I'd argue that KL is much more than solid and several tiers above CJ, TS and Baynes. KL is the face and future of the Post TD/Manu era. Leonard has All Star potential-a hybrid between Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. That's rare.
I don't think when TD and Manu retire that we can call Parker part of the 'future' as he will be in the latter stages of his career. He has TONS of mileage on those legs as it is. Basketball wise he is older than his biological age. I can see him retiring a Spur, signing for a reasonable amount as Manu and Tiago have done, and passing the torch on to KL much like TD passed the torch to him.
I think we've just about seen Tiago's ceiling, though I think he'll be a bit more effective offensively this year. Baynes has a nice upside, but it's conjecture at this point.
Kawhi....that young man looked solid his rookie year, looked special last year, and during the playoffs came of age and looked verrrry special. As long as he remains healthy, I think the sky is the limit for Leonard.
I actually think the FO is doing a good job preparing for the Big 3 sunset...
1. focusing on winning NOW, a real chance to now blow the way Dallas did by milking every bit of competitiveness out of the big 3. I mean, wasn't it GREAT to be on national TV playing in the finals versus being anyone of the other 26 (?) teams sitting at home watching someone else in the finals???
2. Modestly upgrading along the way with solid not spectacular youth (KL , CJ, TS, Baynes, etc).
3. And keeping payroll flexibility to be able to either pay for proven talent (KL definitely plus any other player that warrants an upgrade in contract salary) or really throw money at big potential FA.
Actually is rather admirable how we have a foot in all three ponds at the same time so to speak. Let's count our luck for such a admirable situation, yes?
We could have upgraded for the future if the RO was willing to take a few minor risks. MB could have left room for a Corey Brewer or Earl Clark, letting Tiago go could opened up room to sign a few young guys like Aminu, and filled in with Mohammed or Dalember, but the FO didn't want to plan for the future. I say this because the backups will, for the most part not be legitimate starters on a playoff team. So, we will have to hope next year a few roster slots open to bring in a few of the Euro player to see what we have, but now, when TD and MG pack it in, we have KL, maybe TP, CJ, and then what. Titles are won by either lucky teams, like the 2005 Spurs or the 2010 Mavs or the teams with such heavy talent that they are just better. So why risk being competitive in the future for 1 last shot at a title that would require an extreme amount of luck, as we were a good team, but not a super team.
It could be painful for a number of years without a lot of luck. I am more willing to have a chance to win it all, but not at the expense of being a lottery team for 3-7yrs. Look at Phila, and now Dallas. Toronto was once real threat, but that was 15yrs ago. So I hope the Euros are close to All Star caliber when they develop or we will not be very competitive with a few great players and a bunch of second rounders. I think this was the year to remain competitive while building for the future. Just my opinion.
Good job! Personally, I think Kawhi is the future along with Bertans, Jean-Charles and Hanga. I am encouraged by the new personnel hire which will give us another edge in finding talent. And somewhere in the world right now, there is a point guard, a big playing either here or somewhere in Europe, that will also be a part of our future. Re-building is inevitable, but I don't see it being as dramatic as most teams experience because of our front office guys and their ability to find and develop talent. We'll need a top tier FA after TD and Manu retire, but I'm not convinced we need to hit the lottery jackpot (#1 pick) again to maintain excellence. It would be nice to get another TD, but the NBA is changing from an inside-out to an outside-in league. Length on the perimeter and guys in that 6-5-6-10" range who can play 1-2 (or 3) positions. Our Euros fit that mold, our draft fit that mold and our offseason moves fit that pattern. I think they'll keep finding guys.
It is a interesting situation we as Spurs fans face (while I'd like to be part of the front office these decisions would have me losing hair like crazy). I don't see a major trade coming. If there were my money would actually be on TP being the trade bait (crazy I know). I don't think we would get equal value for Danny Green as he is probably underpaid (will we be able to resign him when his contract ends?). In a few years we are going to have to find players to replace irreplaceable talent (how do you replace Timmeh?!?!?). I think we are going to hold on til the bitter end. In 2015/16 we will have a blank canvas with only 3 players under contract and only $8.5M on the books! An equally interesting question is when does Pop go drinking wine into the sunset....
The inflection point will be resigning TP and the replacement for TD.
