Seattle group targeting Spurs’ Buford to run franchise


R.C. BufordFollow the San Antonio Spurs long enough and you'll see plenty of key coaches and front office executives get lured to other NBA teams in bigger roles. Sam Presti, Kevin Pritchard, Dell Demps, Lance Blanks and a host of coaches are now running other league franchises or patrolling the sidelines.

But the one person Spurs fans may have thought was safe is now being targeted to run the franchise a group of Seattle investors bought from the Maloofs, formerly the Sacramento Kings.

As if getting a team back to Seattle wasn't enough, the Seattle ownership group, led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer, are now targeting Spurs general manager R.C. Buford to run their franchise. They are also reportedly interested in former Pacers president Larry Bird, according to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The new Seattle NBA ownership group has begun discussing possible candidates to run its franchise and has deliberated whether to target San Antonio Spurs general manager R.C. Buford and former Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird, sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Buford is considered one of the preeminent executives in the NBA, responsible for shaping the roster for four Spurs championships and maintaining the league's model organization. Under Buford and president/coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs have created an unmatched infrastructure of international scouting that's led to the drafting of numerous elite players, including Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Luis could.
Wojnarowski says it could take a lot to pry Buford away from San Antonio and the ownership group would need to offer a percentage of equity in the franchise and give Buford complete control in building and running his basketball operations team. Even at that, it may not be enough to get Buford to leave San Antonio.
If Buford did leave for a new challenge in Seattle, he obviously would leave big shoes to fill. While replacing Buford would be an impossible task, Assistant G.M. Scott Layden is perfectly capable of serving as a general manager after serving in several front office positions throughout his career, although Spurs fans likely do not want to think about losing Buford to anything but retirement.