May 10, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs president of sports franchises R.C. Buford looks at his cell phone before game three of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The Spurs defeated the Warriors 102-92. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

R.C. Buford: All Our Hopes Are Manu Finishes Career In San Antonio

San Antonio Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford and the rest of the San Antonio Spurs staff are now in overdrive as they prepare for what is to come for the organization.  With the NBA Draft on Thursday, there are a few things that are on Buford’s mind.  Though the Spurs will be working on whom they will be drafting, they also are concerned about Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter.

Dan McCarney from the San Antonio Express-News talked with Buford and he expressed how much he wanted to have both Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter back with the team.

via Spurs Nation: Ginobili will be 36 should he return for a 12th season — a strong likelihood per his recent column for an Argentine newspaper. The long-time fan favorite said during training camp that he had no desire to play for another team, and the feeling is mutual among the Spurs front office despite his inconsistent play in the postseason.

“We’ll evaluate the alternatives,” Buford said, “but I think all of our hopes are that Manu finishes his career in San Antonio.”

McCarney continues to state that Splitter could be more difficult.  Here is what he had to say:

As a restricted free agent, the Spurs can match any offer he receives. But with size remaining at a premium even as the NBA becomes more perimeter oriented, the Brazilian post player will likely receive a significant raise on his $3.9 million salary after helping the Spurs rank among the league’s top defensive teams while serving as an important cog in their pick-and-roll offense.

Buford’s response:

“Until we know what the market says, and how that impacts our planning for the future…you can’t answer with incomplete information,” Buford said. “But he’s been a great fit for both our team and our culture. His movement on the perimeter as a screener or a roller is superior. He’s not at a point he will command a double-team in the post. You’d love to see that develop, but I’m not sure it’s fair to put him in that position. You have to evaluate a cost for what that is.”

Spurs though will have to wait on Boris Diaw who Buford said has not heard from him about the player option, which is roughly $4.7 million.  There are also a few more contracts that he said they will need to wait on before filtering out what resources they will have for free agency.  Gary Neal is a restricted free agent and Matt Bonner’s deal does not become fully guaranteed until the end of the week.

“Until we know what the market is for the guys on our own team, and how that fits within our roster planning, we won’t know,” he said. “There’s a lot of guys (we like). You just don’t know if you can afford them.”

As for the draft, San Antonio will have a pick in the first round (28th) and second roung (58th).  As McCarney states, the Spurs are in a unique situation with Ginobili and Duncan’s imminent retirements.  Buford though states he is not looking for that one player that will make an impact immediately but is looking at the bigger picture.

“(Our approach) is more in relation to the evaluation of the draft than a strategy of specifically going in saying, we have to get guys that are going to play this year,” he said. “If they’re not available, you can’t fit a square peg into a round hole. I think there is potential depth (in the draft), but I don’t know how you compare it. We’ll find out in three years.

“We have a team that did really well this year, and was within a few seconds of having an incredibly successful season. Historically we’ve always been asked, when is it time to break the team up? I don’t know. It’s not a function of figuring out the time, it’s a function of what are your alternatives.

“If the draft was only a function of next year’s team building, then it would probably be more in (tandem) with what’s going to happen in free agency. That’s not the function of the draft. The function of the draft is to bring fresh talent into an organization. That might be something that is accomplished for next year. It might be accomplished for next year.

“You don’t know until you get to your pick what’s available.”

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