A common dilemma facing contending teams is when to use resources to keep the team in contention versus knowing when to sell off pieces to help you rebuild for the next championship window.
The Chicago Bulls have felt that it is always better to trade an aging superstar or a key role player a season or two early as opposed to having them retire a Bull, Scottie Pippen’s time with the Portland Trailblazers and the Houston Rockets providing proof.
David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili are examples that the San Antonio Spurs don’t subscribe to that philosophy and are focused on winning as many titles as possible with their current core players.
During an a recent three day trip over to the Philippines with the NBA Cares program, Spurs' Matt Bonner provided spoke with a handful of scribes after an activity with the kids at the Mall of Asia Arena.
One of topics addressed was the window for the Spurs to get another championship banner. Bonner stated that the Spurs’ attention to fundamentals and acquisition of players with high basketball IQ are practices that ensure the team will field a consistent title contender in the near future.
“Every year, people would always say that we’re too old but we always proved them wrong “
The Spurs lack of turnover in the front office's two main key spots (head coach, owner and general manager) provided the team with the discipline to stick with their blueprint. By not having to look over their shoulders, the front office was able to bring in players who not only compliment their core players but also able to carry the load when needed. Making the right basketball play, regardless of what it does to a player’s statistics, has always been a top priority for the Spurs. Either players did this or they would find a seat on the bench away from Coach Popovich . This philosophy helped the Spurs maintain the excellence that was started with the first title team in 1999.
So Spurs’ fans, how do feel about the notion that the Spurs’ championship window is rapidly closing?
Ummm, the window will be closed when #21 retires. Bonner knows this. The world knows this. Doesn't mean Spurs won't be competitive. I like the Euros we've stashed and especially love Kawhi. I would think we'll see more solid picks next two years in the draft. I wouldn't be surprised if the Spurs are serious contenders as early as 4-6 years after TD retires. A lot depends on draft picks, how our Euros develop, how Kawhi develops and how some young guys on our roster develop. That said, rebuilding is inevitable. Only issue is: "how extensive will it need to be?" I don't see it being as dramatic or profound as...oh, what the Lakers have to do now. But I also think Pop and RC look at Boston and have to ask: "What can we do to NOT be in that bad a position 2 years from now?"
In addition, it's one thing to compare D-Rob, TD, Manu to greats from other teams, but to put Bonner on the same list as D-Rob, et, al? Ummmmm, no. They are the EXCEPTION for the Spurs. The modus operandi has been to keep bringing in guys who gel and fit with the stars and centerpieces. I'm amazed Bonner has lasted this long. He is what he is: A periphery guy.
I think Kawhi has the making of someone who will be 'once a Spur always a Spur' as long as the Spurs culture (front office) remains the same....but Bonner fits more along the lines of Rasho, Nazr and countless others whose names I forget-guys who served a purpose but eventually were let go when a better compliment to the Big 3 came along.