The end of the line?

by

Zach Randolph likes to beat the drum like war.

For the fourth consecutive season the San Antonio Spurs lay among the conquered, and for a third consecutive season they lay among the ravaged and conquered.

When it comes down like this, what does one say? The Memphis Grizzlies were the better team. Lionel Hollins was the better coach. Zach Randolph was other-worldly. It sounds so canned, but there it is, and it’s true. The Spurs lost. There is no asterisk.

The Spurs have lost other playoff battles, but this one tastes different. Some questions suck the oxygen out of the room, and certainly tonight’s question does. Have the Spurs lost or have the Spurs finished?

Gregg Popovich is fond of reminding people that having a great record is not necessarily indicative of having a great team. Who could doubt him? I’d like to add that having young players is not necessarily the same thing as having a young team.

The Spurs are old warriors, and tonight they were more old than warrior, though they were very much warriors.  No one doubts their effort. After Memphis jumped on them in the first quarter, the Spurs didn’t fold. They kept coming back, but they could never come back all the way.

And that’s really the question we’ll have to spend the weekend considering: have the Spurs drifted too far from the champions circle to make it back again? Or, put more precisely, have these Spurs drifted to far from center?

The Spurs are well-positioned to remain competitive, even in the tight Western Conference. They’ve managed their cap well, they have useful young pieces, trade options, and their management is particularly skilled at making the most of free agency and the draft. But is anyone in San Antonio — whether fans, players or personnel — eager to play the role of playoff fodder? We’re all too spoiled for that.

Someone in the Spurs organization once told me the Spurs would be happy to win a couple championships every decade. I scoffed. How awesome would that be? There are only a few teams in all of sports who would set such lofty aspirations. But those are the standards the Spurs have set for themselves, and those are the standards we’ll hold them to. How then should the Spurs go about the business of their first championship this decade?

Perhaps it’s time to turn the page on the last decade and begin thinking more earnestly about the current one.

  • Sam

    In an interview during the summer we drafted him he said that he wanted to join the spurs before the 2011 playoffs started. The guy wants to come here and has a lot of confidence.

  • Sam

    Wishful thinking haha but I think the spurs can have a crack at CP3. How about this trade? http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=424bmno

  • Sam

    I think it’s possible to get CP3. http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=424bmno
    If the Hornets want more we can give them Dejuan Blair instead and a draft pick or two to spice up the deal and sign Carl Landry during the summer. Has the same hustle as blair but is taller and more skilled. If so, which there is a .0000001 % chance of happening, it would be highway robbery.

  • Sam

    Sorry It’s almost the exact same trade but I doubt the T-Wolves would take Matt Bonner for Anthony Randolph. In case NO wants more we can give them Dejuan Blair and draft picks instead of Bonner and sign Carl Landry in the summer as a replacement for Blair.

  • http://regularfan.blogspot.com/ Humberto

    Great read. Not sure where I would start, but I am all for allowing Tim Duncan to finish out his career with us regardless.

  • Bob

    You mention two things the Spurs should have done better. They should have tried to stay at home on shooters and attacked Randolph’s defense. They should have had Duncan attack Randolph probably through 4/5 pick and rolls and playing Splitter alongside him. One way to beat a team is to force their best players into foul trouble. If Randolph’s rhythm isn’t great because of foul trouble he can’t destroy you offensively.

  • Bob

    Landry is undersized and not great at rebounding or defensively. The Spurs have more than enough offense. They need better defenders. They need to be willing to sacrifice a little offense for better defense. As we’ve seen offense doesn’t win championships. If you have the ability to get a good shot on offense and play lock down defense you have a better chance of winning than great offense and bad defense.

  • Bob

    I’ve always thought a better passing point guard like Chris Paul could help the team. At the same time the Spurs played some of their best ball at the start of the year with Parker. Parker has to go back to where’s he’s pushing the break at every opportunity and Ginobili and Jefferson have to run with him. Parker himself can be a one man fast break. It also gets easy baskets for Ginobili and Jefferson. That’s how Jefferson was a 20 point scorer at the beginning of the season. People forget how effective they were. I am wondering if they stopped running because they got tired. Against the aggressive overplaying of the Grizzlies they should have used more backdoor cuts.

