On Friday, September 23, 2022, the Austin Spurs named Brent Barry as general manager for the NBA G League affiliate. A former player in San Antonio from 2004-2008, Barry isn’t an outside hire. After a broadcast career, he moved to the NBA team’s front office in 2018 as Vice President of Basketball Operations. According to the team’s official press release, Barry will maintain his San Antonio position and absorb the GM job in Austin, previously held by Tyler Self. Self, of course, is the son of Kansas University head basketball coach Bill Self.
The headline of Barry taking over was one of several personnel announcements made on Friday. All of the chatter, however, overshadowed the fact that Self is no longer the general manager in Austin. He had held the position for just two years. Self took over the role in 2020 after former GM Landry Fields was hired away by the Atlanta Hawks where he was promoted this summer to the same role. The question now is, what happened to Self? With no press release and empty Google search results, one is left to wonder.
Looking Back at Tyler Self’s Time as the Austin Spurs GM
General manager in the G League is as much about talent acquisition and roster management as it is in the NBA. The assumed gauge for success is still understood to be wins and losses, as well as roster development. If that is the case, it is a curious thing that Self is no longer with the team, unless he quietly accepted another role.
Self’s first year on the job was the odd 2020-2021 season after he assumed the role in November of that year. Playing in the G League Bubble, the team finished 10-5 and qualified for the playoffs. It was a quick exit for Austin, however as San Antonio had called up Luka Samanic and Tre Jones. Both players were on a roll at the time, recording double-doubles nightly.
In 2021, running back a similar roster to 2020, Austin finished 7-5 in the inaugural Showcase Cup. The team surged in December thanks to a rehab stint from Jock Landale, only to narrowly miss qualifying. By the time the team’s regular season started, Landale was gone, and rookies Joshua Primo and Joe Wieskamp were already getting opportunities in San Antonio.
In March, Austin took a serious hit as Wieskamp and standout Devontae Cacok saw their two-way contracts converted to NBA contracts. This effectively ending their time in the 512. Shortly after that, Primo was promoted to a starter for the season in San Antonio. Losing that amount of top-end talent hurt the Austin squad greatly. They dropped nine of their last 10 games down the stretch to finish 13-19 on the season.
Brent Barry’s Role as the Austin Spurs GM
With three first-round rookies on the Spurs this year, it is uncertain what time they may see in Austin. After years of preparing San Antonio’s picks for the next level, this could shift the team’s role back to the Big 3 era. While San Antonio was competing for titles, Austin was looking for undiscovered role players for the Alamo City.
Consolidating basketball operations in San Antonio with the Austin GM job could provide for a more accurate evaluation of needs and player development. That could justify the move from Self. Some might even speculate that it is a money-saving move, despite the returns likely being insignificant. Whatever the reason for the move, the Spurs are undoubtedly in unfamiliar territory as they build for the future. The Barry hire brings experience Austin experience as a player and an executive. The quiet position turnover feels like a positive move.
Official Release from the Team: