San Antonio’s home team to build for the future, campus coach predicts.
By Eddie Chozet
A basketball coach at this college said he believes the San Antonio Spurs will make their 19th consecutive playoff appearance once the team restructures the roster following this season’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
“They’ll be in good shape,” said Lou Martinez, men’s head coach. “The organization has always done a good job at rebuilding. They’re setting up for the future.”
San Antonians were left in disbelief earlier this month as the Spurs exited the NBA playoffs sooner than expected.
As Clippers point guard Chris Paul shot an unbelievable running bank shot over San Antonio forward Tim Duncan, with one second left in Game 7 of the Western conference semi-finals May 2, the reigning champions’ season ended in a 111-109 loss.
Martinez, whose Rangers finished with a 7-7 record this season, said the Spurs will now shuffle their roster with a clean bill of players.
“This upcoming season should look a little bit different than usual,” Martinez said.
San Antonio is looking to rebuild and revamp its roster, as nine players are set to hit the free agent market. Though, if the Spurs organization continues its loyal ways, Martinez says the organization should resign Duncan, shooting guard Manu Ginobili and upcoming standout shooting forward Kawhi Leonard. Early reports throughout the league indicate Leonard could be given a max deal to keep him in San Antonio.
“The way the contracts are set up, Spurs general manager R.C. Buford seems to know a direction of where he would like to take this franchise,” Martinez said.
Although Coach Greg Popovich has already asked Ginobili and Duncan to return, it is still an unknown whether these face-of-the-franchise players will return for one last run at the team’s sixth Larry O’ Brien trophy.
One of the most discussed topics in all of sports for the past five years is when Duncan and Ginobili will retire.
“It’s not a topic to talk about; it’s too soon,” Ginobili said after Game 7’s loss to the Clippers, according to sbnation.com.
San Antonio has the money to sign their own players and have them return. Still there is a good group of free agents around the league this season, according to Martinez. Two big names that have been linked early to the Spurs are Portland Trailblazer power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol.
“The Spurs have been known to not sign big names, although I think this is the season they make that final push and make a big splash in free agency before Ginobili and Duncan retire,” Martinez said.
Not only will the new-look Spurs cash in on a new roster, the AT&T Center will undergo a $100 million renovation project including a bigger fan shop, expansion seating and a new, state-of-the-art scoreboard, according to the team’s website. The renovations should be complete before home court tip-off of the 2015-2016 season.