncan in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb . 10, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Tim Duncan in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb . 10, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – Five-time NBA Champion Tim Duncan will not return to the sidelines as a Spurs full-time assistant coach this season. That’s according to a report by the New York Times and ESPN Wednesday.

Duncan, 44, joined Gregg Popovich’s staff last summer, but did not travel with the team to the NBA bubble in Orlando to close out the regular season.

According to Spurs officials, Duncan stayed in San Antonio to assist LaMarcus Aldridge in his rehabilitation from shoulder surgery in April.

Duncan was the acting head coach for two games last season.

He, along with assistants Becky Hammon and Will Hardy, coached the Spurs when Popovich was ejected during a home game against Portland on Nov. 16, 2019.

He then was named acting head coach prior to a Spurs road game at Charlotte in March. Popovich was not able to coach that evening due to a personal matter. The Spurs won 104-103.

Duncan never publicly said why he came out of retirement to be an assistant with the Spurs, but his influence on the team and the younger players was seen as an asset throughout the season.

No reason has been given for his decision to step down. Duncan retired in 2016 after 19 seasons with the Spurs and five NBA championships.

The Spurs missed the playoffs last season for the first time since Duncan was drafted in 1997.

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