Rebuild or reload?

What does the future hold for the Spurs after early playoff exit?

Can the Spurs rework their team and keep up with the Warriors and Rockets? Rockets.com

The future can be a scary thing.  Uncertainty, fear of the unknown, staring off into the distant space with only a lack of knowing what’s to come staring back at you, that’s how its got to feel like to be a Spurs fan this offseason.  Father Time has caught up to the remaining pieces of the Spurs previous championship regime and the new pieces haven’t quite gelled like the old guard did.  Visions of a reload pairing Lamarcus Aldridge, Kahwhi Leonard and Patty Mills with Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and bringing in Pau Gasol, Danny Green and Rudy Gay was supposed to stretch the window a few more years and give Gregg Popovich something to do besides grow a beard and bask in his retired greatness.

But Father Time and life had other ideas unfortunately and Coach Popovich and his family have been dealing with a terrible loss and he was unable to finish the season coaching his team.  Injury took its toll and Leonard spent the whole season essentially on the shelf dealing with a quad injury that according to all forms of information is still bothering him and his camp feels like he isn’t ready to return regardless of what the team doctors are saying.  Suddenly the quiet superstar has become a malcontent, one of the greatest coaches of all time seems out of touch and one of the most consistently successful franchises seems to be flailing wildly.

Here’s the simple math, Parker made $15 million this year but is not under contract for next year and I think is likely to retire. Ginobili is due $2.5 next year but my personal opinion is he is going to retire as well. This season has shown the old dogs that this isn’t their team anymore and they just spent a whole year answering questions about a guy who hasn’t done half of what they accomplished in their day. The frustration actually started to show by the end of the regular season as news of players-only meetings and locker room conversations started to leak.  So with the savings of $2.5 million, and a projected cap of $108 million dollars (yikes!) the Spurs come into the off-season about $11 million under the cap and don’t have a lot of obvious answers in front of them.

Leonard is a massive question mark, the “will he, won’t he” drama will circle this team all summer and with his $20 million dollar salary guaranteed and an opt out for the 2019 season, he has all the leverage.  Aldridge ($72 million over the next three years) played well this playoffs and all season but he isn’t enough on his own and Mills ($37 million over the next three years), Green ($10 million for 2018), Gay ($8.8 million for 2018) and Gasol ($32 million for two more years) are not the pieces to move forward with.  The  Gasol deal especially is confusing and watching Gay this postseason was painful. These aren’t the players you’re looking for.

So how do the Spurs fix this?  Two solutions: a reload or a rebuild. If it’s a rebuild, Pop retires, the GM starts over and they try to recapture the magic without taking as long as Philadelphia has.  If it’s a reload then they have the chance to do something this off-season but it would be bold and I’m going to preface this with I’m simply looking at the pieces out there.  So you take the $11 million dollars in cap space and you call up free agent Isaiah Thomas and you offer him minutes and a chance to learn under Pop and clean up the mess that was 2017.  You then try and get Carmelo Anthony, not because he’s great or a leader, or anything other than the fact he can score a bunch and it’ll take the pressure off of Aldridge.

You bribe someone to take Gasol with some picks and the Gay and Green contracts for future cap space in some thre- team trade to bring in Carmelo and some combination of Will Barton, Avery Bradley, J.J. Redick and if they’re affordable Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and/or Rajon Rondo.  If the basketball gods are friendly, you wind up with Aldridge, Thomas, Anthony, Mills, Barton, Rondo and the typical bench guys that the Spurs find at the end of free agency.  Would this beat the Warriors?  The Rockets?  Wherever LeBron goes? Maybe not, but it gives them another chance at the playoffs which is more than they will have coming into next year if they stand pat.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Photo via: WikiCommons.

This week the NASCAR cup series heads to the world center of racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for the inaugural fourth of July version of the Brickyard 400. This is unprecedented for NASCAR considering over the course of 50 years they are usually in Daytona around this time. While this move was met with a lot of criticism from fans, there is a positive to come from this move though, as the sport will hold their first doubleheader with Indycar. This has been talked about for many years and now it has finally come to fruition. Another new facet of this weekend will be the Xfinity Series running on the road course configuration. This could very well lead to the cup series transitioning from the oval to the road course next season should everything go well when the Xfinity series does it. It will definitely be an interesting weekend.

Last week, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin dominated the first-ever doubleheader at Pocono. The two drivers finished first and second in both races with Harvick taking race one and Hamlin winning race two. Both of these races came down to pit-road strategy as Harvick was able to eke out a victory by taking two tires and fuel while his teammate Aric Almirola took four. The next day Denny Hamlin pretty much had the whole field covered as he went on to claim his fourth victory of the season. Overall, the idea of two races in a weekend went over well but for the racing itself, it was hard to watch. One of the main issues I had was how the drivers didn't have to shift this week. In my opinion, that was what made this track so unique. It was an oval that had road course characteristics and it usually produced some pretty good finishes. Hopefully this will be addressed when the new car makes its debut in 2022.

One of the big stories going into this week is the announcement a couple of weeks ago that NASCAR will be moving their all-star event to Bristol Motor Speedway. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a whirlwind of news from the Bubba Wallace story at Talladega, to the doubleheader races last week. A lot of this has put this announcement on the back burner but this is a huge story. The race will be held on Wednesday, July 15th as NASCAR continues with midweek races. This is the first time since 1986 that the race will not be run at NASCAR's home track in Charlotte back when it took place at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The format will be pretty much the same as all the winners from 2019 and 2020 will all have an automatic birth into the race while the rest of the field will run in the open event the day before. The main event will feature four stages including a 15 lap closer around one of NASCAR's most popular race tracks. I think this move was long overdue and I hope that they continue with it in the future. Don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with the race at Charlotte but I think a change of pace would be welcomed. I look forward to seeing how this turns out.

As we move on to Indy this weekend, the driver I have winning is Kurt Busch. This weekend will be the 2004 Cup Series champion's 700th career start, and he's won just about every race that there is to be won except this one here at the Brickyard. This week, that is going to change. It hasn't been the most consistent season for the Vegas native, but he still sits tenth in points and right in the thick of the playoff battle. This track isn't his best as he currently has a 19.42 average finish, including a dismal 30th place finish last year. But this week, I think he gets back on track with a victory as he starts second. The veteran has flown under the radar this year, but he has definitely shown spurts where we think he is going to break-out. He also has runs where it seems like him and his team are mid-pack, but there aren't many drivers out there that have the experience he has. And a talented driver like him always finds a way to bounce back. Look for Kurt Busch to take the #1 Monster Energy Camaro to victory lane.

All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome