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2006-07 Spurs: Where are they now?

A dynastic core mixed with several memorable role players who have gone on to have some lucrative carriers.

Game 4: San Antonio Spurs v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

We are continuing our series of looking at the five Spurs championship squads and what those players are up to now. We already looked at the 1999, 2003 and 2005 squads (so if you missed them, be sure to check them out), and today we are moving on with the 2006-07 team, which officially established the Big Three as a dynasty, and it was the first time someone other than Tim Duncan was Finals MVP, with Tony Parker earning the honors this time. It was also the last time a team swept an NBA Finals series.

As a reminder, players who appeared on more than one championship team will only be listed in their first appearance to avoid repetition, so for Tim Duncan, refer back to 1999; for Bruce Bowen, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker, refer back to 2003; and for Brent Barry, Robert Horry, and Beno Udrih, refer back to 2005. Without further ado, here are the rest of the 2006-07 Spurs!

NBAE/Getty Images

Matt Bonner (#15) — Bonner is a Spur who has never truly left the organization while remaining front and center. After retiring in 2016, he immediately joined the Spurs broadcast crew as a studio analyst and cohost of their pre- and postgame shows, as well as filling in for Sean Elliott as color commentator on his off days (usually when they travel to cold destinations). He also runs a nonprofit with his brother Luke called Rock On Foundation, which supports community involvement in the arts and athletics.

Jackie Butler (#45) — A promising high school prospect who’s NBA career never really got off the ground, he only appeared in 69 total games across three seasons, 11 of which came with the Spurs in 2006-07. After that, he was part of the infamous trade of Luis Scola’s rights to the Rockets but was waived by Houston in the preseason, and that was the end of his NBA career. There really isn’t anything else out there about him, so you if you know anything about Butler’s endeavors since 2007, feel free to let us know.

Francisco Elson (#16) — Picked in the second round by the Nuggets out of the Netherlands in 1999, Elson joined the Spurs for two season from 2006-2008. After that he was a journeyman in the NBA, especially after missing all but one game of the 2009-10 season due to hernia surgery. He retired from the NBA in 2012 before playing one season with Mahram Tehran in the Iranian Super League before retiring from basketball for good in 2014. Not much else is out there about his post-playing career other than he resides in Rotterdam, Netherlands and seems to be a popular personality there. (Here he is talking about Victor Wembanyama back in May, rough translation being that it will be very hard for him to live up to the enormous expectations he’s facing — something we probably all agree with.)

Melvin Ely (#2) — Another NBA journeyman whose career highlight was a ring with the Spurs, Ely jumped around between the NBA, G-League, Puerto Rick and Japan before retiring in 2015. He was an assistant coach for the Canton Charge (the Cleveland Cavs’ G League affiliate) from 2016-2019, and in 2021, he was one of 18 players indicted in a scheme to defraud the NBA Players’ Health and Welfare Benefit Plan by “submitting fraudulent claims for reimbursement of medical and dental services” that never actually happened. (Coincidently, the scheme’s organizer, Terrance Williams, was just sentenced for his role yesterday, ordered to pay $2.5 million and serve 10 years in prison.)

Michael Finley (#4) — Perhaps the most satisfying story of the 2007 championship team, Finley joined the Spurs from their archrival of the time, the Dallas Mavericks, in 2005 in search of his first championship ring (and obviously got it, but not without some drama in 2006 against none other than his former team). After nearly winning another ring with the Celtics in 2010, he retired and today is back with the Mavs as their vice president of basketball operations. He’s also had a bit of a career in the film industry, being one of the producers for Lee Daniels’ The Butler and The Birth of a Nation.

Fabricio Oberto (#7) — Part of Argentina’s Golden Generation along with Manu, Oberto is one of the more beloved former Spurs and remains part of the organization. He only played two more seasons after spending four with the Spurs, unfortunately having to retire in 2010 after he began experiencing palpitations related to a previous heart condition. He was cleared by doctors to make a comeback, playing for the Argentinian national team in the FIBA Americans championship in 2011 and his old club, Atenas de Córdoba in Argentina, in 2013 before retiring for good. In 2021, he became a color analysts for the Austin Spurs, and last season he teamed up with the Spurs and Univision in broadcasting Spurs games in Spanish alongside Paul Castro, becoming the only team in the NBA to have a dedicated Spanish-language television broadcast partner.

Jacque Vaughan (#11) — The busiest player of this group since retiring from playing, Vaughan joined Gregg Popovich and the Spurs as an assistant coach from 2010-2012 before becoming the head coach of the Orlando Magic until his firing in 2015. He then returned to the Spurs as a scout for the 2015-16 season before joining Kenny Atkinson and the Brooklyn Nets as top assistant in 2016. He was interim head coach beginning in March 2020 when Atkinson left before returning to top assistant when Steve Nash was hired in September that same year. Finally, when Nash retired at the beginning of last season, Vaughan was named head coach for good, and he signed a contract extension in February.

James White (#33) — Drafted in the second round in 2006, traded, waived in the preseason and signing with the Spurs was all part of White’s career before even playing in a regular season NBA game. He spent his rookie season with the Spurs and Austin Torros, winning a championship, but other than a brief stint with the Rockets in 2009 and spending the 2012-13 season with the Knicks, the majority of his career was spent overseas. In 2017, he joined the Trilogy of the 3-on-3 league BIG3, where he still plays today as a three-time champion. He is also an assistant coach for the Sugarland Imperials of the TBL.

2007 was quite the eclectic mix of foundational stars and role players with future aspirations in media and coaching. Remember to go check out 1999, 2003 and 2005 if you missed them, and stay tuned for the series finale of 2014, where there where for the first time we will still have some active NBA players! (It wasn’t that long ago, after all.)