The San Antonio Spurs will rest Victor Wembanyama for Wednesday's road game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, denying him a clash with fellow Rookie of the Year contender Chet Holmgren.

Wembanyama rolled his right ankle against the New Orleans Pelicans on April 5, having missed a game against the Phoenix Suns due to a left ankle sprain the previous month.

Last year's number one draft pick has played 70 games this season, averaging 21.3 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists.

With Wembanyama playing 31 minutes in Tuesday's 102-87 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, the Spurs are reportedly being cautious over his condition on the second leg of a back-to-back.

After Tuesday's game, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said of Wembanyama's involvement: "We're going to talk it out. It's a question because we've held him out a lot of the back-to-backs. 

"Once when he had that foot thing and now down the stretch, I'm not sure it makes much sense to push it."

Popovich's decision to hold Wembanyama back means fans will be denied a meeting between the likely top two in the Rookie of the Year race, with Holmgren looking to maintain his record of appearing in every game for the Thunder this year. 

Wembanyama is expected to return to the court on Friday, when San Antonio host the Denver Nuggets in their penultimate game of the season. 

The Golden State Warriors and coach Steve Kerr have agreed to a two-year, $35 million contract extension that will make him the highest-paid coach in NBA history, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday.

The new deal will pay Kerr, who has guided the Warriors to four NBA championships, $17.5 million a year.

His current deal was set to expire at the end of this season.

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich makes more annually, according to sources, but he also serves as the team’s president. Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra signed an eight-year extension that pays him approximately $15 million a season.

Kerr, 58, is in his 10th season as coach of the Warriors and holds a career regular season record of 501-264 and is 99-41 in the playoffs. He won his 500th game last week to become the fifth-fastest coach to do so in history.

Victor Wembanyama and Gregg Popovich accepted the San Antonio Spurs had been unable to live with an NBA championship contender after Sunday's 134-101 blowout loss to the Boston Celtics.

The league-leading Celtics improved to 26-6 with a dominant performance to round off 2023 at Frost Bank Center, extending their winning streak to six games.

Boston never trailed at any point as Jayson Tatum led six visiting players in double figures with his 25-point haul, while Jaylen Brown added 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting.

Rookie Wembanyama had 21 points and seven rebounds for the hosts, but it was not enough to stop them sliding to 5-27 with a seventh defeat in the space of eight games.

While Wembanyama said the Celtics were simply too good on the night, he believes the Spurs will have learned something from the defeat.

"I can feel that compared to the past years, they have something extra this year," Wembanyama said of Joe Mazzulla's Celtics team.

"Of course, it’s difficult to play against them and it is a good challenge. But I think we learned today."

San Antonio coach Popovich concurred, saying: "They are a championship-calibre team, that's what they are out there for, that's their goal, and they proved it once again.

"Joe does a great job with them. They've got good talent, obviously, all-star talent; and they've got the grit. 

"They've got the execution and are getting better all the time. That's a tough challenge at this particular time for our group."

Boston closed out the month of December with a 12-2 record and were able to rest their starters for much of the fourth quarter, having led by as many as 37 points at one stage. 

"We got stops," Mazzulla said. "I thought we were really good at doing both, protecting the paint and getting out to contest, which allowed us to get out in transition. 

"I think our secondary transition, we did a good job of recognising where the mismatch was and getting to it fast and playing together as a team through it."

San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama would play every week if the choice was his but respects the minutes restriction imposed as coach Gregg Popovich continues to be cautious.

Number one draft pick Wembanyama suffered a "freak" ankle injury in an incident involving a ballboy in a pre-game warm-up before the 144-119 defeat to the Dallas Mavericks last week.

The 19-year-old stepped on a ballboy's foot after a driving layup, subsequently rolling his injured right ankle, but returned to action on Thursday before sitting out of Friday's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

San Antonio listed Wembanyama as out due to resting, despite the priority being protecting his ankle, as the Trail Blazers triumphed 134-128.

"He's got a minutes restriction and he can't play back-to-backs for a couple of weeks until they take another picture and check out his foot again," Spurs coach Popovich said.

