SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs suffered through an odd, erratic season filled with injuries, strife and drama before a second consecutive ouster from the playoffs in the first round.
Gregg Popovich enjoyed it so much he is coming back for a 24th season as coach.
Normally extremely private, Popovich said Monday he is negotiating a new deal with the Spurs after his current contract expired this season. There was some uncertainty surrounding his return, but the 70-year-old Popovich put an end to that with a quip or two.
"I'm currently in negotiations and could very well end up with either the Portofino Flyers or the Positano Pirates [or the Spurs]," Popovich said dryly. "I think it's like one-third Positano, one-third Portofino and one-third San Antonio. So, we'll see where I end up."
There is little chance Popovich ends up anywhere but San Antonio, where he has enjoyed unprecedented success. His desire to return was apparent during an 18-minute news conference to wrap up a season that ended with a loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 of their first-round series.
Popovich has 1,245 wins, third-most in NBA history behind Don Nelson and Lenny Wilkens, and is one of five coaches to win five NBA championships. He will coach USA Basketball in the FIBA World Cup in China this summer, and will coach the Americans in the Tokyo Olympics next summer should the team qualify.
The Spurs have reached the playoffs the past 22 seasons, a streak that ties for the longest in NBA history.
Donovan staying in OKC
The Oklahoma City Thunder plan to keep coach Billy Donovan for a fifth year.
General Manager Sam Presti said Monday that he doesn't expect to switch coaches, despite the Thunder's third consecutive first-round playoff exit.
Presti does expect Russell Westbrook to change, though. The All-Star point guard averaged a triple-double for the third consecutive season, but his image came under scrutiny after he collected a league-high 16 technical fouls that led to a one-game suspension, trash-talked with Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard before losing the playoff series and refused to answer some of the media's questions.
"Would we prefer if he handled a few things differently? Sure," Presti said. "We've talked about that. I also think it would probably be worthy and noteworthy to establish the fact that he made some adjustments to that particular approach, and I think that's a sign of tremendous leadership and a sign that he is understanding that when he speaks, he is the reflection of so many different people. And I know how much he cares about the team because I've seen it for 10 years."
Sixers 94, Raptors 89
Jimmy Butler scored 30 points and had 11 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a victory over the host Toronto Raptors in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series Monday night.
Tobias Harris made two free throws with 3.8 seconds left to seal the win that evened the series at 1-1.
The Raptors had a chance to tie but Danny Green missed a 3-point attempt and Harris grabbed the rebound and was fouled.
Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors with 35 points, seven rebounds and six assists.