While the Spurs were linked to several players, including key free agent big men, they added Nando De Colo to the roster and drafted Marcus Denmon with their 59th pick.
While their moves have’nt been enough to register much of a blip on the free agency radar, Popovich is happy to bring back a team that reached the Western Conference Finals and adding a battle-tested young guard who can play both one and two.
More importantly, the changes also didn’t register much of a dent on Peter Holt’s pocketbook, according to our friend Art Garcia in a recent piece on Fox Sports Southwest.
“Lots of times you don’t have a choice because of contracts, numbers or whatever,” Popovich said earlier this week from NBA Summer League. “This year we were just able to do everything and stay under the [luxury tax threshold] at the same time, which was a goal. We wanted to stay under the tax and just try to do a good job business-wise.
“Signing Timmy and Danny and Boris and Patty Mills, we felt fortunate we were able to do all that and stay under the tax. We weren’t sure we were going to be able to do it.”
Having Green come back after a breakout year and seeing the improvement from Kawhi Leonard in Summer League, not to mention getting Diaw and Mills in for a full training camp should signal some improvement to next season’s squad.
Duncan may be coming back with yet another season under his belt, but he showed he can stick around and play at a high level for a few more years. Apparently Popovich and the Spurs’ front office had a little scare with Duncan, similar to when he was considering Orlando several years back, but I’m not convinced it was as tough as Pop describes it.
“He was just a big a pain in the neck as he was when he almost went to Orlando,” Popovich smirked. “He toyed with me, he lied to me, he intimidated me, he threatened me and, in the end, it worked out. But I had to take much abuse to get it done.”
While this is a team that made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals last season, there are still a lot of question marks on the roster.
Will DeJuan Blair be gone before the season starts and will the Spurs look to fill a void inside with the remaining free agent big men?
Will I would’ve hoped for a first or second-tier free agent big man, I’m sure those questions will be answered and I can’t fault Pop for sticking with what got the Spurs so far and seeing if they can get further with a few subtle improvements.