It's almost a given that we have to improve our roster next year. While OKC, the Clips and the Jazz (all our post-season opponents) will likely improve by standing pat on their young core, we will likely be worse because of our age.
Follow me while I expand on what personnel moves we have to do to make one final Championship run next year (last year of Manu's contract) while at the same time constructing a core for the post-TD, post-Manu era.
Never was this need more highlighted than in game 6 of the OKC series. TD's playing time was extended, making his offense suffer in the 2nd half. While in the few minutes that he was on the bench, we were exposed in the paint by OKC.
While our current back-up center, Tiago, might be satisfactory and arguably has an upside offensively, most of us will agree that we need improvement in blocks and rebounds in this position and that Tiago can't provide that. While I don't like shipping Tiago out, he is our only tradeable, yet dispensable, asset. We need to trade him if we are to trade the post-season ghosts, that are Bonner and Blair for someone of value.
The player that we should get should have a proven defensive track record in the center position in the regular and post-season. So unless he has a uni-brow all draft picks are automatically eliminated. My candidates would be:
McGee - would command probably higher than 10 mill
Hibbert - would command probably higher than 10 mill
Asik - 4.7 rpg 1.7 bpg 3.3 ppg in 21.3 min in the 1st round; would command probably 5 mill or higher
Although Manu and SJax are still high-caliber shooting guards in the OKC series we didn't have the player who can drive against Durant and make him work defensively. This is one of the reasons he could hang around for 48 minutes. Also we need someone to take over the SG spot in the long term. Kawhi might be good defensively but I don't think he has enough shooting ability, handles or explosiveness to play the SG spot at a high level. I only have one candidate for now:
Batum - explosive, two-way guard with 3 pt range; would command 9 mill or more though
Role Player Positions we already have
In order to get our high powered SG I would need us to trade our current shooting PF, Bonner, and back-up PG, Neal. The good thing is we already have capable replacements for them in our roster in Diaw and Mills respectively.
How to get them
I propose we trade Tiago, Bonner, Neal and Blair to the Blazers for Batum and the Blazer's 40th pick. The blazer's get 3 competent back-up players with one, Tiago, with a little offensive polish, who can start along side Aldridge. Blazer's already have 6th and 11th pick. They can get another good SG there. While others might overpay Batum I would think he'd sign a more sober contract in order to play with a contender such as our Spurs.
First five: TD, Diaw, Leonard, Batum, TP. Back-ups: Asik, 40th pick big, Sjax, Manu, DG, Mills.
Of course if we are able to sign Batum and TD will sign off on it, we might suddenly be an attractive option for Kevin Garnett. This is a bit of a long-shot but I think still realistic.
So what realistic scenarios do you think are out there for one final Spurs championship run?