Topics from Spurs’ exit meetings

SAN ANTONIO – Two days after being crowned the 2014 NBA Champions, the San Antonio Spurs held their exit meetings with the media. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and players Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Boris Diaw, and Patty Mills spoke about a variety of topics, from what it felt like to win the title, playing basketball overseas in some cases, and Diaw and Mills, two upcoming free agents, did their best to fend off questions about their offseason business decisions.

On being the 2014 NBA Champions

“I’m just proud of them and I’m happy for them,” said Popovich on the feeling toward his team at the moment.

On the Spurs’ upcoming river parade Wednesday, here’s what Popovich had to say: “It’s hot and sweaty, and it’s a lot of fun for the whole city. We (Spurs and city) all enjoy it together.”

“I expect our fans to be crazy as they have been all year,” said Green of the upcoming celebration.

“It’s starting to hit me,” said Green of being a champion. Green said the Spurs’ exit meeting was an emotional meeting for the whole group. When asked just how emotional Popovich was, Green said this: “He showed some emotion, he’s enjoying the moment. He’s happy.”

Ginobili said he got a new hair cut the night of winning the title, just before taking a dip in the pool.

When asked what going seven games against the Dallas Mavericks did for them, here’s what Mills said: “The Dallas series made us a better team. It changed the way we played, as well as the way we thought.”

Here’s an interesting side note on Popovich being “Pop” in his unique way. When asked if he is now “happy,” Popovich didn’t answer the question and waited until the next question was asked.

On offseason moves

“One would think it’s logical to not make major changes with the group,” said Popovich of the Spurs’ offseason.

“I don’t know,” said Ginobili of the whole team returning. “I’m pretty sure most of the team is going to comeback. The core of the group is going to stay.”

Ginobili said he will honor his contract and return next season. He said he had not spoken with Tim Duncan about his decision to opt into the final year of his contract, or retire.

“It’s early,” said Diaw of returning to San Antonio. “I don’t know yet. I wouldn’t mind (returning).”

“The style of play and philosophy is something that I like,” said Diaw of the Spurs, when asked if it’s a consideration in his decision. “It is a consideration for sure.”

Diaw said he feels like Duncan will return next season, though that was just his own feeling.

“I’m just trying to live in this moment,” said Mills in not discussing free agency, instead focusing on being a champion. “As you all know, it doesn’t come too often. I’ve got to let it sink in.”

On the how the Spurs won with a total team concept

“When we would go over film, there would invariably be a few clips offensively or defensively that stood out,” said Popovich of how his team performed this season. “If people are pleased with how we played, I think it’s great. If people use it as an example, I think it’s great.”

“For purists,” said Diaw of the Spurs’ offense, “it’s a more pure basketball team sport.”

On the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain

“It’s a great honor, he gets to play with that group of guys,” said Popovich of Kawhi Leonard being selected to try and make the United States National team roster. “He gets to learn from Coach K, he gets to compete against those guys. Being in that environment, with those players, how can that not help him?”

After Game 5, Popovich said through the whole playoff, he didn’t call any plays for Leonard on offense. When asked if he’ll do so next year, Popovich had this response in joking form: “I probably lied. He looks pretty good to me the way he is, why mess that up?”

Manu Ginobili said he has yet to decide if he’ll play for Argentina this summer. He said he will make a decision by the end of the week.

Popovich said he had not spoken with Ginobili about playing for the Argentina national team.

“I probably lied. He looks pretty good to me the way he is, why mess that up?” – Pop on Kawhi

Mills said he and fellow Australian teammate Aron Baynes will both play for Australia this summer. “You just bringing it up kind of wears me out,” said Mills to me. “It’s a great chance to represent Australia on a world stage.”

Mills said the practices are in less than a month away.

Finally, to end the media session in only a way Popovich would, he had this last statement:

“Thank you for all your support and questions during the year, they’ve been enjoyable and wonderful,” said Popovich in a comedic manner. “Now I don’t have to answer any for a while, so that’s great. Enjoy your summer.”

Paul Garcia

About Paul Garcia

Paul is a San Antonio Spurs credentialed media member for Project Spurs. He covered the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, TX, and the 2013 and 2014 NBA Finals. Paul has been featured on WOAI, Fox 29, and numerous nationwide radio shows.

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