Training camp is in full swing for the San Antonio Spurs and so is life without Tim Duncan. R.C. Buford did not have a summer as years past. He thought it was something he did wrong that led to roster changes and Duncan’s retirement.
It definitely is a period in which the Spurs and Buford over their last 19 years has never been accustomed too. Their No. 1 draft pick, and sole leader of the team last summer called it quits.
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Though it was evident that Duncan’s time was coming, it was a matter of when. He will be a lock for the Hall of Fame, there is no doubt in that, but one thing is for sure, his legacy and persona has left a mark on coaches, players and even the Spurs General Manager.
R.C. Buford over the summer was wondering if he had done something wrong, to caused the roster to change. Not only has Duncan left the team, fan-favorite Boban Marjanovic signed with the Detroit Pistons, David West continued his quest for a ring, signing with Golden State.
Also Boris Diaw. He signed with the Utah Jazz.
“It was a lonely summer,” he said. “I thought I must have made somebody mad. But I’m excited about our new group. We’ve got some really terrific people who have joined our organization and there’s a great opportunity to grow together.”
The Spurs new they needed to get younger in the offseason and they did just that. Starting with the NBA Draft, the Spurs with their lone selection, drafted Dejounte Murray from the University of Washington.
Also joining the team, Livio Jean-Charles, Davis Bertans, Bryn Forbes, Patricio Garino, David Lee and Pau Gasol.
The biggest loss, of course, was Duncan. But Buford is grateful that he was left with the task of attempting to replace only one legend after the club re-signed Manu Ginobili to a one-year, $14 million deal.
With all the emotions surrounding the loss of Duncan and what not only the players have to tend to but also the fans that have seen him grow since coming to San Antonio in 1997, there is a lot of memories.
Not only did Duncan transcend the game, what he brought into the organization is what many others look to bring. He kept the team atop of his list. He did not care for the individual accolades. He wanted championships and his unselfish play only rubbed off on one another.
Buford though could only imagine what it would feel like if he not only had to handle Duncan retiring but also if Manu Ginobili were to as well.
“To have had to replace them both at the same time would have been even more impactful than when each one decides to leave as individuals,” Buford said. “I don’t know how you judge that or gauge that other than that we know there is a transition approaching for our organization and it will be better if it’s a more managed transition than if it all happens at the same time.”
All eyes will be on the Spurs as they do have the talent to continue their quest of another NBA title. With Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge going to carry most of the load, Leonard knows it will be on them two to lead them to a title.