Kansas basketball: Does Bill Self’s future lie with the Spurs?

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

According to The Athletic, Kansas basketball’s Bill Self is a realistic candidate to replace long-time San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.

70-year-old Gregg Popovich, who’s been the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs since 1996, is going to retire one day, and probably sooner rather than later. Names are already circulating to replace Popovich, but one of the most intriguing is Kansas basketball’s very own Bill Self.

Self’s connection to the Spurs stems from one man: R.C. Buford.

Buford’s held multiple positions with the Spurs between 1994 and now, including, director of scouting,  president, general manager, and now CEO. His friendship with Bill Self goes back a long time, the two were even in each other’s weddings.

Both coaches have some history coaching together, as both were assistants on Larry Brown’s Kansas teams. While Self was only at Kansas for the 1985-86 season, Buford spent five years with Brown and the Jayhawks, including the 1988 national title season.

After Brown left Kansas to become head coach at San Antonio, Buford went with him, and then followed him again to Los Angeles, before returning to the Spurs in 1994, where he’s been ever since.

While there seem to be new “Bill Self to the NBA” rumors every year, the fresh element this time is the probability of NCAA sanctions; however, Self did state that he wanted to stay in Kansas early this year before the allegations were officially announced, yet probable:

"“I’m certainly not at all motivated to be anywhere else than right here, especially during these times.” – Bill Self"

Here’s the thing about Bill Self leaving: he probably could have left Kansas basketball more than a couple of times now. It’s somewhat obvious that he wants to stay in Lawrence, and the question you have to ask yourself is: “will these allegations scare off Bill Self?”

Based on the Self and the University’s response to the NCAA, they don’t seem overly afraid. Now, that’s just the perception the Kansas athletics department has been putting out, it could be a different story behind closed doors.

ku football. Top five wins of the decade for the Jayhawks. light

“I just want to do the best job I can coaching at a place that I absolutely love.” – Bill Self

Based on Self’s behavior in the past and his recent quotes, it sounds like he isn’t going anywhere; however, his friendship with Buford cannot be overstated. If anyone could convince Self to give the NBA a shot, it would probably be Buford.

Of course, none of this will become possible until Gregg Popovich retires, but when that day comes, the rumors will be flying from every direction. It’s best to prepare now.