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Messina’s Alamo, next stop the Spurs

By Nikos Varlas/

After Mike D’Antoni’s resignation from the Lakers, Ettore Messina is mentioned even as a candidate for the coaching job in Los Angeles. So, it’s a fact that this is the last European season of coach Messina, but his main option at this point seems to be the position of Gregg Popovich’s top assistant.

According to Eurohoops sources close to the situation, Messina has already informed CSKA Moscow that he is leaving in the summer, despite having a contract for one more season. Don’t be surprised if CSKA just lets him walk and give him their blessings. The same thing happened in the past with Andrey Kirilenko and retired European star Thodoris Papaloukas. Both of them had contracts, but Kirilenko was able to return to the NBA late in the summer of 2012, even with his NBA out clause expired, and Papaloukas left for his home country, Greece, and Olympiacos in the summer of 2008, despite having two years left in his contract with Moscow.

The question now is where Messina will end up and under which conditions. There have been reports about Utah and just hours ago about the Lakers, where he spend one season as a special consultant to coach Mike Brown. According to US sources at this point the most possible scenario is for Messina to end up in San Antonio, a team more than willing to trust basketball players and minds coming outside the US borders. Messina’s ultimate goal is to be the first ever European head coach in the NBA, his name was mentioned last year for Atlanta, but it’s just not easy for an NBA team to trust a non American coach. After all Popovich’s former assistants are more than successful NBA coaches and Jim Boylen, Pop’s current top assistant, is also a prime candidate for the bench of Utah.

Of course, if a better opportunity comes down the road, then Messina may not have to spend a season or two as an assistant, but it’s too early for that to be decided. After all the Italian mastermind is focused at this point at the Euroleague Final Four and his goal is clear. Leaving Europe as a Euroleague champion, for the fifth time in his career.


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  • Karim

    Not impressed by Messina’s skills.
    Bartzokas and Alvertis gave him big problems , he also likes a set game type of play while SA were running the court from defence to offence all the time.
    Desspite his big success in Europe, i think he maybe is not an up to date coach.I rather like the coach of Bayern as an assistant in NBA, or Blatt.

  • Ben

    It seems the best thing Messina is good at is getting his name in the hype mill. Special Consultant to Mike Brown in LAL? What happened with that? We’s think that the African American NBA players will hate him after one month. Many players hate him in Europe but don’t say it out loud.

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  • David9Austin

    If Popovich believes the Italian Coach can fit with the system in S.A. that means Messina is a good coach. The main difference between a head coach in the NBA comparing to Euroleague Basketball is that in the NBA you really need to trust your assistants in many topics. You need also to be a great manager at the same time

  • SimeoneGorf

    I believe if you really want to succeed in the NBA it’s better to stay some season close to great Gregg than to go to another NBA team as head coach. Lower risk, better potentials!