Buford details Mills, Manu injury concerns, addresses Gasol situation

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LAS VEGAS — The offseason for Spurs general manager R.C. Buford got a bit more interesting in the days since the LeBron-a-thon’s climactic conclusion, as the possibility of landing former Lakers big man Pau Gasol came, and now reportedly went. But prior to all of that, and likely now going forward, there were other situations more crucial to the team’s offseason.

A torn rotator cuff in Patty Mills’ right shoulder and a stress fracture in Manu Ginobili’s right leg have made for some interesting speed bumps along the way; but contrary to the idea that Mills’ injury lessened his value on the free-agent market, thus making it easier for the Spurs to bring him back, Buford said the team still had its concerns.

“I don’t know if it simplified it at all, but I think our doctors felt comfortable that Patty could rehabilitate himself and be back in a position to do well,” he said. “I think Patty wanted to be here and we (did) for sure — you know, he was a big part of our chemistry and culture as well as his play.

“The opportunity to keep Patty in a Spurs uniform for the next three years is good for all of us.”

Making it an easier decision to make was the GM’s faith in the training staff, and of course, team depth. With Cory Joseph now in line for big minutes behind Tony Parker, and Bryce Cotton making a solid first impression on Buford, San Antonio figured it didn’t have much to worry about in regard to Mills’ recovery time.

“It’s not something our team’s unfamiliar with, it’s not something we’re concerned about and the levels that Cory has raised his game it I think we’ve got great confidence there,” Buford said. “Who knows what happens with Bryce Cotton. Bryce has come in and had a good first night, but we’ll know a lot more about where we are.

“Manu, Marco, that group that has played without a point guard a lot. I think we’ll create more diversity and competition for playing chances.”

Speaking of Manu, despite the shooting guard’s insistence that he’s not yet ruling out the FIBA World Cup, the feeling around the Spurs is — if you’re reading between the lines — it’s probably not an awesome idea.

“Our expectation is that this is going to line up as the doctors prescribe, which was an eight week healing process and I don’t know that we’re going to know anything different until we don’t,” Buford said.

As for Manu’s availability, “That’s in the doctor’s hands, (but) you guys can do the math.”

Assuming we can do the math may be folly, but the World Cup begins in 48 days, which is roughly eight weeks from the date of diagnosis. But you have to keep in mind his conditioning, the fact he wouldn’t have been practicing, and the risk of re-injury. MATH IS HARD!

But for now it appears time to move on from the Gasol pursuit. Buford said, as of Saturday afternoon he had not been notified of Gasol’s signing in Chicago, though he had seen the tweets and reports of its reality. His only comment on the situation was to say, if a better financial opportunity arose for Gasol in Chicago, then, as is the case in any walk of life, you have to give it strong consideration.

Details have yet to surface about the specifics behind the deal, and it’s unclear as to whether or not he actually does have a better financial opportunity in Chicago. But you’d have to trust that Buford has a pretty sound knowledge of the goings-on.

More from Las Vegas tomorrow, when the Spurs and Cavs tip off at 3 p.m. CT.

  • Carlo

    Ok, Pau’s gone north but… Now the Bulls have to “amnesty” Boozer who – if I understand well – should be available for one year “almost for free”.
    Ok, Boozer’s maybe not the perfect Spur (weak defense and some ups and downs) but if he comes “for free”… Why not? Besides, Spurs can offer him a very sound chance for that ring he still misses.

  • Brian

    I’d much rather have Baynes (bigger, stronger, superior defender) or Bonner (who brings a particular skill with his 3-point range, knowledge of the system, and underrated team defense). The problem is the Spurs will likely have to choose one or the other, assuming Bryce Cotton makes it through training camp.

  • Carlo

    Maybe. Then, Boozer has enough fame to be a trading asset (Dunno, can you hire an amnestied guy and then trade it later in the year? Experts please.)

