Don Nelson: Almost coached Larry Bird, Tim Duncan
April, 6, 2010
By Henry Abbott
As Don Nelson sits a game away from having the most wins of any coach in NBA history, he tells ESPN's Marc Stein that he doesn't much care if he makes the Hall of Fame or not. And if he has any regrets, it's mostly to do with two jobs he might have had:
There were two opportunities I probably should have made happen. One was when we beat the Celtics in the playoffs in Milwaukee [in 1983]. They were going to make a coaching change. I think Bill Fitch was their coach at the time. After the last game, Red [Auerbach] walked by and asked me, "Would you ever consider coaching the Boston Celtics?"
I said, "Red, it would be a dream come true. But the guy's been so good to me here, I really couldn't leave [Bucks owner] Jim Fitzgerald." But looking back as a career move, that's probably something I should have done at that point. They had a really good championship-caliber team and that would have solved all the problems if I would have done that. K.C. Jones got that job and did a really good job and they won a few championships. Looking back, I was a loyal guy because Jim Fitzgerald was so good to me, so I don't really regret not going. But as a career move I probably should have.
And then the second one was when I was in Golden State and I was having all the [Chris] Webber problems and Gregg Popovich was the GM in San Antonio and wanted to make a change. He called me up and said, "Can you get out of your contract and come here and be my coach?"