“We had a disagreement,” Stephen told Sister 2 Sister about his most recent coach Gregg Popovich. “He wanted me to agree to players being better than me, and I didn’t agree. I’ve been in the NBA a long time, so it’s just something I didn’t agree with and something I have no control over. He’s the coach. He controls who plays, and he controls the team, which I do respect. At the same time, I know what I can do and what I been doing my whole career, and I’m far from ready to hang it up. So, I can’t let one person tell me where I’m at 35-years-old. To me, it just didn’t make no sense.”
So, instead of heading to the playoffs, where he’s helped teams like Golden State and Charlotte compete before, Stephen and his wife Renata are enjoying an early vacation.
However, the NBA veteran said if the Spurs’ management had either granted him more playing time or released him from his contract earlier, he may have been able to help another team advance to the playoffs.
“It was talked about before the all-star break, before the trade deadline…about me not wanting to be here and me going to other teams, but they wouldn’t do it then,” Stephen explained. “If they would have done it then, I would be on another team right now.”
While he’s not sure what team he’ll end up on, Stephen is confident that he’ll have a lot to offer as he has in the past.
“I went to Golden State and helped them get to the playoffs my first year there, and they haven’t been to the playoffs in 13 years. I played in Charlotte…and I got them to the playoffs. So, every team I go to, I make them better,” said Stephen, who considers it a blessing just to be in the NBA…and on the court.
“I don’t want to be a guy who’s just sitting on the bench stealing money,” he said.