UNDER CONTRACT: F-C Tim Duncan, G Manu Ginobili, G Tony Parker, G-F Stephen Jackson, F Boris Diaw, C Tiago Splitter, F Matt Bonner, G Danny Green, F Kawhi Leonard, G Patty Mills, G Cory Joseph, F DeJuan Blair, G Gary Neal
DRAFT PICKS: G Nando de Colo (2009)
FREE AGENTS: None
MOVES: The Spurs approached free agency the way men approach a mall. They didn’t browse or waste hours walking around and looking. They walked in knowing what they wanted, made their purchase, and left. GM R.C. Buford took care of his shopping very quickly, re-signing all of his free agents. Danny Green got a three-year, $12 million deal, a fair price for a young guard who played way above expectations during the season but wasn’t entirely up to the challenge of the postseason. Boris Diaw, added last season after he was bought out by Charlotte, receiving a two-year, $9 million deal. Guard Patty Mills, also added during the season, was kept around with a two-year contract. And franchise face Tim Duncan was re-signed to a three-year, $30 million package. Duncan’s deal has a third year player option and was slightly less to the one Boston gave Kevin Garnett; both future Hall of Famers are aging but enjoyed renaissances last season, when they made more than $20 million. Buford did add one new face, signing French guard Nando de Colo to a two-year deal. All this was done while keeping the payroll below the luxury tax threshold, an important aspect to owner Peter Holt. Late in the offseason, the Spurs made a pair of management moves. They added former player Ime Udoka as an assistant to replace Don Newman, who left for Washington. And Buford hired former Jazz and Knicks executive Scott Layden as assistant GM to replace Dennis Lindsey, who left for Utah.
TO-DO LIST: Buford doesn’t have much else to do. Both DeJuan Blair and Gary Neal have team options on their contracts, and Blair – who started during the regular season but collected DNPs as the playoffs progressed – has expressed concern about being traded. That seems less likely now that stretch-4 Erazem Lorbek – whose rights were acquired in last year’s George Hill deal – signed a new three-year deal with Spanish powerhouse Barcelona. Stephen Jackson was told upon his arrival last season that he is not getting a contract extension. Buford has to decide what to do about Manu Ginobili, now 35 and entering the last year of his deal. Second-round pick Marcus Denmon signed to play in France, meaning San Antonio has an open roster spot.
PROJECTION: In each of the last two years, the Spurs have had the best record in the Western Conference and come up short in the postseason. There is no reason to believe that this core would not be among the NBA’s top teams next season. Yes, the “Big Three” are getting older, but they are no older than the collections in Boston, New York and Los Angeles and still have something in their tanks. As we say every year, dismiss the Spurs at your own peril.
(RELATED: What grade did the Spurs get?)
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