Buford details Mills, Manu injury concerns, addresses Gasol situation
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.