"When we sat him in Dallas, he wasn't happy, but I'm glad he wasn't happy.

"He's a competitor. All these guys at this level, they didn't get here by being noncompetitive. So, he'd rather be playing. It frustrates him more than anything."

Wembanyama had 30 points, six rebounds, six assists and seven blocks in 24 minutes on Thursday against Portland, becoming the third rookie with 30 points, five assists and five blocks in a game and joining Spurs Hall of Famers David Robinson and Tim Duncan.

The future NBA star remains content to respect the medical staff's mandated advice, despite his wishes to feature on the court every game.

"We communicate a lot with the medical staff and I've made it clear that I want them to sit me out," Wembanyama said.

"I'm going to trust them if they want me to sit out, but only if I really need to.

"If they force me pretty much. If it was up to me, I'd play every game. But I respect my role. They're professionals. I'm a professional. I try to do my job the best I can."

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Victor Wembanyama's absence from Saturday's defeat to the Dallas Mavericks was precautionary after the rookie was injured in a "freak" incident involving a ballboy.

Wembanyama did not play after rolling his right ankle during his pre-game warm-up, sustaining the injury when he stepped on a ballboy's foot following a driving layup.

The number one draft pick's absence was keenly felt as the Spurs fell to 4-24 with a crushing 144-119 defeat, Luka Doncic scoring 39 points in a triple-double within just three quarters for the Mavs.

With Wembanyama having missed Tuesday's defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks after experiencing pain in the same ankle, Popovich said the Spurs couldn't afford to take any risks, much to the 19-year-old's annoyance. 

"If it was a playoff game, I probably would've played him," Popovich said after the defeat. 

"He's not happy about it, but I would rather err on the conservative side since it's the same ankle that you just got a time limitation on. 

"But it was just a freak, freak accident before the game. You see it on the film, and you can't believe it."

Wembanyama is averaging 18.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and three blocks for the Spurs in his maiden campaign, with Saturday's game just the third he has missed.

For the Mavs, Doncic added 12 rebounds and 10 assists to his 39 points before departing near the end of the third quarter, recording his 36th 30-point triple-double, one shy of the league's record holder LeBron James.

It was his sixth triple-double of the season, while he is now just 11 points shy of 10,000 for his NBA career, a figure he will be confident of bringing up against the Phoenix Suns on Christmas Day.

More importantly, the result ended a three-game losing streak for a Dallas side still deprived of Kyrie Irving due to a heel injury, leading Doncic to praise the team's togetherness. 

"We still have some injuries, so we've got to still keep it together," he said. "Everybody's got to stay together and have a next-man-up mentality."

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich stands by his decision to criticise the team's fans over their booing of former franchise favourite Kawhi Leonard, describing their behaviour as "hateful".

Popovich made headlines on Wednesday when he walked over to the scorer's table and grabbed a microphone during the second quarter of the Spurs' 109-102 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers.

With San Antonio's fans loudly jeering their former star Leonard as he lined up a pair of free throws, his former coach Popovich leapt to his defence. 

"Excuse me for a second," Popovich said to the crowd. "Can we stop all the booing and let these guys play? Have a little class. That's not who we are. Knock off the booing."

Popovich later said the boos had risked giving Leonard – who won the NBA Championship with the Spurs in 2014 before departing four years later – additional motivation.

Asked if he regretted the remarks ahead of Friday's game against the Golden State Warriors, Popovich said: "Absolutely not. It's pretty easy to understand.

"I listened to it for a while and it just got louder and louder and uglier and uglier, and I felt sorry for him, and I was embarrassed for our city, for our organization.

"That's not who we are, that's not how we've conducted ourselves for the last 25 years. It's the opposite of the way we've conducted ourselves, the way we've worked in the community.

"It's kind of an indication of the world we live in today. It was hateful. It was really disrespectful, it was just mean-spirited. 

"We're the team that when somebody comes back to town after having been a Spur, we show a video of them. I can remember when Kawhi and Danny Green came back from Toronto, we showed videos of those guys and the crowd didn't react like that." 

