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Ettore Messina leaving Gregg Popovich’s staff to coach in Italy

Ettore Messina, Gregg Popovich

The San Antonio Spurs are reportedly set to part ways with one of the most important cogs of their coaching staff. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina will be leaving the team this summer to take on a new challenge in his native of Italy.

As Charania explains, Messina has been with the Spurs for half a decade now. He is one of head coach Gregg Popovich’s most trusted advisers, and was pivotal in helping the team’s transition in the post-Tim Duncan era.

Messina appears to have come to the conclusion that his time in the NBA is up, as he decides to return to Europe and resume what has been a legendary career as a head coach.

According to Messina’s Wikipedia page, the 59-year-old is one of the most decorated coaches in Europe, having won a total of four EuroLeague championships throughout his career. He has also been awarded as the most outstanding coach in the Italian League on three separate occasions, and has had the same honor in the EuroLeague twice. Messina is also an inductee to the Italian Basketball Hall of Fame.

What the Italian leaves behind is a Spurs side that is in a bit of a fork in the road. They are no longer the perpetual contenders they once was, and there appears to be no significant reason to believe that they will re-claim this title anytime soon. Then again, with Popovich still sitting at the helm, we can never count out the Spurs year in and year out.