  • TD BestEVER

    same can be said of Splitter…..His low post game is Horrible to say the least……..So w/o him improving there how can he get better……..

    They both are PROJECTS that need a lot or work……..

  • TD BestEVER

    I know he is making 21 million………I’m saying if you trade 21million you have to take money/players back………at least 15 million or so…….125% or something like that………SO trading him will not get us under the Cap…………….Not even close

  • TD BestEVER

    Al Jefferson is better on D than Splitter………..I don’t care what the STATS show……I watch the games………

  • TD BestEVER

    Blair is TOO CHEAP to TRADE…………We are wanting either better players of less money in return………. YOU CAN’T GET MUCH BETTER OR CHEAPER THAN BLAIR………..If anything you trade Splitter for Thompson or something like that and save 1million dollars……….

  • TD BestEVER

    SPLITTER IS IN HIS PRIME………….Why would he need a PASS………When TD was in his Prime he didn’t get passes for poor play…..Or not being able to beat Shaq……. He got ripped……And Splitter Can’t stop Gasol…….. who everyone said he was better than…….LOL

  • Tim in Surrey

    This might sound like blasphemy but I’m with those who think they should rebuild the team. Frankly they should’ve done it a couple of years ago but Tim, Manu, and Tony had just enough in the tank to preserve the illusion that they could be a great team again. The fact is, though, that their ineffectiveness and injury issues will only increase. Those three–including Tony–have a LOT of mileage on their tires and it’s well proven that there’s only so much running up and down the court a body can take. And the rest of the crew are fine as complementary players, but none of them seem like stars in the making.

    The history of the franchise, until Tim Duncan came along, was of a team that was always good but never great. There’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s the sort of team that you want. It has been the history of the Phoenix Suns, too, and they’re a franchise I’ve always admired. And, y’know, bird in the hand, two in the bush, etc. The Spurs can resume that tradition with this group and maintain the status quo indefinitely, with the occasional fortunate trip to the conference finals every decade. Or they can look at why it really was that they managed to break out of the good-but-not-great tradition and reach the championship level: It’s because they won the draft lottery in 1997. Really the only way they’re going to get back to the top is through the draft, because–let’s face it–no young stars are likely to come calling as free agents. And that’s especially true as long as their payroll is so high. (To those of you who think Dwight Howard will come to the Spurs: Please… This is a public blog. Keep your fantasies to yourselves.)

    How to rebuild? Well that’s a more difficult question. They don’t have much in the way of trade assets that anyone covets. Trading Tony Parker is the one exception to that. It might be possible to trade him to a team in dire need of a top point guard. But the problem with that is that he’d help any team that wants him, which devalues their draft picks. The draft is always the best way to rebuild but they’re drafting at the end of the first round, as ever, and aren’t likely to really bottom out for quite a while. The only real solution, if you’re thinking of championships only, is to completely blow up the team. Right now. If you’re happy with a team that perennially makes the playoffs and contends for titles, then stick with the current plan.

    In the meantime, though, cheers to the guys for another fine year.

    Oh, and one more thing: I don’t like to make sweeping indictments, but anyone who thinks we should change coaches is just not thinking clearly. Pop was amazing this year, possibly his best coaching job ever.

  • Colin Rigney

    “TP blow in the post season”

    3 rings say otherwise. I’m not saying that changes aren’t in the works or hindsight isn’t 20/20, but you need to up your credibility here because you aren’t saying anything 90% of most other posters haven’t spewed/complained about for 3 yrs.

  • Colin Rigney

    “Who in the hell felt that this Splitter guy was a player? He should join Bonner. Even Mahinmi was better than this guy. Novak is better, and Blair is by far better.”

    Uhhh. No. Splitter can be a very good, dependable role player (maybe start) in this league if he works at it. His b-ball intuition far exceeds anything Mahinmi has put forth…..and Novak? C’mon, he hasn’t lasted with any team he’s played with, kinda like Mahinmi. Blair has a much lower ceiling than Splitter. Without a jumper, Blair has already hit his potential and has no room to get better.

  • jechalker74

    I like it! It would be a reminder to fans and players alike of what this franchise is about… what effort is needed from the players to win championships. He was a big reason for the success of the team.

