NBA: So you want to be a sports wagerer...huh?? You had better have a cast iron stomach, because if you let it, sports capping can ruin your health. Case in point, with about half the third period over...the Thunder, yes the Thunder are up by 7. Same club that a couple of days ago got DESTROYED by this same Spurs club.....Absolutely NUTS. We will see,...but Damn.
37. DeJuan Blair, PF, Pittsburgh
ACL or no ACL, this is the steal of the draft. Blair would have been picked in the mid-teens if this whole knee issue never came about. With the Spurs dealing Kurt Thomas and Fabricio Oberto, a tough low-post presence like Blair is exactly what they needed. (Pick Grade: Love It)
51. Jack McClinton, G, Miami
With George Hill and Roger Mason already in San Antonio, I don't see where McClinton fits on their roster. He is a talented scorer and a good value here, but they may have been better served going after another post player. (Pick Grade: Don't Get It)
53. Nando de Colo, PG, France
We will have to wait and see if this is another foreign find for the Spurs. Seeing as they have Hill, Mason and McClinton now, this was definitely a long-term thought. (Pick Grade: Meh)
2009 NBA Offseason Transactions:
Spurs sign SG Keith Bogans
Mavericks sign PF Drew Gooden
Spurs sign C Theo Ratliff
Spurs sign C Antonio McDyess
Spurs acquire SF Richard Jefferson for SF Bruce Bowen, PF Kurt Thomas and C Fabricio Oberto
2008-09 Season Summary:
The Spurs played up to par this season but it was obvious that their run under the Duncan/Parker/Ginobili era is coming to an end. San Antonio won 54 games and took the Southwest Division title but lost for the first time in the opening round of the play-offs since 2000. Duncan's dominance is fading and without Ginobili in the post season it was apparent Parker can't be the number one scoring option on a team that will be a title contender. Roger Mason stepped up to be one of the bright spots of the season as a reliable clutch situation shooter.
2009-10 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Tim Duncan/Theo Ratliff/Ian Mahinmi*
PF: Antonio McDyess/DeJuan Blair/Marcus Haislip/Matt Bonner
SF: Richard Jefferson/Michael Finley*
SG: Roger Mason/Manu Ginobili/Jack McClinton/Keith Bogans
PG: Tony Parker/George Hill
NBA Free Agents:
PG Jacque Vaughn (UFA)
SF Ime Udoka (UFA)
SF Michael Finley (PO)*
C Ian Mahinmi (RFA)*
2009-10 Team Salary: Approximately $65.9 million
2009-10 Expected League Salary Cap: $57.3 million
NBA Offseason Needs:
1. Start the Youth Movement - The Spurs roster had an average age of 30 last season and most of those players are on the downside of their careers. If the Spurs re-sign Finley (and let's be honest at $2.5 million per season they'd be stupid not to) they would be going to war with 6 players over the age of 32 logging at least 12 minutes per game. If that doesn't scream "nagging injuries" I'm not sure what does. If the Spurs stand pat, they are likely only a Tim Duncan season ending injury away from becoming a .500 team.
2. Find the Heir Apparent to Tim Duncan - Tim just turned 33 a couple months back and has played nearly 40,000 minutes of meaningful professional basketball which is already more than David Robinson played in his entire career (about 38,500 minutes). Duncan's legacy has already been etched in stone but if he wants to extend his career, he is going to need a young stud to tutor while he also uses him as a crutch. The window for this being able to happen (and for Tim Duncan to be able to drift away rather than fall off the proverbial cliff) is closing fast. If Duncan's replacement isn't on the roster within the next 18 months, he won't ever be.
3. Set the Course - The Spurs are at a crossroads this off-season. They have the choice to ride things out and let their aged roster get old together and likely retire together (which means this past season was their last season of having a chance of getting out of the first round of the play-offs) or they can shake things up and look to give the team a makeover. The Spurs front office is savvy enough to be able to pull the trigger on a deal that would be a major roster shake-up but still remain competitive, however they realistically only have one piece to move: Tony Parker. Parker is 27, in the prime of his career, has a not great but not terrible contract that expires after 2011 and is one of the best pure point guards in the game. Parker's price tag is only going down after this off-season. Right now he could likely fetch a mid range first round pick plus some young players still in their rookie contracts.