San Antonio Spurs History
Once again, the San Antonio Spurs head into an offseason full of regret and discontent, after failing to defend their NBA championship. Finishing the season at the top of the Southwest Division with a record of 63-19, they eventually lost to division rival, the Dallas Mavericks, in the Western Conference Semifinals.
The San Antonio Spurs showed stellar play throughout the season despite Tim Duncan battling through injury. The backups, who could start for any other team in the NBA, helped carry the load. Some of those coming in were Michael Finley, Nick Van Exel, and Brent Barry. In a division with the Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, and the Houston Rockets, having role-players who can contribute immediately were vital in their run for a championship.
Heading into the offseason, the San Antonio Spurs won’t be making any major changes since ten players remain under contract. The only contributing player who becomes a free agent is center Nazr Mohammed. The fact that he fell out of the playing rotation in both the first round and the conference semifinals likely means negotiations won't be easy for his agent. It may also mean Mohammed won't even want to return.
A replacement could be Argentine Luis Scola. The Spurs have his NBA rights, and may be able to buy him out of his deal with Tau Ceramica of the Spanish League. Lithuanian Robertas Javtokas, whose NBA rights the Spurs also have, also is a possibility. Ian Mahinmi, their 2005 first-round draft pick, will be in their summer league, but is more apt to return to France for another year of development. Nick Van Exel has also announced his intent to retire. After his playoff performance, few Spurs fans will beg him to reconsider.
Even though the San Antonio Spurs lost in the playoffs, the team’s core players are entering their prime and it looks as if the San Antonio Spurs will remain as one of the best teams in the league for years to come. Tim Duncan was his usual, dependable self. Even though injuries contributed to his career low 18.6 scoring average, he still managed 11 boards and 2 blocks per game. Duncan will make nearly $20 million a year for four more years. Manu Ginobili also has four years left at about $9.5 million per season. He missed 17 games due to injury, but he still managed dependable numbers. The team's MVP, Tony Parker, had a career year by scoring 18.9 point per game to go along with 5.8 assists and shot an incredible 54.8% from the field. The Spurs have Tony for five more seasons at a total of $57.6 million.
Despite having such a talented and dependable group of players, the San Antonio Spurs can not simply sit back and relax because the rest of the league is gunning for them and will tweak their teams just to beat them. Possible issues on the San Antonio Spurs’ agenda for next season could be finding players to match-up better with the Dallas Mavericks, and maybe luring a free agent who would join the team for a smaller amount of money like Michael Finley did the season before.
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