The Spurs failed to end their dismal run of form on Friday, seeing their losing streak extend to 11 games as Stephen Curry's 35 points helped the Warriors to a 118-112 win in the In-Season Tournament game at Chase Center.

Curry also matched his season-high tally of seven three-pointers and added six assists, while guard Gary Payton II won plaudits for a terrific leaping block on Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama.

Number one draft pick Wembanyama had 22 points and eight rebounds but only made one of six three-point attempts as San Antonio's miserable run continued. 

They continue to prop up the Western Conference at 3-13 and are 0-4 in the group stage of the In-Season Tournament ahead of Sunday's difficult road game against the Denver Nuggets. 

Gregg Popovich said San Antonio Spurs fans should not "poke the bear" after his team lost to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Spurs coach Popovich walked over to the scorer's table late in the second quarter when Clippers star and former Spurs player Kawhi Leonard was being jeered by the San Antonio faithful as he prepared for a free throw.

"Excuse me for a second," Popovich said to the crowd. "Can we stop all the booing and let these guys play? Have a little class. That's not who we are. Knock off the booing."

Leonard went on to finish with 26 points, four rebounds and four assists as the Clippers triumphed 109-102, their third straight NBA win.

Asked why he took hold of the mic to speak to the crowd during his side's 10th consecutive loss, Popovich simply told reporters: "I think anybody that knows anything about sports, you don't poke the bear."

Leonard, for his part, shrugged off the jeers.

"If I don't have a Spurs jersey on, they're probably going to boo me the rest of my career," Leonard, who won the first of his two NBA titles in San Antonio, said.

"But I mean it is what it is. Like I said, they're one of the best fans in the league and they're very competitive.

"Once I step out on this basketball court out here, they show that they're going for the other side.

"When I'm on the streets or going into restaurants, they show love. So it is what it is."

James Harden finished with 16 points to move 24th on the all-time NBA list, while Paul George had 24 points and eight rebounds for the Clippers (6-7).

Victor Wembanyama led the Spurs with 22 points and 15 rebounds, but his team fell to 3-12, the worst record in the Western Conference.

Gregg Popovich felt Victor Wembanyama had a "wonderful outing" in his NBA debut with the San Antonio Spurs.

Luka Doncic inspired the Dallas Mavericks to a 126-119 victory over the Spurs at the Frost Bank Center on Wednesday, but all eyes were on the 19-year-old first overall draft pick.

Wembanyama was limited by foul trouble throughout the night and had to step out of the game during stages of the third and fourth quarters.

He ultimately played for 23 minutes and was able to finish with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including some standout moments in the closing stages as he returned to the court for the final seven minutes.

The Frenchman added five rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block. He connected with three of his five attempts from 3-point range.

"One of the toughest things for a player is you get into foul trouble," Spurs coach Popovich said after the game, per ESPN. 

"You never get in a rhythm and you are in and out of the game and that sort of thing. 

"So, I thought his maturity showed even at a young age where he came in with the last seven minutes and just played.

"We ran some stuff for him, he executed where a lot of guys would have been totally out of it by then because they were in foul trouble and didn't get the rhythm. 

"I thought he had a wonderful outing considering that."

Wembanyama acknowledged the result stopped it from being an ideal evening, but was in an optimistic mood after the loss.

"Lots of emotions for sure, but it would have been perfect with a win," he said. "We are learning and it’s only our first regular season game together.

"It might be frustrating [to be in foul trouble], but always keeping your head up is good for my teammates. I can't show it [frustration] on the court, and we learn every day.

"We're going to watch film and if we notice [issues] on the film, the coaches and ourselves, the players, will make whatever it takes to get better."

Doncic had a triple-double with 33 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, while Kyrie Irving contributed 22 points as Dallas made a winning start.

"It was a hall of fame performance like [Doncic] does almost every night," added Popovich. "He was great. Kyrie wasn't bad either. So, the two future hall of famers got us."

San Antonio is back in action at home to the Houston Rockets on Friday and Doncic, who relished the challenge of facing Wembanyama on his debut, has no doubt the Spurs phenom will thrive in the NBA.