    Timmy has always been the foundation but players like Bruce Bowen made the team an elite team in the past decade.

  • jechalker74

    Pop is just as much part of the equation as any player.

    With Pop we have one of the smartest coaches in the league. This season was not a typical season for him. The usual formula includes a slow start allowing him to mix rotations and find out exactly what he has on the roster.

    Unfortunately he made no changes and had a regular rotation of 10 guys. The result was a phenomenal regular season. By the time the rodeo road trip came around this year the Spurs had the best record and were over 9 games in front of the Lakers for the best record in the West.

    Usually the road trip gives the team an effort to refocus and regroup for the playoff run. This team didn’t get that due to the odd start. I think the team’s early success was the biggest issue for this team as the team was not completely focussed for the playoffs.

    Getting rid of Pop would be just as detrimental as losing a star player. He has a basketball mind that gives the team opportunity to succeed.

    For those who have lost their confendence in Pop please look at the series stats against the Grizzlies and tell me how the hell does a team manage to keep games within reach despite being:

    - beat on the boards
    - defended tight enough to hit 42% of shots
    - gives up over 50% shooting
    - battling deficits over 14 points or higher

    This coach we have is one of the best in the game. Usually he has an ability to read teams in a series and is full of adjustments. Unfortunately Memphis was a better team. They wanted it more, they hustled more, they put pressure from the tipoff and didn’t let go. They came in with nothing to lose. They had no expectations outside their locker room. Now the Thunder are leaning the lesson that the Spurs did in round 1.

    Pop has plenty in the tank. I think replacing him would be a foolish thing to do. I do agree that the team needs to take stock and have a think of the direction of where it is heading and decide where to go from here.

  • Aaronious2003

    I couldn’t agree more with every point made here, and I actually think that the current roster and situation the team is in means good things for the Spurs’ future: they’re completely flexible in making roster changes. We don’t have a single player we have to keep, so our options are wide open.

  • Anonymous

    Haha remember the whole Marc Gasol will never again shoot 9-10 from the field in a playoff game, well 9-11 ain’t to far off. Memphis is a quality team and they aren’t a traditional 8 seed. I think I read that they had one of the best records in the league since january.

    I don’t feel we need to make drastic changes. Can Tim opt out this year?? If so we should re work his contract so it’s like 24 million over 2 years (Everything he brings to the table is worth 12 mil per year.), with the second year only partially guaranteed. So if he retires at the end of next year, he still would get the same amount but it would give us more flexibility this year.

    Wow some people here talking about trading Tony and Manu and pretty much everyone else. Don’t care what anyone says Manu is a lifer and it would be a travesty to let a guy as valuable as he is to go. Only reason we should let him go is if we go sub .500, then I wouldn’t mind trading him to a contending team.

    Guys we’ve got a lot of quality young players who we can either build around or trade for other pieces. A guy like James Anderson, for instance, he was the big 12 conference most outstanding player. The previous 3 winners were Blake Griffin, Beasley & Durant, now I’m not saying he’s gonna be a star but I’d like to think that at least he can be a solid contributer (I think Tony Allen & Nick Collison also won it in the last 10 years.)

    Blair & Splitter are 2nd & 1st year players, respectively, in this league & I think they should be given more time to develop. We’ll have to see how Blair reacts next season to being benched for the last 2 games. If he comes back fueled by it then I’d like to keep him, and if he comes back sulking and moaning then trade him because that isn’t the type of player we need. Splitter showed he could contribute in spot minutes and after not being called upon for long times, so we’ll have to see with Blair. At the end of the day Randolph came into the league only playing around the basket and now has developed a jumpshot, same can happen for Blair because after all’s said and done you can’t teach what he’s got and thats rebounding.

    I don’t think we should trade Tony because we aren’t gonna get equal value in the trade. Atl are the only team that comes to mind who really need a PG to get over the top and they aren’t gonna trade Smith for him. They would be more likely to offer something like Hinrich and Marvin Williams. I think they value Smith very high and he is actually a huge part of what they do.

  • Mark B

    Well, I think the answer as to why the Spurs lost this year is becoming clearer. The Grizzlies are damn good, and they are playing an excellent team game. All of their key players got hot at the right time. It’s going to be a great story if the franchise that never won a playoff game before this year goes all of the ways to the finals. They are playing better than anyone else in the west at this point. If nobody gets nicked up, they’ve got to be the favorites at this point.

