Gregg Popovich admits feeling 'a little bit lonely' in first Spurs camp without Tim Duncan
Gregg Popovich said he felt a little lonely at the start of his first Spurs camp without Tim Duncan. AP

SPURS coach Gregg Popovich admits he misses NBA legend Tim Duncan, the player he coached for 20 seasons in San Antonio who retired last July.

“It’s a little bit lonely here at the start. You don’t coach someone for 20 years, that’s a long, long time,” said Popovich to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News prior to the Spurs’ first preseason game without their franchise player since 1997.

From 1999 to 2014, Popovich and Duncan helped lead the Spurs to five NBA titles. Pop said he is hoping his former big man could be convinced to return to the game.

“If he wants to scout a little bit or run a drill one day or take a week road trip with us, we’re open to whatever he wants. We’re hoping it will infect him a little bit and he’ll want to do more," he said.

It seems the feeling is mutual as McDonald also tweeted on the first day of Spurs training camp that Duncan was with the team, giving pointers to some players.

But Popovich is certain about one thing Duncan will never do in his post-retirement life.

"I don't see him ever signing a contract and calling himself 'Coach,'" said Popovich.

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