Spurs out, but not down quite yet
Did the San Antonio Spurs look like a dying team to you?
This is a most peculiar time of year in the NBA. We've spent the last month praising each team that advances in this protracted postseason, but, at the point when one team is eliminated, we begin to talk only of vulnerability and inevitable change.
"So when you lose, you have to make changes," said Spurs coach
Well, Pop, superficial analysis is what we do. And, so, in the wake of the Spurs' 100-92 elimination-game defeat to the Lakers Thursday night at the Staples Center, the focus was on the future. Through late April and much of May, we talked of the Spurs'
Though the Spurs were understandably crusty about perceived weaknesses in their roster, it's a mortal lock that, in the coming weeks, they will be talking about the same thing. They are one of the few franchises that truly subscribes to the idea that winning a championship is an annual goal. So, yes, they will do some tweaking and tinkering -- "We always do," says Popovich -- to see if they can find the formula to continue their every-other-year pattern, having won titles in '03, '05 and '07.
San Antonio is, famously, one of the most fiscally responsible franchises in pro sports. Though they have a championship-caliber team, the Spurs have only the 12th highest payroll (about $70 million). So to compare their offseason efforts to rejigger the roster with, say, what the New York Knicks have to do is absurd. But in Alamo City there will be, if not blood, then at least change.
The key thing to remember, though, is that it will not be cataclysmic change. There are no doubt morons in the general populace who will suggest that, given
Don't even think about it. At this time of year, we tend to think about players who have been together for a while as ancient. But
The perennial fourth spoke in the Spurs' wheel,
Token fifth starter
So that's a damn solid nine. The hardest decision for the Spurs will be whether to re-sign swingman
In summary, then, the Spurs will be looking to get a little more athletic on the perimeter and maybe pick up a back-to-the-basket scorer to complement Duncan. But what team doesn't want those kinds of additions? Yes, the West will be tougher than ever, particularly with the addition of
Yes, you do.