Every fairytale story must come to an end at some point.
After an incredible run of success, this season marked the first year that the San Antonio Spurs didn’t win 50 regular-season games since 1997.
A personal tragedy also took place. Coach Gregg Popovich’s wife passed away during the playoffs. He missed the final three games of San Antonio’s opening-round defeat to the Golden State Warriors as a result.
Drama between Kawhi Leonard and the club is currently at an all-time high. The team will have to make a massive decision when it comes to his status this offseason. Since he’s eligible for a super-max extension, he could realistically end up staying in San Antonio for several years moving forward or can be traded for what would undoubtedly be a gigantic return package.
Further, a number of the team’s veterans might not be returning next season. Those players include Spurs legends Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker as well as Pau Gasol and Danny Green, among others.
"As I've done it the last two or three seasons, I'll sit back, relax and, after two or three months, see if I feel retired or not," Ginobili said, per ESPN’s Michael C. Wright. "I like to let it season a little bit, to see how I feel. Don't expect news until July, probably. I just don't know. I let a month, two months go by and see how I feel. I'm not the type of guy who makes decisions on the fly, and when you are upset, hurt or whatever.”
Ginobili averaged 8.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 20.0 minutes over 65 contests this season.
"I said already I want to keep playing. I'm happy I don't have those retirement parties. I want to keep playing, and we'll see if it's in San Antonio. Everybody knows I would love to stay here. But free agency is always crazy, so we'll see,” Parker explained.
The veteran point guard averaged 7.7 points and 3.5 assists in 19.5 minutes over 55 games this year, but started just 21 games due to the emergence of Dejounte Murray. Therefore, he might be inclined to find a more prominent role elsewhere if he feels as though he no longer has a place in the organization.
"You never know what happens, right, during the summer. What moves can happen," Gasol noted. "On our team, from my understanding, there are six or seven guys who are restricted free agents or [have] player options, and then we have the situation that we all know of [Leonard] that we don't know how that's going to resolve, to be honest. From that standpoint, we'll see. Right now is not a time to really think about it or make any decisions. It's just a time to digest what's happened this year, and we'll have plenty of time to discuss next season and what can happen."
Gasol put up 10.1 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 23.5 minutes per contest over 77 games in the regular season. Just like Ginobili and Parker, he saw his minutes drastically decreased due to his growing age.
"There's a lot of decisions going on this summer. It's so sudden," Green stated. "We just had a game. Everybody's still pretty caught up in that, the moment of the season being over. We're not really planning the summer just yet. I'm sure we get a couple days, a couple weeks, even a month or so and some guys still won't have a decision yet. I'm sure they'll get advice from their agents, talk to the coaching staff, talk to the organization and figure out where they will go from there. This organization is a big part of me, and I would love to play here again, would love to come back. But things get interesting in free agency.”
The sharpshooter averaged 8.6 points on 38.7 percent shooting in 25.6 minutes per game over 70 regular-season contests. Despite the fact that he historically could be counted on to hit big shots in playoff games, he took a bit of a backseat to his teammates and was much less assertive this season.
To add, Joffrey Lauvergne has a player option to decide on before the June 29 deadline, as does Green and Rudy Gay. Kyle Anderson, Davis Bertans and Bryn Forbes are all likely to become restricted free agents as the team is expected to extend qualifying offers to them.
Therefore, the roster has the possibility of looking completely different next season. It will be fascinating to see what happens this summer.
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