  • WSSNW

    unfortunately thats not going to work. The way the amnesty rules work is; teams have access to an amnestied player in reverse order of record. Like a draft. So he would have to completely clear waivers (which means every team in the league would have to pass on him), for the Spurs to get him. Why would a team who could have picked him up for free now trade with the Spurs for him? Also if he clears waivers he’s then a free agent so why would he sign with the Spurs and let them trade him. He’s only going to sign somewhere he can play. Which could be the Spurs. he could be the 4th big. But they can’t sing him and trade him. It’s not going to work for the reasons I outlined.

  • Brian

    WSSNW, I think you’re mistaken about how the amnesty provision works, though your premise that there’s no way Boozer makes his way into a Spurs uniform is correct. Amnestied players are bid on by teams with cap room (the Spurs do not have any cap room, so cannot make a bid), and the highest bidding team receives the rights to the player, this could be on a full waiver claim or a partial waiver claim. If multiple teams put forth the same bid, then the team with the worse record the previous season receives the player’s rights. If every team with cap room fails to make a bid, then the player clears waivers and can sign with any team, including the Spurs who could use their MLE. However, I do not see Boozer clearing waivers.

  • WSSNW

    ah yes. you are correct sir. A quick look at http://www.cbafaq.com shows I was mistaken

    http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm#Q65

    http://www.cbafaq.com/salarycap.htm#Q69

    the other thing is I think in Boozer’s mind he’s still a starter. He’s started every game he’s ever played in his entire career except for his rookie year and an injury year in Utah. He’s going to want to go somewhere where he can start especially after suffering the humiliation of being amnestied.

  • DorieStreet

    Got to give Boozer some props—-except for a couple of serious injury seasons, the guy has been pretty durable over his career. Since 2009-10, his number of games played each season:
    78, 59, 66 (66 game strike season ’12), 79, 76. Plus career avg. 32 min. per game, and 30 his four seasons in CHI.

  • DorieStreet

    In regards to Mills, Tynan’s third paragraph –quoting R.C.— made signing the Aussie back a given.
    The frenzied towel-waving during every Spurs rally (when he wasn’t on the court) made him a home-crowd favorite. And having Patty be the MC during the Alamodome celebration spoke volumes.

  • garrychang

    Release Bonner and get Rashard Lewis.

  • Carlo

    I heard Bonner’s re-signed with vet’s minimum (that is…?)
    Does this mean the Great Summer Livestock Fair is already closed for the Spurs?
    One comment: Rockets – until now – the great losers of this post-season. They let got Parsons they could’ve kept for 965K$, only to pay Ariza 8M$ and also gave away Asik, Lin, Casspi and 2 future picks in exchange of the unlikely possibility of getting Anthony or Bosh, both of whom had much higher offers by their old teams.
    HOU, who seemed to be the most improving team this summer is proving the worst. If it ends like that, they’ll have not so easy a run to a PO spot next spring.
    The only team performing more comic than them are the Lakers: they lost almost all their already thin roster and found obliged to re-sign Hill and Young at ridiculous prices. They risk another D-League level season but at BRK Nets costs.

  • Chang Jyh-Chian

    Get Rashard Lewis and let go Bonner!

  • Brian

    Bonner will receive $1,448,490 this upcoming season.

  • Guest

    At least one more year of Matt Bonner love. Let celebrate!!

  • Mike Smith

    At least one more year of 48Minutes showing Matt Bonner love. Let’s Celebrate!!

  • DolCane

    You’re kidding right? Lewis is washed up. We don’t take washed up players in San Antonio.

  • WSSNW

    he’s not washed up. He just not a star anymore. I would rather have Lewis than Austin Daye who can’t seem to score even in summer league. I watched him brick everything yesterday pretty much ungraded against the Cavs.
    At the bcd end of the roster where Daye lives, Lewis would be a nice insurance against injury for the vet minimum.

