As always from the perspective of San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, there will be no love lost for Patty Mills and LaMarcus Aldridge no matter what.
And as these two proven veterans are now enjoying a new chapter on the east coast, the legendary mentor has nothing but well wishes for both of them which he handled from the past and helped San Antonio in contention.
Ahead of the Brooklyn Nets’ visit to the AT&T Center to face his team on Friday, Popovich expressed his admiration for the two former Spurs. The 72-year-old tactician praised Mills for being a professional and a standout person during his time in Texas.
“He’s unselfish, loving, giving, to all people no matter where they live in the world,” Popovich on Mills, according to Tom Orsborn of San Antonio Express-News. “He’s always positive, a consummate pro in preparing for his job, gives everything he has in every practice and every game, supports everybody on the team and in the organization.”
Meanwhile, more than being a great player, Pop commended Aldridge for its humanitarian work and service in the San Antonio community. He also expressed his happiness to see the big man enjoying his basketball return after a brief retirement due to an abnormal heartbeat last season (h/t Alex Schiffer of The Athletic)
After spending 10 seasons raising the silver and black flag, Mills expressed his intentions to leave and join the title-contending Nets last offseason in an emotional conversation with Popovich. The Australian gunner was integral to the Spurs’ sustained success in the last decade, as he was also part of the franchise’s prized fifth title in 2014 after a Finals vengeance against LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
Aldridge left the Portland Trail Blazers in 2015 to take a Texas homecoming. Though winning a championship didn’t go well as planned, the seven-time All-star undeniably had some precious memories of helping the Western Conference squad and learning from the all-time head coach. After a contract buyout, he inked a contract with Brooklyn last 2020-2021 campaign until declaring a brief retirement due to health concerns.
Indeed, tons of smiles, cheers, and overwhelming feelings have to be expected in the upcoming matchup, as these two are forever etched in the hearts of the Spurs faithful.