Doncic said: "It was fun. We knew the whole building was going to be loud and everything.

"This is probably one of the best prospects to enter the NBA, so it was fun. For me personally, I like challenges, so that was a fun challenge.

"He obviously has the size like everybody talks about, but the way he moves for 7-5, 7-6 – I don't know what it is, sorry – but he moves incredibly.

"He moves like a point guard almost. So it's pretty amazing to see him. He's going to have a great future, and it's going to be amazing to watch."

The Mavericks will look to make it two straight wins when they take on the Brooklyn Nets at American Airlines Center on Friday.

Gregg Popovich is among those to have been entered into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, it was announced on Saturday.

The San Antonio Spurs coach has won five NBA titles and more games than anyone else in the history of the league, with 1,363 regular season victories and a further 170 in the postseason.

Headliners joining Popovich in the class of 2023 are Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade, as well as two players who played under 'Pop' in San Antonio, Tony Parker and Pau Gasol, and his former assistant and San Antonio Stars player Becky Hammon.

Popovich is coming towards the end of his 27th season with the Spurs, sitting in 14th place in the Western Conference with a record of 19-58.

In better days though, Parker won four championships with Pop at the Spurs, while Gasol makes it more for his success with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he won two titles.

Dallas Mavericks legend Nowitzki won the 2011 championship and is sixth in the NBA's all-time scoring list, while 13-time All Star Wade won three titles during his 13 years with the Miami Heat.

Hammon – a six-time WNBA All Star – worked under Popovich in San Antonio between 2014 and 2022 before becoming head coach of the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA.

The stacked 2023 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class was reportedly revealed on Tuesday with Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Tony Parker, Becky Hammon and Gregg Popovich making the cut.

Wade, Nowitzki, Gasol and Parker are all first-ballot selections after playing their final seasons in 2018-19, while it was also Popovich's first time on the ballot after previously declining Hall of Fame consideration in recent years.

Hammon's elevation was also considered simply a matter of time, with the six-time WNBA All-Star, former long-time San Antonio Spurs assistant and 2022 WNBA championship-winning coach with the Las Vegas Aces having put together a stellar resume since turning pro in 1999.

With Hammon's ties to the Spurs, it figures to be a special night for San Antonio fans as Parker and Popovich are enshrined, joining fellow linchpins of their dynasty Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili after their inductions in 2020 and 2022 respectively.

Popovich coached the Spurs to all five of their NBA titles – 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014 – while Parker contributed to the last four after arriving in 2001 following an impressive youth career in France.

The six-foot-two point guard made six All-Star teams, and was named to the All-NBA Second Team three seasons in a row from 2012-14 as the Spurs battled LeBron James' Miami Heat in a legendary rivalry.

His number nine jersey was retired by the Spurs, as is Nowitzki's number 41 jersey with the Dallas Mavericks.

Nowitzki, who for a long period was European basketball's biggest star, brought the Mavericks their only title in 2011 as he took down the Heat in James' first season there.

The German was named league MVP in 2007, and went on to make 14 All-Star teams, while earning 12 All-NBA selections, including four on the First Team in the space of five years.

While both Popovich and Nowitzki could headline a Hall of Fame class in any given year, that honour may go to Wade, who was the architect of all three of Miami's titles in 2006, 2012 and 2013.

Drafted in 2003, Wade ended up carrying the Heat – alongside Shaquille O'Neal – to their first ever championship in only his third season. 

It was the beginning of a run that saw him make 14 All-Star teams, eight All-NBA teams, and three NBA All-Defensive teams as he rivalled James and Kobe Bryant for the status of best player in the league in 2009 and 2010.

While Wade may have been at his peak in 2009 and 2010, both of those seasons ended with Gasol lifting the title with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Gasol spent just six-and-a-half seasons in Los Angeles, but it is where he will be most fondly remembered after making such a profound impact that he recently had his number 16 jersey retired into the rafters alongside running-mate Bryant.