Will the FO choose to start from scratch around KL and tank for a season, or, will they resign Tony and sign a big name big. 2 different paths. Also need at least 1, if not 2, of the euros to play a major role, hopefully as a starter. The future is still very bright.
@Ed in FL Ed! Good to see you here buddy! I agree on all counts. FO are just a smart bunch
@jojo707 One thing we have to consider as Spurs fans is that it's not always common for us to hear about all the players Spurs reach out to. I'd be surprised if several of those you mentioned didn't actually get some sort of contact. Brewer in fact turned us down not long ago. I'm also not sure how ditching TS for older/ancient guys like Nazr and Samuel could be considered planning for the future. Their futures are almost certainly not as far reaching as TS' imo.
I do think the Spurs have been doing well preparing for the future by the influx of young guys like KL, DG, CJ and a near wealth of guys overseas bettering themselves now by getting real burn instead of watching from the 2nd row.
What I see is an FO that is trying to both look to the future while at the same time, keeping together a solid core that is still a contender. We should be glad that FO didn't break up a contender like the Mavs did only to have it doom the team when the FAs don't come. I think reloading on the fly is the continuing mantra, and imo it is do-able. That said, last year could very well have been our best shot at 5, but I'm hard pressed to not believe we have another decent shot this year.
@gymbear Thanks, friendo. I think you are right on re: our euros. I think all 3 you mentioned will make the team at some point, and contribute as well. The excitement factor should also increase with the influx of real athleticism.
I'm also of the opinion that this coming draft could be a good one with the addition of our new scout extraordinaire. Especially in a very deep draft year. Maybe we see another draft that the Spurs trade into the 10-15 range like with KL and pull another stud instead of the more common stashee.
I also concur on the likelihood of a reload vs rebuild, as well as the idea of a more perimeter oriented league. Dominant bigs just seem to have been dwindling since the 80s, and small-ball seems to be the result more and more.
@spursfan80 Thanks for the reply Mr 80. Send that resume in my friend. Hair is overrated anyway.
I agree with many of your points as I have many times before. I also don't see a major trade coming this year. I fall on the side of continuity and I actually believe the FO has bolstered the bench with the signings we did already make, even though it's likely to not be a BIG difference maker. Then again, I don't believe we really needed big changes..yet.
I also agree that DG would likely not bring in equal value as it stands now, and when DGs deal does expire, if he does garner much attention then, that pretty much means he has been ballin' in SA.
As for Pop, I envision him tilting wine glasses in the sunset as we speak. But seriously, I think it's the common opinion that he will retire along with TD.
@autrader1 Good post autrader1. There are indeed a few paths the team may take, and with all comes a gamble in my opinion. Some better gambles than others. The trick is to find the gamble most likely to succeed.
The draft avenue might very well be the even better bet at this point thanks to the new scouting coordinator Dave Telep joining RC in deciding which draftees are best suited for Spurs basketball. That combo could lead to even greater things than what RC has done without him. His reputation is that good.
It seems to me that the biggest gamble would be hoping to land that superstar in free agency that we all have hoped and prayed for a long time. Personally, I love this city, and have lived in enough other cities to know SA is a fine place to live considering its size. Unfortunately, it seems that many young NBA players might not feel the same way. And recent history has shown us that just banking on big name FAs to come straight over might be a fools errand (Im looking at you Dallas)
@Spursfan66 @jojo707 The chance of adding a few high potential young pieces meant not paying $9mil to Tiago. I like Tiago, but he is not the heir to TD position and therefore not more then keeping the group together for a last shot at #5. I think a number of experienced guys could have filled that role for the next 1-2 yrs. We have questionable options coming along on the roster. I think Baynes could turn put to be better Tiago, if we keep him, but most of us believe we need a backup for KL, and Aminu or Brewer may have been nice pieces, Brewer was interested on both occasions but we had spent our money both times and couldn't offer him much,same with many others. Yes, I believe the FO tries to add pieces but not at the risk of changing the basic roster. Why do we still have MB at 4mil ? Why do we have excess 1s and 2s. Do we need CJ, PM, NdC, MG, TP, MB,DG, Much of this is not planning for the future. The future may be CJ, Baynes, KL, DG- that it. The Euros have yet to be seen. I like Richards, but who knows when he will have a roster spot to learn to play defense in Austin, Hanga look good, but not an All Star type, Livio could be a very good player, but... I really like Bertrans but will gain weight, learn to move his feet on D. These are all big unknowns. My guess is that MG, if injured again, will retire after this year. TP may move on with TD retirement or TD will be even 30% less productive, so it really doesn't look to me we are doing more than going all in for #5, and hoping for luck in the draft and unproven Euros. I just would prefer fewer chips on #5, and more on 3 years from now.
