The San Antonio Spurs are one of the most successful teams in the NBA, but they may have finally given up on trying to beat the Warriors — and it appears as if their end goal is to start over. After landing LaMarcus Aldridge and David West — two of the most experienced players in the NBA — the Spurs made a few more additions: signing center Pau Gasol and forward Dewayne Dedmon.
The San Antonio Spurs are, by definition, the most consistent NBA team of the past decade. It would be hard to find a better example of a team that has mastered a uniquely successful and enduring approach to basketball. Since drafting Tim Duncan and Tony Parker in the 1998 NBA Draft, the Spurs have won at least 50 games each year. They have a highly successful long term, stable roster. They get the best players they want, and they don’t have to overpay them. They’ve drafted well. They develop talent. They have an excellent, winning coach. They make a lot of smart basketball decisions.
The San Antonio Spurs have been one of the better teams in the NBA for years. They have been an efficient, well-run organization, and generally knew how to manage the salary cap and surround their players with the best possible talent. However, after missing the playoffs for the first time in their history, the Spurs have decided to start making massive changes to their roster. Instead of hanging on to aging veterans and swing players, the Spurs have decided to start tearing down the roster. Why would they make such a decision after just making it to the playoffs?
The San Antonio Spurs had made the playoffs for 22 consecutive seasons prior to the 2019-20 season. During that time, the team won five NBA championships and made five more appearances in the Western Conference Finals.
Prior to two years ago, the Spurs had not made the playoffs since the 1996-97 season. They got the No. 1 overall choice in the draft and a man called Tim Duncan as a reward for missing the playoffs that year.
Gregg Popovich took over as head coach for the 1996-97 season and has been in charge ever since. The Pop Dynasty, though, appears to be coming to an end after missing the playoffs the last two years and piecing together the bread crumbs from this summer.
San Antonio appears to be hitting the reset button and blowing everything up.
During NBA free agency, the San Antonio Spurs shed age and salary.
The San Antonio Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, and Rudy Gay display symptoms of frustration during a game against the Denver Nuggets in the third quarter | Aaron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images
The Spurs last made the playoffs in 2018-19, losing to the Denver Nuggets in the first round. LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, and Rudy Gay were San Antonio’s top three scorers.
Last season, Aldridge announced his retirement. In a sign-and-trade deal, DeRozan was sent to Chicago. Gay signed as a free agent with the Utah Jazz.
Last season, the Spurs’ top three scorers combined for 56.2 points per game. They were also 100 years old and earned a total salary of about $60 million.
That doesn’t include Patty Mills (32 years old, $13.5 million), who recently signed with the Brooklyn Nets.
The Spurs’ youth movement started on draft night and lasted until free agency.
With the 12th choice in this year’s draft, San Antonio selected Alabama guard Josh Primo. Primo was the class’s youngest player, and he wasn’t even considered for the lottery in any mock drafts. That should’ve alerted everyone to what was going to happen.
Doug McDermott, a free agent sharpshooter, inked a three-year agreement with the Spurs. Dougie McBuckets is a 29-year-old musician. Bryn Forbes, a sharpshooting guard, was also returned to Texas by San Antonio. The terms of the deal are undisclosed at this time, although the 28-year-contract old’s is likely to be short and inexpensive. Both guys are older veterans, but they provide shooting and space to an offense that was severely lacking in that area last season. Low-usage additions like these work in well with a rebuilding roster.
In the event that no additional acquisitions are made, the two will be the Spurs’ oldest players in 2021-22.
With an eye on the future, San Antonio has become younger and less expensive.
I’d want to thank the Spurs organization and the fans in San Antonio for their unwavering support over the past three seasons. During my tenure with the Spurs, they lived up to their reputation as one of the league’s classiest organizations… pic.twitter.com/o1hyj7TAZe
August 3, 2021 — DeMar DeRozan (@DeMar DeRozan)
The Spurs’ active roster currently has an average age of 23.7 years. That’s before you add in Primo, who is 18 years old. According to NBA.com, that would have been the league’s youngest roster last season.
In the DeRozan sign-and-trade, San Antonio received Thaddeus Young and Al-Farouq Aminu. Both have contracts that are about to expire, which will free up almost $25 million in cap space next year. All of the team’s future first-round picks are in its possession.
The rebuilding of the franchise has begun. Even a stalwart NBA franchise like the Spurs has to go through it at some point. San Antonio, on the other hand, has missed the playoffs the previous two seasons and has only two lottery choices to show for it. At some point, ripping off the band-aid and allowing the wound to breathe is the best option.
Basketball-Reference provided all statistics, and Spotrac provided contract deals.
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This article broadly covered the following related topics:
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