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Get ready to enjoy the Spurs’ sure-thing summer

Good planning and a lucky break at the lottery have set up the Spurs for what should be a good offseason with very few question marks.

San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

Now that the Finals are over, the offseason has officially begun. It’s the time for some stars to hint at wanting to be traded and for teams that underachieved to start looking for bold plans for improvement. Fans will work the trade machine and will watch scouting videos of prospects to raise their hopes about the future. And through it all, the Spurs will just cruise.

Through a combination of luck and planning, San Antonio finds itself in a position to not have to make any big decisions or changes in direction. After a few years in limbo, the path forward is laid out, at least in the short term.

There’s no denying that things would have been a lot different if the ping-pong balls have not helped the Spurs. Had San Antonio landed anywhere below the top pick after the lottery, there would have been a lot of questions to answer. There’s a lot of talent in this draft according to most experts but no sure things after Victor Wembanyama. Scoot Henderson is a ball-dominant guard with a questionable shot. Brandon Miller has length and shooting ability but whether he can get to the rim remains unanswered. The Thompson twins haven’t faced the best opposition. The other forwards and guards that are projected to go in the lottery will likely have long NBA careers, but do any of them have star potential? Both the front office and fans would have to discuss those concerns and others in a different universe. In this one, the Spurs will get the guy everyone else wants.

While fortune played a huge role in the calm surrounding San Antonio right now, the front office deserves some credit for making good decisions leading up to this moment. In the draft, the Spurs didn’t always hit with their selections but did a good job of cutting bait with the ones who didn’t pan out and keeping the ones that did. The result is a young core that features Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson and Jeremy Sochan as already established players along with a couple of really young guys with upside and a couple of slightly older centers on good contracts. No one is severely overpaid to the point of hampering the franchise’s cap flexibility and everyone should be movable. Their most important free agent will be restricted. There have not been any masterful moves made by Brian Wright that should get him consideration for Executive of the Year, but the front office did a good job of being ready to make the most of the opportunity to draft a potentially game-changing talent.

Because of how comfortable the position the Spurs are at really is, it’s really hard to imagine this offseason going poorly. There are decisions to be made that have their downsides but should be easy to reverse or correct if they don’t yield good results. Trading either someone from the young core, one of the franchise’s extra picks or both for another first-rounder in this draft would be risky, but San Antonio would still have more draft capital left along with some young prospects that could still blossom. Getting an expensive veteran guard to speed up the process instead of patiently waiting wouldn’t be ideal, but the front office has created enough cap flexibility that making further moves would be possible. The reality is that if the Spurs only add Wembanyama and run it back with the roster they had last year they would still be on the right track. That’s how hard it would be to mess things up.

Both complacency and desperation can be rebuilding team’s biggest enemies, so it’s just comforting to know that San Antonio’s front office shouldn’t be suffering from either. There’s no reason to feel like the job is done but there’s also no reason to try to pull off some huge move that changes everything. The small ones that were done well and the big lucky break the Spurs had in the lottery will now allow them to be able to play things out with patience. If an opportunity to improve immediately presents itself, they will have the chance to examine if the details make sense, because they have the luxury to stand pat and look for a better one in the future, since the foundation is already set. The hardest part of the rebuild seems done after just one year.

The 2023 offseason will be a hectic one for the NBA, just like most others. Cores will be broken up, contenders will fall and the balance of power will shift. And Spurs fans will have a front-row seat to watch it all without having to worry too much about the direction of their team, for the first time in years.