Spurs Mailbag!

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Do you think there’s any hope that a lockout will be averted a year from now? If so, what kinds of changes do you think will be made to the CBA?
– Mike Timms

AA: First of all, if the Owners get desperate they have the option of extending the CBA one additional season. If they choose to do so, they must notify the Players’ Union by December 15th. Most people understand that as the Wealthy Guys that pay a bunch of Rich Guys’ (thanks Chris Rock) salaries that the Owners are the ones that hold the cards. If Peter Holt and his colleagues on the Owners’ side of the table think it would be best to call the whole thing off then we very well could see a lock-out. Personally I doubt that happens, but it’s happened before so it could happen again.

The 2005 agreement is a good place to start, but I think the Owners are going to look for more flexibility, more predictable expenses, and greater opportunity for revenue. On the Players’ side they are going to look for more money and contractual protections. If the Union is smart they will realize that there are far more players that make the MLE or less and those are the individuals they should be courting to gain support. Out of the over 450 players that played in the NBA this season only 24 made $15mil or more, so honestly the vast majority of the players in the league would benefit from an increase in the minimum salary and a decrease in the maximum. Those are the players that will be hurt by a lock-out more than anyone, hopefully the Union wises up and realizes that.

Before this answer becomes 90% of this mailbag, I’ll point out that we will be revisiting this issue in greater depth later in the Summer. The third party in this equation that should not be over-looked is the fans. What we want to see is the best players in the world play the best game in the world at the highest level possible…that, Refs that have some iota of what a foul is on a consistent basis.

The Spurs are reported to have met with Derrick Favors. What do you think the Spurs are up to considering Favors is likely going in the top 5?

-Angel Dominguez

AA: It’s nearly impossible to ever tell what the Spurs are up to. Last year they took time to meek with DeJaun Blair and somehow he lasted until the 37th pick. I doubt that Favors is around at the 20th pick, but he is a player that the Spurs could use. My feelings are that they met with him to see if they thought he was a good enough fit within the Spurs’ culture to try and trade up and grab…either that or Pop is using his covert ops background to mess with the collective heads of the NBA world.

Is there any chance the Red Rocket re-signs with the Spurs? How about The Centerpiece aka Keith Bogans? Please tell me they’re gone for good.
– Steve Ganshaw

There is a chance that you see them suited up again in the Silver-n-Black next year. As an over-the-cap team the Spurs only have so much ability to sign players this off-season. They have the rookie exception that comes with the #20 pick, the MLE, the LLE, Bird Rights, and minimum salaries. There are seven players with guaranteed contracts next year. The Spurs are required to carry at least 13 contracts by the CBA, so it is possible that Bonner re-signs because the Spurs hold his Bird Rights or Bogans re-signs because he’s a minimum contract player.

Were it up to us, the roster would look like this next year: Parker, Ginobili, Jefferson (or his replacement via trade), Duncan, Splitter, Draft Pick #20, Hill, Blair, LLE Free Agent, McDyess, Hairston, Temple, Mahinmi, and Jerrells. Notice, no Bonner and no Bogans. This is barring any crazy off-season moves by the Spurs.

What do you see Duncan’s legacy being with the possibility of Kobe getting his 5th ring this year? Still the greatest player post-Jordan?
– Gene Fleming

AA: Duncan’s legacy has yet to be fully written. Let’s let him retire before we chisel it in stone. However, I don’t think it can be overstated the level of difficultly Duncan faced in garnering his four rings versus the difficulty rating of Kobe’s four. Three of Kobe’s rings came while playing in Shaq’s shadow. As much as I hate Shaq, he was pretty much the most dominate player in the league from 2000-2002. Tim Duncan on the other hand, has brought four pretty substaintially different supporting casts to the Promised Land, and that shouldn’t get short shrift. One shouldn’t forget the 13 straight seasons of 50+ wins (I am lumping the ’99 season into that group because they won almost 75% of the games that they did play that year so it’s reasonable to assume that they would have won 50 had there been a full season), you can’t say the same for Kobe.

Thanks for reading and feel free to send us some questions, but only if you’re stealing someone else’s identity.

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