  • Rob

    I pretty much agree with all you said. The DeJuan Blair statement might be a stretch. I’m not so inclined to believe he can develop an outside shot, and unlike Randolph during his entire career, Blair has shown to get abused too often by taller quality post players in this league. I think Blair’s development won’t ever be more than a high energy guy off the bench who will need to be complimented on the court at the same time by another high energy taller post player who can defend the rim.

    Regarding a trade of Parker if that were ever to happen. (And is the most trade able player the Spurs have at this point). The team doesn’t need to get a DWill or CP3 though that would be the ultimate. Addressing the team’s needs of another athletic SF and tall, Strong post player to compliment Duncan (and the retirement of McDyess if that should happen)… A trade such as this example….please consider it’s only an example…

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=3te4tya
    would land the Spurs a viable PG and competitor to the SF ranks instead of just having Jefferson as the team’s only legit SF.

    The team is loaded at SG’s…any trades I would assume would have to include one or more of it’s SG’s. Neal proved to be solid his first year with tons of potential for improvement. Anderson’s youth and potential along with Tony’s experience and popularity may be enough to make such a deal happen.

    Anyway…just an example of how trading Tony for the right deal might be the best option for the Spurs. That along with focusing on getting that obvious need as well in the front court which probably would have to be done via free agency.

  • Anonymous

    Man, losing that series was devastating! I know in my heart of hearts that Memphis played better but I can’t shake the fact that if Manu would have played in Game One, even if he was nothing more than out there for the emotional lift, you wonder if they would have won that game and went on to win the series in 7? I hope that they can make some moves, some trades….so that Tim’s last year under this contract can be a winner.

  • Anonymous

    I sure hope that the Spurs can find some takers for Bonner and RJ. I have never posted the need to make trades on here before but Bonner sucks in the post season and RJ has a vagina in crunch time. Perhaps if the Spurs can hype up RJ as needing to be a #1 option, they can get some value for him. If they can trade Bonner to someone who will be a bottom feeder and needs scoring, perhaps they can get something for him as well. I am just crushed right now.

  • DorieStreet

    In retrospect the RRT provided an indicatior that this team would have trouble come playoff time.
    Spurs went 6-3 but lost the 1st and last games of the trip in convincing fashion to playoff bound teams. After scoring 30 pts. in the 2nd qtr @ the Blazers, the Spurs scored just 34 in the 2nd half and no one could stop or slow down LeMarcus Aldridge. In the Bulls game, SA fell behind after a few minutes and didn’t regain the lead until 5 minutes left in the 2nd qtr. They took a 1 pt lead, held it for 22 seconds, then where outscored 11-0 to fall behind by 8 and when into halftime down by 7. The Bulls kept the Spurs at arm’s length the 3rd qtr before pulling away near the end of that qtr to the end of the game. I watched it–you never got the sense that the Spurs could take control and comeback in the 4th.

    The rotation was only 9 players; after mid-December Splitter’s time on court was sporadic. For every game he might have logged 16 or more minutes, there were 2 more where he made garbage-time cameos of 4 minutes or less, then another 2 games where his line was DNP-CD. It was even worse for the 1st round draft pick Anderson–in uniform but DNPs, then a short stint for the Toros, then some of the season in street clothes and inactive–and this was after reports he had recovered from his injury.

    The Grizzlies were a better team in this series. Not only physically and emotionally, but mentally also. The playoff experienced team had it 3 best players combine for 55 turnovers in 6 games. Reserves who performed their roles efficiently, sometimes spectacularly, during the season wilted and disappeared when having to compete against the same team in consecutive games. And yes, the team managed to keep within reach during those 3 close losses, but the inexperienced team didn’t fold, stumble and err in the crucial last minutes.

    I only asked the question jechalker74 because dispite the great record, dissatisfaction with some elements of Pop’s coaching were being voiced on this blogsite all season long. And the criticism grew from game 1 of this series when it came out that despite official reports to the contrary, Manu Ginobili could have and wanted to play but Pop chose not to.
    Nearly all the fans (the rational ones) acknowledge and deeply appreciate all the success Greg Popovich has provided this basketball franchise. His name no doubt will be in the AT&T rafters (and maybe on a plaque in Springfield, Massachusetts too.)
    The makeup of this team will change drastically over the next three years; Pop will have to forge a new nucleus and team identity from among players know and unknown. Plus the approach, method, and maybe the style this team will have to adapt to return to being a legitmate championship contender might not be compatible to how he wants to do it.

  • DorieStreet

    You may be on to something there. The Hawks fanbase bemoans the fact that their roster always has a surplus of 6’6″ to 6’9″ players (although we need height, too.) Marvin Williams is more coachable than Josh Smith, and he has elements of a slasher/driver to the rim plus a decent mid-range shot.

  • mac

    The Lakers traded Shaq O’Neal, and ended up in the lottery, picking up Andrew Bynum.

    Getting into the lottery is not such a horrendous thing… just ask the Thunder and the Bulls.

  • mac

    Tony Parker has helped this team secure a .333 playoff record over the last 3 seasons. The Spurs must be more flexible in trading him than you suggest. Unless he’s gonna play next to a true current superstar or 2, his value is marginal. Let him be a sixth man somewhere else and try to get a couple lottery picks for him.

    Make a run at D12, but if that falls through, blow this thing up.

  • mac

    I was wondering where you’d weigh in on this. And I largely agree with you. Regarding Popovich, he did a great job during the season, but he deserves major demerits for believing so completely in Matt Bonner, and to a lesser extent Blair… did ANYBODY else in the world think we needed YET ANOTHER year with Bonner as the #2 bigman? Even Pop had to switch to the OBVIOUS strategy of playing Splitter in the playoffs, but due to Pop’s decision-making, Splitter was basically thrown to the wolves, having gotten so litlle development up to that point. Utterly foolish.

    As you indicate, the “Big 3″ aren’t gonna win in the playoffs going forward, so we need a coach willing play younger guys and live with the consequences. For that matter, we need a coach who is far less conservative with the roster in general… will that be Greg Popovich? I can’t say, but it is what is needed.

    Also, I hear what you say about trading Parker for picks. But so what, the status quo is too predictable. Try to stockpile as many first rounders (even mid first rounders, if it comes to that) as possible in addition to the neccessary lottery picks they are due to “earn” outright. But even so, there are several teams that Parker will not lift out of the lottery, even as he helps them.

  • mac

    I was wondering where you’d weigh in on this. And I largely agree with you. Regarding Popovich, he did a great job during the season, but he deserves major demerits for believing so completely in Matt Bonner, and to a lesser extent Blair… did ANYBODY else in the world think we needed YET ANOTHER year with Bonner as the #2 bigman? Even Pop had to switch to the OBVIOUS strategy of playing Splitter in the playoffs, but due to Pop’s decision-making, Splitter was basically thrown to the wolves, having gotten so litlle development up to that point. Utterly foolish.

    As you indicate, the “Big 3″ aren’t gonna win in the playoffs going forward, so we need a coach willing play younger guys and live with the consequences. For that matter, we need a coach who is far less conservative with the roster in general… will that be Greg Popovich? I can’t say, but it is what is needed.

    Also, I hear what you say about trading Parker for picks. But so what, the status quo is too predictable. Try to stockpile as many first rounders (even mid first rounders, if it comes to that) as possible in addition to the neccessary lottery picks they are due to “earn” outright. But even so, there are several teams that Parker will not lift out of the lottery, even as he helps them.

  • td4life

    Nope. The Spurs were due to get exposed by playoff basketball. I’m actually glad it didn’t come at the hands of the Lakers in the 3rd round, where their detestable fans would continue to dismiss the talents of Ginobili and Duncan as laughably inferior to their sainted Kobe with his 5 rings and counting. Even in the early part of the season, the Spurs struggled against conventionally constructed rosters like the Clippers and Wolves, as well as the Grizz. They beat the Lakers early (because Kobe tries to be the star scorer of his team, which should not be his role with this group), but things got real after the All-Star break to the tune of a split season series vs L A.

    Your dream of Duncan era miracle moves should have happened over the last year and a half, when defensive big men were on the block… now it’s just a pipedream.