  • DolCane

    Daye is much younger and with more potential long term. He wasn’t the 14th player selected in the draft for nothing. You seem to have forgotten when he first came on board he lit up the scoreboard in limited minutes. I say we give him time to develop and it will pay off. IMHO

  • GoSpursGo

    The thing about summer league play is that there is very little rhythm or spacing. A streak shooter who is not used to creating his own space will not do terribly welll. Daye could be a fit for the Spurs or he might not be, but a bad summer league showing is really not going to tell one way or the other

  • WSSNW

    “Unbias yourself from how you acquired the player” Bill Parcells
    He said that to one of his coaches when they were struggling with cutting a first round pick to replace him with an undrafted guy.
    The fact the he was once the 14th pick is the most irrelevant piece of information about him…ever.
    6 years in the league. He is who is is. He’s a stretch 4 that can’t shoot. Last year he shot 35% from 2 and 32% from 3. The year before 38% and 41%. His best year was 43 and 41 but he’s never been able to duplicate that. He can’t much of anything else. It’s been years since he grabbed more than 1 board per game. Look we are talking about the very end of the bench so for that he’s pretty decent. But don’t make it sound like he’s about explode and prove all the doubters wrong. He is what he is. A 10th guy off the bench.

  • WSSNW

    Actually that’s the very purpose of summer league. There is nothing inherent in summer league that cuts down on the spacing. Daye averages 27 minutes per game in summer leaguie. That’s what we like to call, Tim Duncan territory. The reason he is in summer league is to give him starter minutes to relax, get comfortable, and show the coaches what he can do. She shot 32% He was the number one option. He took the most shots in two of the games and the second most in the other. He’s getting his chance. It’s early but its not looking good. He’s on the bubble. Kyle Anderson is going to make the team. If the Spurs carry an extra point guard, Daye could make the team on the inactive list but not if they sign another SF free agent who can defend (like they should). In that case Anderson would go on the inactive and Daye would be the odd man out. I’m assuming they pick Baynes and Ayres over him.

  • GoSpursGo

    Absolutely summer league has worse spacing. At a fundamental level, player unfamiliar with each other don’t know how to space themsleves to give each player room for their moves. At a more nuanced level, the Spurs System uses constant motion to create gaps in coverage to allow for shooters to catch the ball and shoot with the defense out of position. The fact that Daye can’t shoot when trying to create his own shot does not mean that he can’t shoot as a catch and shoot rhythm player.

    Not saying that he is a great catch and shoot player, but just saying that all that the summer league is showing is that he can’t be the focus of an offense.

  • GoSpursGo

    Given the success of the Spurs reclamation projects, it is valid to look at a players original upside and anticipate whether or not the Spurs can tap into that. That being said, Daye’s lack of growth in his game is a pretty damning thing. I would be happy to give him some burn early in the season to see if he shoots more consistently when shooting in rhythm. Almost all shooters with decent form improve their percentages with 1) help from Chip, and 2) the ability to catch and shoot in rhythm.

  • DolCane

    That’s the beauty of a debate, and opinions. You are entitled to yours and I mine. In the long run we will see which of us is correct. Remember, Patty Mills was a “10th guy off the bench” at one time also. Just saying.

  • Tyler

    Daye has played 5 full seasons and is still the same player he was when he was drafted. He’s still not a consistent shooter and his body hasn’t improved at all. It’s one thing to not get consistent minutes early in your career (like Mills), but to bounce around to 5 different teams and never earn consistent minutes from any of them? That’s not a good sign.

    And I certainly wouldn’t take Daye over Baynes at this point.

  • WSSNW

    Except I am actually watching the games. He is getting spacing. Plenty. Wide open shots. Plus look at him regular season numbers while playing for the Spurs. They are not good. Worse of his career from 2. Three was very good. Again at the back in of the roster where he lives things are getting tight. Anderson is going to get minutes and I would much rather have an insurance there against an injury to Leonard.

  • Carlo Duroni

    I wouldn’t want to look greedy or too far from current reality but…
    Apart from legitimate aspirations to next season “repeat”, is there any perceived (I’m assuming RCB and Pop aren’t giving away their programs for free) medium or long term strategy to get comparable level subs to Timmy, Manu and even Tony?