The San Antonio Spurs just won’t go away. Gregg Popovich led the Spurs within one game of their fifth NBA Championship with a combination of their star trio and several young role players who have completely bought into the direction of the franchise. The team has a few key free agents this NBA off-season and their number one priority should be keeping their core in tact.
San Antonio Spurs (58-24 last year)
2012-13 Season Summary:
People keep waiting for the San Antonio Spurs to finally fall off in the Western Conference but the exact opposite happened. The dynasty nearly added a fifth NBA championship but lost in seven games to the Miami Heat in a thrilling Finals.
The veteran trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli did the heavy lifting for Gregg Popovich who played it smart and rested them enough during the regular season to keep them healthy for a playoff run. However, it was the development of younger guys like Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Tiago Splitter, and Gary Neal that really put this team over the edge. Those four guys played their roles to perfection in Popovich’s system which has been a huge reason the franchise has been able to play at such a high level for the past sixteen years.
2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:
C: *Tiago Splitter/^Boris Diaw
PF: Tim Duncan/Matt Bonner/Aaron Baynes
SF: Kawhi Leonard
SG: Danny Green/*Gary Neal
PG: Tony Parker/Cory Joseph/^Patrick Mills/Nando de Colo
NBA Free Agents:
G/F-Manu Ginobli (UFA)
PF-DeJuan Blair (UFA)
SF-Tracy McGrady (UFA)
*C-Tiago Splitter (RFA)
*SG-Gary Neal (RFA)
^PG-Patrick Mills (PO)
^C-Boris Diaw (PO)
2013-14 Team Salary: approximately $49.2 million
1. Re-sign Ginobli: Ginobli turns 36 years old this summer and while his production is steadily declining, he is still an integral part of the Spurs’ dynasty. There is little doubt that he will return to the San Antonio Spurs and finish out his career alongside Duncan, and at this point of his career, he should re-sign for a hometown discount and not be overly demanding as a free agent.
2. Extend Neal: The Spurs aren’t known for making big splashes in free agency or with major trades, they prefer developing their own talent and Gary Neal is the perfect example of that. He has been a very valuable reserve the past two seasons and will be a restricted free agent this summer. Neal is due a nice pay raise from the less than a million dollars he made this past season and the Spurs should extend him before some other team offers him a hefty deal that San Antonio wouldn’t want to match.
3. Size: With Splitter a restricted free agent and Diaw holding on option on his contract, the Spurs need to sure up their frontcourt depth. Extending Splitter should be on their “to-do” list but only if the price is right. If some team offers him an overpriced contract thought, San Antonio might be forced to let him walk and turn elsewhere for a post player to put alongside Tim Duncan.
OTHER NBA TEAM NEEDS PAGES:
Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
New Orleans Pelicans
New York Knicks
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David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.