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Another Year Likely for Pop and Big Three in San Antonio

Another NBA season has come to an end with the San Antonio Spurs knocking the Miami Heat off their two-year perch as the NBA Champions.

The Spurs have won 5 titles in the past 15 years. Head Coach Gregg Popovich and forward Tim Duncan have been around for all 5 and Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili for 4 of the 5.

Even though the Spurs have been saying we will have to wait in see, they are expecting that Duncan, Ginobili and Popovich will stay for at least next season to teammate up once again with Parker and Kawhi Leonard in quest of a sixth franchise title.

However, the team has also been preparing for the day that Parker and Leonard remain while the other two players are gone.

Returning for another season means Duncan and Popovich would forfeit the chance for the ultimate farewell, but all signs point to both being with San Antonio another season.

Then again, neither Pop nor Duncan are the slightest bit interested in books, stories or fables with fairy tale endings.

Popovich told his players following their clinching game on Sunday that he had never been as proud of any team he coached or as satisfied from a season as he was with this team and this past season.

Duncan told the crowd at the trophy presentation he was honored to be a member of the team and he would hold on as long as he could, which to most listeners does not sound like a farewell speech.

Nevertheless, one day the time will come that both Duncan and Popovich is not in the San Antonio locker room.

The Spurs know that when the time comes and Duncan and Ginobili leave then a rebuilding process could take years. The Boston Celtics organization took years to recover when the run ended with Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale.

The Celtics did that again last season with the exit of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce for a handful of future picks in the draft.

San Antonio will not have to do as much deal making as the Celtics. Parker and Leonard should stay for a number of more years and will make a strong nucleus to build from.

Most importantly, the team needs to re-sign Leonard to a big extension during the offseason. Leonard could demand a huge paycheck after faring very well against LeBron James head to head in the NBA Finals.

Thoughts are though he might take a bit less than he could earn on the open market and give his team the added flexibility to bring in more talent.

The Spurs have two 2013 picks from the first round who they have stashed abroad that could help the team next season or when Duncan and Ginobili decide enough is enough.

Ginobili said that even though seven seasons went by without a championship that he always felt each season that they could win the championship.

He said after the final game on Sunday that at almost 37 years of age and with Duncan at 38 winning the title tastes even better.

For San Antonio fans, having both Duncan and Ginobili returning with Popovich would be an honor.

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