  • Hobson13

    Great call. I mentioned him several months ago when he was on the trade block. He’s a big guy who is a decent athlete and can score some. Would be an immediate upgrade over Bonner and probably Dyess (even though he will prob retire) and Blair.

  • Tim in Surrey

    Sorry, but Randolph came into the league with a very nice mid-range jumper. Not saying Blair can’t develop one, but Randolph was bigger, had better hands, and a much more developed offensive game when he came in as a rookie. He just wasn’t very mature off the court and Portland was perhaps not the best place to mature in those days.

    The main point, though, is that I don’t think we do have a lot of quality young players we can build around. I’m sorry. Guys like Splitter, Hill, and Blair are good complementary players but they’re not building blocks. At least not for champions.

  • Hassan

    Agree on this one, If we trade TP we have to get somebody who is close & Hill is not that. I would try to get Rammon Sessions & Anthony Parker from Cleveland…..

  • Titletown99030507d
  • mac

    Count their media fanboys among the “detestable lakers fans”…
    Last night on SportsCenter, they recapped the Mavs Game 1 at Staples Center by showing shot after shot made by the losing team’s Bryant… and neglected to even show Dirk answering back to pull his team within 1 with 20 seconds left in the game! Neither did they highlight the Mavs incredible rally to win. Kobe missed the go-ahead winner, and they act like he’s the only story in the game.

    I don’t like Dirk when he’s playing against my team, but I sure do enjoy watching him play when he’s not

  • pastrypride

    I agree in a sense with what you say about Blair and Splitter. Blair didn’t improve as much as I’d hoped this season, and his height is a big reason. I think we should give Splitter another year or two. He barely got to play this year. Other international players have become productive after getting of to shaky starts in the NBA.

    I completely agree about Jefferson. I think in hindsight, giving him that big contract really hurt the team. It left us with no space. I would have much rather spent it on a tall 5 who can defend. Jefferson has been a totally average player for his entire time in San Antonio.

    Tony Parker is not Chris Paul, but he’s an excellent PG, probably top 5 in the league, and he’s mentally tough and doesn’t fall off in the playoffs. He’s just not suited to be a first or second option. As a third option, though, hell yes.

    Totally disagree about Neal and Parker. Neal’s a rookie for crying out loud. I think Hill is a very solid bench player. He won’t shut down many starting 2′s, but he’s a bench player who gets asked to check starters for long stretches because of Pop’s rotations. I think Hill is an above average combo guard coming off the bench.

    Agree about Pop and Bonner. I’ve disagreed with a number of Pop’s decisions lately, including sitting Manu for game 1. What was he saving him for? That was a playoff game!

  • Titletown990308507d

    I don’t care if he gets paid a dollar. He’s still a defensive liability and taking up precious minutes. Pop finally saw the light. Go with him to a gym and practice his outside perimeter shot and then he can play on this team and a lot. At least he’ll make points.

  • Titletown990308507d

    “But TD taking a pay cut to help finance POP’s/RC’s insanity is just DUMB……”

    Well then expect a crappy team for the next couple of years.

  • Titletown990308507d

    Yeah Timmy can take a back seat to someone better but who? And if that’s the case play Splitter at PF with the center who’s better than Timmy.

  • Titletown990308507d

    Whoever you get for Tony not named CP3, DWill is not going to be better than Tony. Period. Your insane. He still has MVP finals play in him. That’s just insane.Tell Pop to stop insisting to pushing the ball up the court every frikin time they inbound the ball. This is confusing GHill and Tony.

  • Titletown990308507d

    Bad back bad knee its still baaad! No excuses let’s move on with the fresh blood.

  • badger

    You say Tony is a below average defender. I will agree he is not a lock down, stud defender. However, Tony is average on D for NBA PG’s. Check out what Conley is doing to Westbrook/OKC, compared to what he did against the Spurs. To me, Hill, RJ, and Neal were disappointing on D much more than Tony was. Again, not saying Tony’s top notch, but he is average on D.

  • badger

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks TD has to give up some of his $$$. I know, he earned it, blah, blah, blah. But, the man has made a HUGE pile of money. It’s time to choose between having another pile that will do NOTHING to change his lifestyle and standard of living (and losing in the 1st round), or keeping the pile he already has, and having one last shot at ring #5.

