Staff Writer: Ryan Ward
Over the past decade or so, besides the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers, no other team in the NBA has been as dominant as the San Antonio Spurs.
No matter what has happen over the last decade whether it was free agency or trade rumors, the Spurs have had the unique ability to keep their superstars in San Antonio and motivated to win a championship every single season. Even though the Spurs are still one of the better teams in the league, they are finally starting to show signs of age and might see the dynasty they built begin to crumble.
Coming into this NBA season the San Antonio Spurs looked like they might have revitalized their franchise with some new talent and hope for the future. The first move the Spurs made was to counter all the moves made by all the other best teams in the league.
The defending NBA champions made an upgrade on defense and toughness by adding Ron Artest. This move put them right back in the title contending mix and favorites to repeat as NBA champs.
General Manager Danny Ferry of the Cleveland Cavaliers made the first real splash in the offseason by bringing in Shaquille O’Neal to help defend the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard in the paint. The Magic also made a move to make up for sharp shooter Hedo Turkoglu leaving town for the Toronto Raptors through free agency. As a result they brought in Vince Carter who is on the downside of his career, but still a big offensive threat.
Along with the Cleveland Cavs, Orlando Magic and the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, Boston made a move to sign free agent versatile forward Rasheed Wallace. This looked like one of the best moves of the offseason for an already dominant defensive Celtics squad.
With all this wheeling and dealing in the offseason to make the best teams in the league even better, the Spurs had to make something happen in order to contend with the best of the best and they did just that by adding Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess.
Not only were the Spurs able to bring in two All-Star caliber players, but they also drafted one of the best big men in the NBA draft by drafting DeJuan Blair out of the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Even though the Spurs looked like they would be able to compete with the likes of the Lakers and the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference, San Antonio has struggled this season and will most likely go into the playoffs as one of the lowest seeds in the West.
Richard Jefferson has been good at times this season, but the deal to bring him in has been considered a bust as adding him hasn’t really improved their squad. The one player that has improved the Spurs this season, surprisingly, has been rookie forward DeJuan Blair who looks like he could be the future of the franchise when Tim Duncan decides to call it quits.
After this season, the Spurs will have a big decision to make that could quite possibly change everything as they have to decide on whether or not to pay free agent Manu Ginobili or let him test the free agent market where he will almost certainly get a lot of attention around the league.
Ginobli is 33 years old and not getting any younger, but he is still playing at a high level and doesn’t mind coming off the bench which is a huge upside for anyone interested in the shooting guard. Even though he is playing at a high level still for the Spurs, the age factor will prevent San Antonio from possibly giving him the money he wants to stay in Texas.
With that being said, the Spurs could quite possibly see their best offensive player leave town and the franchise could start to go downhill from there.
Personally, I believe Ginobili will return, but with a lot of teams around the league looking to get at least one big name player in the offseason, Manu will get his fair share of offers and it won’t be a big surprise to see him leave town.