The first week of free agency has come and gone, and the biggest moves so far have been two-time MVP Steve Nash going to the Los Angeles Lakers in a sign-and-trade deal that would give a bunch of picks to the Phoenix Suns, and all-time 3 point leader Ray Allen signing with the Miami Heat in free agency. The other championship contenders haven't been idle either, with the Boston Celtics re-signing Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett while signing former Dallas Mavericks guard (and the Most Hated Man in Spurs fandom) Jason Terry, and the Oklahoma City Thunder have (as usual) added a piece through the draft in Perry Jones III, widely considered to be a steal as he was projected to go in the lottery while he slipped to 28th.
Meanwhile our San Antonio Spurs aren't doing anything yet, even if they're linked to a few role-player free agents like Marcus Camby. While the Lakers with Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum (or even a rumored trade for Dwight Howard) and the Heat with Allen, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are favorites to win their respective conferences with four All-Stars each. and the Thunder and Celtics not easily worse, the Spurs and their relative silence (as well as the Big Three being one year older) look weak.
But here's the thing. The Spurs still have a shot. The Spurs have survived the Big Three/Big Four era in Boston. The Spurs had the best record in the West the year James and Bosh joined Wade in Miami. The Spurs reached the Western Conference Finals with a total of ONE lottery pick on the team, and an undrafted guy getting rotation minutes.
Why is this so? Because you can't build consistency through big offseason moves. I have an inkling PATFO's priority is to bring the band back together, so that means re-signing Tim Duncan (although this is pretty much a formality), and at least one of Danny Green or Boris Diaw. They also look to bring over international players Nando de Colo or Erazem Lorbek, allowing the Spurs to bolster their already vaunted depth. And DeJuan Blair was said to be on the trading block on draft day, although no team bit on the Spurs' offer. So the Spurs are making moves - no blockbuster deals, but moves that will keep the team competitive while steadily setting up a future without Duncan or Manu Ginobili, whose contract ends after the 2012-13 season.
And the Spurs' biggest advantage is in coaching. The Lakers are coached by Mike Brown, a guy who is good at defensive plays, but whose idea of offense is "give the ball to the star player and hope he gets it in". The Heat are coached by Erik Spoelstra, he of the good rotations but uncoordinated offense. The Thunder are led by Scott Brooks, who at times seems more like a cheerleader than a coach, riding his young talents to a deep playoff run. The only other contender with a great coach is Boston with Doc Rivers, and even he isn't the legend Gregg Popovich is.
As it is Pop has two Coach of the Year awards, and is the only recent award winner with real job security. Rivers won it - with a 41-41 Orlando team, and is now on the Celtics' sideline. Rick Carlisle won it with the Pistons, but it wasn't until they got Larry Brown that they had two consecutive Finals appearances - and Carlisle only won it all as a coach with the 2011 Mavericks, who look nowhere near a playoff lock, let alone a contender.
Fellow Pounders, patience is a virtue. Patience is in fact the core principle behind Pop's motto and this site's name, after all!