Adding to his NBA resume was his spectacular international play, where he became the all-time leading scorer in EuroBasket play, averaging 20.4 per game in 58 appearances for his country, while also carrying Spain to their first ever FIBA World Cup gold medal in 2006.

Both head coaches made sure to point out the superb play of C.J. McCollum after the New Orleans Pelicans' 126-117 win against the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday.

McCollum scored a season-high 40 points on 14-of-27 shooting, adding nine assists, eight rebounds and two blocks in the absence of his max-contract teammates Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.

It's the latest strong outing in McCollum's recent hot-streak, now averaging 31.5 points, 7.5 assists and six rebounds in his past four games.

It is in stark contrast to McCollum's early-season production, with the 31-year-old initially showing the warning signs of a decline. He is averaging 19.4 points – his lowest figure since the 2014-15 season – while his 42.0 field goal percentage is the lowest since his rookie year.

His renaissance has come at the perfect time, according to head coach Willie Green, who called his guard's performance "beautiful".

"It was great to see C.J. have a night like he did tonight," he said. "40 points, the nine assists were impressive, he rebounded the ball.

"We needed that type of production from him with the guys being out. It’s beautiful to watch when he’s on the floor and he’s scoring like he does.

"When guys are out, I think the beauty in what we're able to see is that all of our guys step up, and enjoy these moments, these opportunities. I've said it before, some people look at it as obstacles, but our guys relish these moments."

Pelicans backup center Willy Hernangomez said it is fun to see his teammate begin to find his groove.

"McCollum dominated the game from the very beginning," he said. "I'm happy for C.J. – he’s been really getting his rhythm back. 

"Today was a big game for him. I'm happy to see him making shots and making the right decision over and over."

Future Hall of Fame Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was also complimentary of McCollum, saying his team does not have the luxury of a player who can take over a game in that fashion.

"We’ll get down, figure it out, and then start playing," he said. "We don’t have somebody like a McCollum that’s going to come in and do what he did to us. 

"We made it a decent game at that point, and then he took over. He was great."

Having snapped a four-game losing streak, the Pelicans are now 19-12 and only a half-game behind the Phoenix Suns (19-11) and the Memphis Grizzlies (19-11) in the race for the top seed in the Western Conference.

Gregg Popovich and Dirk Nowitzki have been named among the eligible candidates for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2023.

Legendary coach Popovich has won five NBA titles with the San Antonio Spurs, and is one of a number of people named as a contender in their first year of eligibility.

Popovich is a perhaps surprise inclusion, with it previously unknown when he would qualify to be recommended for the honour.

Other potential inductees include Pau Gasol, Tony Parker and Dwyane Wade, while the 1976 U.S. Olympic women's basketball team also made the list.

The finalists for the class of 2023 will be announced on February 17 during All-Star weekend, before the final nominees are named on April 1 during the NCAA Final Four.

The players will then be enshrined on August 11 in historic Springfield, Massachusetts, where the sport of basketball was invented.

Becky Hammon was rewarded for leaving Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs as she led the Las Vegas Aces to the WNBA title on Sunday.

Hammon was Popovich's long-time assistant before being hired by the Aces last year, having been passed over for senior NBA roles.

But the six-time WNBA All-Star responded by delivering the Aces their first championship courtesy of a 3-1 Finals win over the Connecticut Sun.

In doing so, Hammon became the first first-time head coach to win the WNBA title since the league's debut season in 1997.

This success came as no surprise to Popovich, however, who said: "We are all thrilled for coach Hammon.

"Winning a championship is a remarkable achievement for a first-time head coach in her first year with a team, yet I'm not at all surprised by her success.

"Becky has proven over and over that she has a unique understanding and passion for the game of basketball.

"Congratulations to Becky, her players and the entire Aces organisation. They played the right way the entire season and were a true joy to watch."

Aces owner Mark Davis added: "She's been absolutely unbelievable, and I guess this legitimises the way we went after her."

But Hammon sought to direct the praise back onto her players, telling ESPN: "Just getting to know them on a day-to-day basis, who they were as people, they're unbelievable on the court, but they're unbelievable humans, first and foremost.

