First things first

by

The Spurs face a somewhat uncertain offseason after getting bounced by the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals. At first glance, their options look limited and it’s likely that we’re going to see a very similar roster on opening night to the one that finished the season just a couple of weeks ago. Then again, there’s the capability with the contracts the Spurs possess and the front office’s track record to really shake things up.

Really? The team could be simliar or different to last year’s team? Way to go out on a limb there, Andrew.

Yeah, I know, total cop-out. But in many respects, I think there’s only one of two ways this will go. The Spurs will either bring back the same rotation with a couple of minor tweaks in personnel, or the team will swing a deal or two that will add and subtract a couple significant pieces to the rotation, much like last year.

There are two major points that the Spurs offseason hinges on: the NBA Draft and Tim Duncan.

Going in to next week’s draft, the Spurs have just one pick. It’s the 59th overall pick, second to last in the draft. San Antonio traded its first round pick to Golden State in the Stephen Jackson deal. Normally a team’s options would be limited in circumstances like these, but after trading George Hill on draft night last season, write off the Spurs front office at your own risk.

The Spurs have several trade-package-friendly deals (Bonner, Blair, Neal, hell, even Kawhi) that can be used in combination with a larger one to bring back something of value for the franchise or get San Antonio back into the first round of the draft.

After draft night, nothing regarding free agency can begin for the Spurs until Tim Duncan puts pen to paper on a new contract. Duncan has said publicly that he’s re-signing for multiple years and after the performances that he put up this season, that’s fully what I expect him to do. But how many years? And what’s a fair value for Duncan?

Let’s tackle the years first. Tim Varner and I talked about this on the phone earlier in the season and tried to come up with a good contract that the Spurs and Duncan could agree to. His opinion, and one that I am fully behind, is to give Duncan a deal structured similar to the one San Antonio signed Antonio McDyess to.

In July of 2009, the Spurs signed McDyess to a three-year, $14 million and some change contract, according to Sham Sports. McDyess, you may remember, retired after two seasons and the Spurs waived him before the third. That’s because that third year was only partially guaranteed. San Antonio guaranteed only about $2.6 million of that final year, so when Dice decided not to return the team waived him and sent him home with a nice little retirement gift.

I can see the Spurs front office handling Duncan’s new deal the same way. Sign Duncan to a three-year deal with that third and final year only partially guaranteed. Something like $12 million in the first year, $8 or $9 million in the second and something similar in the third, only guaranteeing about $3-$4 million if the Spurs waive Duncan by a certain date. If Duncan feels up to a third season he can play, but if he decides two more years is enough and the Spurs need to get on with rebuilding, he can ride off into the sunset with a nice gold watch in the form of millions of American dollars.

What about value? This is where my powers of estimating betray me. When you’re talking about the most important player in franchise history, one of the ten best players of all-time and yet someone consistently unselfish when it comes to the team, what’s fair? As much as it would be fun for Duncan to sign for the minimum for the good of the team, I don’t think you can realistically expect something like that. This is a guy who’s taken less money to give the front office flexibility to operate for years.

The last year of his contract was valued at over $21 million and he put up comparable per-36 minute numbers to his career averages this season, although he played fewer minutes than ever. He’s figured out how to play his game with the physical limitations his body has placed on him. It’s not unrealistic to think that he can play at a very similar level to the one he’s at now for another three or four seasons. How do you put a monetary value on all that?

I’m guessing he’ll re-sign for a deal in the ballpark of the one I mentioned above. Three years, about $12 million next season, $8-$10 million in the second season and $6-$8 million in the final season, with that final year only being partially guaranteed. It would give the Spurs a little more financial breathing room and pay Duncan below market value (again), while giving The Big Fundamental something “fair” and not insulting the franchise hero.

Once these two situations are sorted out and in the rearview mirror, the Spurs can get to work on the rest of their offseason and begin constructing a roster that will leave us all wanting more on paper while probably still contending for the #1 seed in the West next season.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Your not too sane here dude. He’s big enough and offers more than Bonner, Diaw, and Blair in the paint defensively, rebounds and can shoot. And so Duncan gets his shots blocked? You make it seem like he’s getting them blocked every time he puts a shot up. You must be a Duncan hater. Well Duncan is a lot better than many out there right now and that’s the best we got right now still so live with it. Really?

  • Titletown99030507d

    That’s probably the reason why. He’s played for 3 doormats. How about playing for a real team for a change. It could very well help his game.

  • Titletown99030507d

    That’s probably the only place I would like to see Splitter go to. Houston if they’re thinking of trading him. Then I could root for Houston after the Spurs get bounced in the playoffs if that happens..