    I said earlier in the year that Tim would be even more of a legend if he played next year for the veteran minimum. Hell, take the vetrean minimum and donate every dime to his favorite charity (cancer research, I believe).

    Unfortunately, his agent, and his ego will probably not let him choose the enlightened path.

  • badger

    Of course Duncan knows it. The real question is whether he will be like every other ridiculously well paid athlete and take the dollars, or whether he will be man enough to play for peanuts…and for the chance to win it all again. SA is a poor city. The man would be a legend forever if he was to forsake the almighty dollar, just one year of his life.

  • Dins444

    I bet you coach Pop will not make a trade just to get a first round pick.He likes to get experienced players that will retire soon..RC Bufford should read all our comments because they don’t listen.When Charles Barkley contradicted Spurs before trade deadline they just ignore it..Excuses of injuries when they lost to grizzlies,common make a good decision based upon what you hear and comments from your fans!!!!

  • Roi

    I think we don´t need the end of an era- talk just yet. After dominating the regular Spurs faced a mismatch- nightmare who won games at a great pace the whole spring. Not only was Memphis a good team and a bad matchup, they also played fantastic basketball. One can compare to the other spring sensation, the Nuggets, and how their play melted come postseason.

    Still the troubles are there, and they come down to two words; size, athletisicm. Pop, as the smartest guy the game has ever seen, knew that all along the way and thus and changed the approach to the game.

    I love Timmy ofcourse and Dice too, but with the backups Blair and Bonner there is a quartet with little speed and no air. As wily veterans and reknowned readers of the game I would be keen to keep Timmy and Dice, and skip the rest of the frontcourt. Splitter is a so-so case, but if Pop hasn´t trust inhim, then he´s probably not a solution.

    Two new guys could split the frontcourt minutes. The new bigs should have hop and legs and size. A find like Ibaka would of course be great, but a role player like Birdman Andersen also does wonders to ignite things. A solid grinder gone sidetrack like Andrins Biedrins would make Pop happy. Defense and grit spelled Varejao is another direction to go.

    The backcourt isn´t spoiled with size or athletisicm either. Manu as a genious is a sure keep. Manu is unique. But the backcourt needs variation ( and the bench doesn´t bring that either). Tony Parker is practically an undersized, dribble and drive SG with bad D. Though I like the frenchman I would part ways and call in a pass first floor general. And I´m sure Pop would love one.The problem is these floor generals don´t grow in trees. One way or the other, Kidd, Paul et cetera is out of reach. Maybe a three way deal that would bring Billups and a rotation piece? I´m not a fan of Chaunceys spells at Colorado or NY, but under Pop he could do better. The 3 shooting, size, leadership and D would upgrade at point with this trade as well as the better fit.

    And the big problem that crashed the SA dreams is RJ. In Wisconsin, he closed the perimeter, brought energy and rebounds, and created shots plus penetration. In Alamo..none of those.

    The SF position must be handled. A workable swap could be Linas Kleiza. A big body and a cleaver guy who makes the right decisions. And some scoring, which will be needed.

    So, bring in size and athletisicm to the rotation, and maybe change the philosophy of PG play, and the window is still very much open

  • Hurm66

    One thing to keep in mind is that the Spurs should have available cash after next season – even more if they bite the bullet and send TP to NY (where he wanted to go) for Billups. The amount coming off the books that summer would be staggering and at the end of the day – money talks.

    Why wouldn’t CP3 and Howard gravitate to where the money is? They can be the big two with solid pieces surrounding them (Hill, Splitter, Neal, possibly Blair and two veterans going for one last ring in Manu and a cheaper, resigned Duncan.) Notice I didn’t mention RJ who can be moved for another, slightly better warm body somewhere.

    Plus then Manu comes off the books allowing another to join in. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but 35 million plus off the books is serious coin (Duncan / Billups) – and the word is that the hard cap would be eased in so this flexibility would be a short window to keep the franchise going for another long run as contenders.

  • Vgomez2556

    i dont see the logic of waiting for 3 years for TIAGO SPLITTER to join the spurs and then make him sit on the bench for most of the season. he could have been the difference this season for the spurs. 

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