The San Antonio Spurs officially announced the signings of free agents Manu Ginobili, Marco Belinelli, and Jeff Pendergraph Thursday. General Manager R.C. Buford spoke with the media Wednesday afternoon about the signings of the three players, the anticipation of re-signing Tiago Splitter and he said there’s still a chance restricted-free agent Gary Neal could return to San Antonio.
“We’re in a position now where we have roster space and the ability to make a decision when Gary finds what his market is whether he fits us or not,” said Buford of the possibility of Neal returning to the Spurs.
“The ability to play multiple positions makes him an attractive player to move forward with,” continued Buford of Neal. “With restricted free agency we have the opportunity to allow him to find where his market is and make the decision.”
With 14 roster spots taken now, the 15th spot could be reserved for Neal if the price range is right for he and the Spurs.
On Ginobili, Buford said even in Ginobili’s latter age, he still brings the Spurs an element to the court that isn’t so easily replaceable and said Ginobili made a sacrifice pay-wise to re-sign with the Spurs.
“He’s been the heart and soul of our team for many years,” said Buford of Ginobili. “He made a significant sacrifice to comeback and join this group.”
There was a report claiming Ginobili said the Spurs’ management had second thoughts initially about brining Ginobili back, but Buford said “not from our side” when asked if the Spurs had any second thoughts about bringing Ginobili back. “I think Manu had spoken openly,” continued Buford of Ginobili’s comments.
“He was still in the top 25% of guards in PER,” said Buford of Ginobili. Buford continued saying he’s not looking forward to the day when Ginobili isn’t playing with the Spurs, because it’ll be tough to replace what Ginobili brings to the court.
With Splitter, Buford said the Spurs knew Splitter would be a big man in demand on the market and the Spurs had to be a bit more aggressive in their negotiations.
“We recognized this wasn’t going to be a casual negotiation,” said Buford of re-signing Splitter.
With Belinelli on board, Buford explained what he will be bringing to the floor. “It’s a great addition to our team,” said Buford of Belinelli. “He fits the way we play.”
Buford said several members of the Chicago Bulls, Belinelli’s former team, commented that Belinelli is a “player that impacts winning.” Buford also said the Spurs were impressed with “his attention to both sides of the floor.”
Finally, on Pendergraph, Buford said new Spurs assistant coach Jim Boylen was one significant reason why the Spurs added Pendergraph.
“Jim Boylen coached him the last two years in Indiana and was very high on him,” said Buford of Pendergraph. “He’s a very physical player. He can play the four and the five.” Buford also said Pendergraph has solid passing ability and can stably shoot an 18-foot jumper, only he didn’t have opportunities to showcase his skills in the past.
With the Western Conference reshaping itself, especially in the Southwest Division with the Houston Rockets adding Dwight Howard, Buford said the move was a factor in the Spurs bringing Splitter back and adding the physical Pendergraph.
I said it last year I'll say it again! WE ARE JUST FINE! We have what it takes to win a championship, few things have to go our way like if we get any of these defensive rebounds in game 6 or Kwahi makes a free throw. We added another perimeter play-maker/shooter in Belli and a good defensive player at 4 position who has the quickness to defend more atheltic 3s and 4s. Think about the improvement of Kwahi and Danny and Corey and.... Our team will be even better since we are playing much better defense. I expect us to be back in the finals and compete for a championship again.
Spurs being Spurs. Retention of key pieces and acquisition of talent that has potential to thrive in a role given the right opportunity. Character over characters. It’s what the Spurs have built around for some time now (also, a few first ballot hall of famers hasn’t hurt either)
Speaking of good fits for the team though – I hope the front office is at least talking to free agent SF Joe Ingles. He defends, shoots well, is a talented passer, possesses good athleticism and fits the right character profile. He’ll likely be offered better money in Europe than he will get in SA, but I doubt the Aussie export turns down the chance to play on a championship contender with Brett Brown, Patty Mills and Aron Baynes. Could be a good get for us.
I always play close attention to what Buford says about players. It brings clarity to some of the Spurs moves that puzzle many of us. What's interesting here is that the Spurs FO is obviously not done dealing yet. We have one just roster spot left, but a shuffling of players through sign and trade doesn't seem out of the question.
@jaws3 Those better be some hell of a moves, because so far I am unimpressed with what they have done in free agency. Pendergraph couldn't even play for the lowly Pacer bench, so how is he going to do so much here. Now I here AK just signed with the Nets for 2 years 3.1 M, according to Peter Vecsey. The FO couldn't get a deal like that done here. No wait, they too busy trying to bring back NO DEFENSE, NO DRIBBLING G Neal. Bad enough they get rid of Capt. Jack right before the playoffs start, but I guess Kawhi didn't need no help with possibly Durant or LeBron. Yeah right. Unbelievable!
@Sirrue @jaws3 Now that the news of Kirilenko being signed by the Nets for just $3 million has been confirmed, I have become very salty about the summer moves. It's not about signing the biggest FA available either; several of those players are being grossly overpaid per year and by length of contract. I appreciate the Spurs FO having sanity about that, but it just doesn't feel like we got any better.
BTW, I was bitter about the Jackson waiver at the end of the season. There were a couple of moments during the Golden State and Miami series where I felt his toughness and versatility would have made a difference for 5-10 minutes during a game.
@Sirrue The Spurs kept the team intact from the previous season (2011-12) and it got them to the NBA Finals and close to a Game 6 championship. They dropped Stephen Jackson and it got them to the NBA Finals and close to a Game 6 championship. Maybe the Spurs should fire their front office and bring you in. You seem to know what it takes to win a championship.
@Sirrue You're so wrong dude. Even with Kobe lakers would never stand a chance. Don't call it "your" Spurs. You've just undermined the best front office in the league.
@Kaiyotee First of all, my Spurs didn't get that close to a championship by simply dropping Capt. Jack. They benefited from injuries to Lakers-- Kobe, Nash,and Blake, Warriors-- Curry, Lee,and Barnes, and most importantly OKC's Westbrook. So we didn't have to face OKC in the WCF. Secondly, there is no guarantee that keeping the team intact--with a few minor tweaks--will have the same results this year. The next 2 years are the Big 3's final rodeo together and they need all the help they can get. Not proven dead weight like Neal. As a Spur fan in Big D, I watched game 6 after getting home from work at 1 AM. I will never forget at the start of Miami's 4th quarter comeback, watching Neal in the paint on D while Miller--his man--swishes a 3 with 1 shoe on. 10 point lead down to 4 in the bat of an eye. Finally, the Spurs don't have to fire PATFO to replace them with me, but they are not infalliable. The end of regulation in game 6 speaks for itself, so excuse me if I don't put on Spurs' colored glasses and act like they walk on water. I took the last 2 games losses as hard as any Spur's fan did and only want the Big 3 to cap their careers as Champs once again.
@Sirrue AK-47 had ties with the Russian owner, According to reports, AK was asking about 8mil from the spurs. NO way spurs would have been able to get him for 3.1 mil price.
@ShyCaptain There were rumors that there is an under the table 7 mil. on that contract. Punk ass russian mafias.