The San Antonio Spurs did it. They dethroned The King, LeBron James. They broke the dynasty of the Miami Heat and they took revenge for their devastating loss last year, one which came in the hands of the same opponent they routed this season. A big celebration started in San Antonio, one which can last much like the success of this extraordinary team has managed to last in time until now. The big question for the Spurs moving forward is if they can stick together. Who will stay and who will leave San Antonio this summer?
The answers to those questions might define if the Spurs can repeat their success and win another championship next season.
From a first glimpse, Gregg Popovich has absolutely no reason to try and alter his team. Maybe a few tweaks will be necessary to keep this group fresh and inject some new blood in the successful mix. However, the core of the team is expected to remain the same, assuming that both Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili both return for another season, maybe their last one in the NBA.
Tony Parker is in the books for the upcoming season, so he will certainly continue being a Spur. Manu Ginobili is also under contract and he will return unless he decides to retire. Tim Duncan holds a $10 million player option, which we still don’t know if he will use. The 2014 NBA Finals MVP and emerging star, Kawhi Leonard is of course under contract. In fact, out of the entire Spurs team, Boris Diaw, Patty Mills and Matt Bonner are the only members of the core who will hit free agency.
So the first and the biggest question for the Spurs during the summer will be if Tim Duncan will return for his 17th season in the NBA. Tony Parker stated after Game 5 and the conquest of the championship that he expects Duncan to return. Despite his 38 years of age, Duncan hasn’t lost a big of his poise and in fact, he is still considered as the best power forward active in the NBA. He is a true master of the position, he is lethal on offense from close and mid-range but also a superb defender and team player. It’s very probable we see Duncan returning for another season. And if Duncan decides to continue playing it will come as a huge surprise to see Manu Ginobili not doing the same. The Spurs’ Big Three, or Big Four if you count Gregg Popovich in – and you should do so – currently seem capable of repeating.
Boris Diaw might be capable of getting a better salary than the around $4.7 million he earned this season. But will he leave this group for a few more millions in his bank account? Possible. However, the amazing thing about the Spurs is that although they do have several stars under contract for the upcoming season, they still have the financial flexibility to ink Diaw, offering him a deal which will make him happy. Matt Bonner can also be signed but his role was not that big during the past season.
Patty Mills, who recorded a superb season with the Spurs and he was also solid during the playoffs will most probably test the market. He earned a little more than $1 million during the 2013 – 2014 season and he will most probably demand more to return to the Spurs. San Antonio might be interested to negotiate but if he becomes too expensive, the Spurs will definitely point their interest elsewhere.