"They care about each other, they invest into each other. It's been an absolute honour to be their coach.

"I saw excellence and I wanted to be a part of it. I'm just super thankful – one through 12, I love you all. It's been so much fun, so much fun."

The outstanding coaching career of Gregg Popovich reached new heights with the San Antonio Spurs' victory over the Utah Jazz.

San Antonio's 104-102 triumph on Friday marked career win number 1,336 for Popovich, taking him past Don Nelson for the most by a coach in NBA history.

It is yet another remarkable achievement by one of the finest coaches to ever grace the NBA sideline.

In celebration of Popovich's latest accomplishment, here Stats Perform looks at five of the greatest feats of his career.

The first title

It might not have been the hardest Finals success of Popovich's career, but the first title in franchise history is always a memorable one, and he delivered that for the Spurs in 1999.

San Antonio earned the one seed in the Western Conference and the Spurs subsequently blitzed their way through the playoffs, losing only one game en route to the Finals.

And the fairytale New York Knicks, who had reached the Finals as the eighth seed in the East, proved no match for David Robinson, Tim Duncan and the Spurs.

Indeed, without the injured Patrick Ewing, the Knicks were overpowered and Avery Johnson's game-winning shot with 47 seconds left in Game 5 clinched a 4-1 series triumph for the Spurs, with Popovich able to celebrate his first title at the Mecca of basketball.

Kawhi holds off LeBron

Having tasted defeat to the Miami Heat in seven games a year earlier, Popovich and the Spurs pulled off the most impressive of their five NBA title wins in 2014 by getting revenge on Erik Spoelstra's star-studded team.

In what proved to be the final series of LeBron James' career with the Heat, the superior roster depth of the Spurs proved the difference against Miami's big three as they prevailed 4-1 over LeBron, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Co.

Having split the first two games in San Antonio, the Spurs swept their two games in South Florida and then wrapped things up as Kawhi Leonard's double-double inspired a 104-87 win in Game 5.

In large part for his defensive effort against James, Leonard was named Finals MVP. His field goal percentage of 61.2 was the highest by a Finals MVP until Giannis Antetokoumpo surpassed it in 2021 with 61.8 per cent.

Those 18 consecutive 50-win seasons

As his record-setting number of wins indicates, consistent success has defined Popovich's career with the Spurs, who comfortably hold the NBA record for most successive 50-win seasons.

From 1999-2000 to 2016-17, the Spurs won at least 50 games for 18 consecutive campaigns, the final year in that run among one of the most impressive as San Antonio racked up 61 victories while playing in a Western Conference featuring a Golden State Warriors team playing their first season with Kevin Durant.

The Spurs were swept by the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, though Game 1 suggested it would have been a much different series had Leonard not suffered an injury that ended his season.

San Antonio's 18-season run will take some beating, as the Los Angeles Lakers are next on the list with a 12-season run between 1979-80 and 1990-91.

Olympic gold

Popovich took over from Mike Krzyzewski as head coach of Team USA and met expectations by delivering the gold amid the strange backdrop of a pandemic Olympics at the delayed Tokyo 2020.

The USA recovered from an opening defeat to France to once again take the gold, avenging the loss to Les Bleus with an 87-82 win over the same opposition in the final.

After a build-up to the Games in which many questions were raised about the strength in depth of the USA team and a poor start to the competition, the hard-fought triumph added further gloss to the CV of a coach many consider to be the greatest of all time.

The record win

The 2021-22 season has not been one to remember for the Spurs, but a surprise defeat of the Jazz at least gave Popovich a memorable moment in a trying campaign.

San Antonio trailed 74-64 going into the final quarter, but the Spurs racked up 40 across the final frame to improve their record to 26-41 and, more importantly, secure history for their coach, Dejounte Murray the star of the show with 27 for the game.

"Basketball is a team sport," Popovich said afterwards. "All of us share in this record. It's not mine. It's ours."

With Popovich's NBA career showing no signs of imminently coming to an end, he should have plenty of opportunities to extend his lead at the top of the all-time standings and make his record extremely difficult to beat.

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