@Spursfan66 @spursfan80 Good to yak at you 66! I too like our off-season signing as unflashy as they were. I know Pop has made it known he is out when Timmy is, but I'm curious if the allure of Kawhi could keep him around a little longer.
Have you noticed the players that are gone from the team (Blair & T-Mac) were the ones who supposedly would have won the series for us if they just got more playing time? Seriously, T-Mac admitted that he had been chilling on the couch getting fat when Pop asked him to join the team and he was going to be the one to put us over the edge for another banner?!?!
@Spursfan66 @autrader1 Perhaps that's part of the reason the Spurs like Euro players, if they are shown loyalty they seem to stick with their team, or at least they do for the Spurs. How many young American players once their rookie contract is up flock to a flashy metropolis or join a "super team" where their deficiencies are hidden? I don't know why, but SA seems to be a hard sell for players, even given their history and talent they currently have.
@jojo707 @Spursfan66 I think Tiago can be a serviceable big to go to when Timmy retires. He held his own against the big men of the Griz and Lakers during the finals. He does disappear sometimes, but I think if he were "the" big man for the team he would be forced to step up. He has the bb iq and finesse that Baynes lacks. I mean who in the entire league can replace what he does even close to 40? After the Big 21's retirement I think we are still a playoff team, and would really have to try and suck to hit the lottery.
Here's the problem with dumping salary and hoping on quality free agents and 66 mentioned this, but look at Dallas. They blew a championship roster only to waste the end of Dirk's career. I would rather have a quality team for Timmy's last season(s) and then we can worry about the future.
I hope if we make it back to the Finals next year that the entire team watches the disappointment and disbelief in Timmy's postgame interview. If that doesn't inspire them to destroy their opponent then I don't know what would.
@Spursfan66 @spursfan80 @gymbear I'm curious how much $ TP will get on his next contract. He will be around 33, so I don't know if he will command a huge contract or not. I guess it depends on our competition and how well he performs the next few seasons. KL will get a big payday, I just hope its from SA!
@spursfan80 @Spursfan66 @gymbear You could be right sf80. Although as it stands now the Spurs only have 8.5 million on the books on TS' deal in 2015/16 season when DGs deal is up. But who knows what that figure will be even after this season ends. Im sure KL will be getting a big payday that year, and if TP wants to stick it out after TD and Manu ride into the sunset, (if thats actually the year they do retire),he will command some duckets that year as well. 2015 is shaping up to be a significant year FA wise for several teams, and let's just hope Spurs FO can keep up with the likes of the Lakers that year given that right now they have as much $ committed to salary as Spurs do..not much at all.
Unflashy is a pretty good description buddy. Then again, SPURS aren't exactly known as flashy, so they might just be what the doctor ordered after all. If Beli can simply shoot at about the same % that Nails did, I think we definitely come out ahead because I expect Beli to bring better D that GN as well as ball handling and getting to the hoop.
Jeff is a bit more of a mystery thanks to a semi small sample size to judge from. But what I have seen is a hard nosed player that can move, hit the mid range, defend, and rebound. I honestly believe his ceiling is higher than Blairs, and have no doubt that he will take his role seriously where DJB just seemed not to at times.
Yes, I definitely noticed the comments from all the castoffs including Jax as well. I think it just goes to show how many players young AND old seem to overestimate their games. And there's no doubt that some of it was just plain sour grapes (Jax, DJB). Sad but true in my opinion.
@spursfan80 @Spursfan66 @autrader1 That could very well be part of the reason. I think we are lucky to have for so long a great bunch of guys in the locker room. That comradery is not a common thing for all NBA teams, and players know that. I think that has much to do with players sticking to our Spurs. Hopefully it will turn around a bit, and SA could become more of a desired destination for talent. Smart players should easily see the dedication this team has to winning and want to be part of that. I have a feeling that by 2015, this team will actually pull a big name in and hopefully keep us out of full rebuild mode. Reloading sounds SO much better!