Found this one in the NY Times, via SI.com, comparing the Spurs current situation to that of the Pistons, whos deconstruction began last offseason. A few good quotes from the story:
The Spurs, trailing the Mavericks, 3-1, after Saturday’s 99-90 loss, could be bounced in the opening round for the first time since 2000. It is perhaps unwise to underestimate Tim Duncan and his mates. They did overcome a two-game deficit against the Hornets last year.
But the Spurs no longer appear capable of such minor miracles, not without the injured Manu Ginobili, and not with the mediocre cast that now surrounds Duncan and Tony Parker, the Spurs’ remaining stars.
Afterward, Parker made an admission that championship teams never make: “They have a lot more weapons than us.”
If Ginobili were healthy, the Spurs might have a fighting chance against Dallas. But could they beat the feisty young Nuggets, much less the talent-rich Lakers? How much longer can the Duncan-Parker-Ginobili trio contend in a Western Conference that is becoming more competitive each season, with rising teams in Portland, Utah and Houston?
The Spurs have become too old in spots (Michael Finley, Bruce Bowen, Fabricio Oberto), and their young additions (Roger Mason, George Hill) have fallen flat. They have no great assets to trade, outside of their three All-Stars.
Our group is going to be, more than likely, a group that we don’t pull the plunger on,” Spurs General Manager R. C. Buford said. “We’ll continue to build around those three and hope to add better pieces.”
San Antonio will not have cap space until 2010 (when Ginobili’s contract expires), but there will be plenty of talented free agents who may accept the mid-level exception this summer. Expect the Spurs to make a run at Rasheed Wallace, the longtime starting power forward for the Pistons.
Thats pretty much the bulk of the article. The last quote from Buford is the key to the teams intentions; which is to continue to surround those three with complimentary players. The problem being, as they age, the new guys need to be more than complimentary.
If Buford intends to continue to build around those three, then one can assume Ginobili will be brought back, making that '10 cap room that much less. Having said that, Id keep Manu; he's going to be a key contributor no matter what role he assumes.
Im just at a loss as to how theyre going to address the 2009 offseason; If Sheed comes, one can assume Gooden wont be resigned, but neither move really addresses the real area of need; scoring from the wing positions.
If they can somehow tweek this offseason and remain at the same level, afterall we were a three seed, and then make a run at one of the big fish in '10, then I think they can make a few more runs at the title