  • DorieStreet

    Kaman might want to stay on the Hornets with ex-Clipper Eric Gordon to see what Dell Demps/ Monty Williams do with Anthony Davis and the No. 10 draft pick. (Some people have them picking G Austin Rivers at that spot.) And they have a second round pick (#46 overall).
    Things could get turned around soon in the Big Easy. 3 seasons ago the Thunder were 23-59.

  • DorieStreet

    Is it a foregone conclusion that 2012-13 is Manu’s final season? That might be a factor in giving Anderson one last shot- but his girl said he needs to leave.

  • DorieStreet

    And you will transfer some of your vitriol at Pop to Coach McHale.
    Hornets – 2 lottery picks and a 2nd; Rockets – a lottery and a 1st; will they get it right and turn it around quickly ala the Thunder and the Grizzlies?

  • Titletown99030507d

    I would guess Manu is done after this season even if Timmy stays a couple more years and oh yeah I forgot about JA’s girl

  • ThatBigGuy

    Well, I just heard on ESPN that Houston is looking to trade the picks for young veteran bigs. If that doesn’t describe SplitterBonner/Blair, I don’t know what does. Looks like They may be placing more worth on Splitter than I originally anticipated. I hope the Spurs have some bigs they like in that mid 1st round range.

  • ThatBigGuy

    Well, I just heard on ESPN that Houston is looking to trade the picks for young veteran bigs. If that doesn’t describe SplitterBonner/Blair, I don’t know what does. Looks like They may be placing more worth on Splitter than I originally anticipated. I hope the Spurs have some bigs they like in that mid 1st round range.

  • STIJL

    http://www.hoopsrumors.com/2012/06/hawks-hire-danny-ferry-as-president-gm.html

    Ferry new president-gm of Hawks. What could this mean regarding Danny Green and/or Spurs trade scenario’s. Is Ferry leaving with good standing between himself and Spurs organization?

  • SargeSmash

    Man, I’d _love_ it if the Spurs got Moultrie. Saw him at a couple of games, and he’s a beast. Of course, towards the end, teams figured out all they had to do was pack the paint and make everyone else beat us. :P

  • lvmainman

    Randolph has produced. When Love was out for a 6 game stretch and Randolph got his playing time, he avg’d like 20 pts and 9 reb a gm. Including a 20 pt, 10 reb, 5 blk game. He can play, if the coach lets him.

  • lvmainman

    Kaman is pure garbage. I’ve watched him play for the Clippers on a nightly basis. He can’t play. I saw the game when the Hornets played the Fakers without Kobe. The Hornets were up 8 pts with 4 min to go and kept going to him as an offensive option and they never scored on those 3 straight possessions. Bynum blocked his shot, then Artest stole the ball from him, then Gasol blocked his shot. The Hornets lost the game, no thanks to Kaman. Kaman is worthless for a good team. Serviceable on a sorry team.

  • DNITCH24

    Hoopshype reported that the Spurs are likely to handle his departure in house with the remaining front office. Who else are we/ have we lost even?

  • DorieStreet

    Big challenge for Ferry to get Hawks out of their franchise-history 2nd-teir league status and achievements (except for the 2000′s decade when the team was in its sub- .500 doldrums). Will Danny send Josh Smith the Spurs’ way?.

  • DorieStreet

    Spurs need to get serious about LAT (Life After Tim). In addition to getting a good SF, they need to look at the center position also. Can they pick up one of the guys coming out this year (Hamilton, Leonard, Sacre, Stutz)?

  • DorieStreet

    Chauncey Billups played for 4 teams in his 1st 5 seasons before becoming a Piston.
    Sometimes the road to success takes more time and struggle than anticipated.
    Randolph will turn 23 next month. I feel he needs to get on with a winner.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Pop is good coach but his decisions more than sometimes gets to me. He just doesn’t trust some of his players come playoffs. If that’s the case get rid of them if they are no use to him, but instead he rides them and then puts them on the shelf come playoffs. Hill, Blair, Splitter. And elects to give Bonner major minutes until the obvious materializes. That’s my
    vitriol.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Honestly Ferry just came back for a job to fatten his CV. I don’t see where he excelled.

  • Titletown99030507d

    If you play on crappy team then it all makes sense. But for just what he has to offer is way better than Bonner and Blair.

  • STIJL

    That would be top of my wish list to happen. But I’ve tried what I would think to be viable options to get Smith in a trade and don’t see the Spurs having any means of doing so. It would take Buford at his best to pull that one off. ;)

    Possible scenario…sign and trade Diaw, include Blair for Smith?

  • STIJL

    Sounds typical for the moment. Not sure who else Spurs have lost but have heard (can’t remember exactly) of others in the staff being considered for positions outside the Spurs organization.

    But that happens every year. Successful teams breed staff for other teams.

  • Tyler

    And I’d argue Chauncey is the exception, not the norm.

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