Every potential development and snag in the Dwight Howard trade saga is deafening—so much so that a team like the San Antonio Spurs has gone about its free-agent business virtually undetected, just months removed from last season's finish as Western Conference finalists.
In one fell swoop—or at least one reported swoop, given the insular nature of the Spurs organization—San Antonio re-signed Tim Duncan to a three-year deal, agreed to bring back Boris Diaw on a very manageable two-year, $9 million deal, came to an agreement with Danny Green on an equally reasonable three-year, $12 million contract and, just for fun, agreed to bring back reserve guard Patty Mills (per Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, Johnny Ludden and Marc Spears).
That may not be anything more than maintaining San Antonio's status quo, but San Antonio's status quo was worth quite a bit last season.
This is just the way things go in San Antonio: The players that the Spurs want to stay stay, and virtually every deal signed—save that Richard Jefferson weirdness—is relatively modest.
Green and Diaw are both above-average contributors signed for less than the mid-level; that's San Antonio economics in a nutshell, though how exactly the Spurs pull it off is beyond me.
There's an undeniable truth to the majesty of R.C. Buford and Gregg Popovich.
While it may not manifest by nabbing away superstars under careful 24-hour watch, it keeps the franchise afloat, positions it well for winning now without sacrificing future rebuilding efforts and keeps the price tag on the entire operation completely reasonable.
Given the nature of their team from last season, this was the only option realistically afforded the Spurs. They didn't have the ability to blow their entire roster apart, and given that Duncan and Manu Ginobili are still tremendously effective while Tony Parker is on the rise, it made sense that San Antonio would strap down every valuable asset in sight and have another go.
The Oklahoma City Thunder may very well have been the only team in basketball capable of beating the Spurs last season, and while those Thunder aren't going anywhere, the Spurs are good enough to continue vying for a title with this current bunch and rebooting once Duncan regresses beyond the point of rotational management.
That day may be coming, but there's no reason to believe it's coming this season, when San Antonio is again poised to battle the Thunder (and likely the Lakers) for the Western Conference crown.
They're no flashier—and technically speaking, no better—than last season. But the Spurs' massive win streak and subsequent playoff sprint was no fluke.
This is a tremendous team that's able to repel the effects of aging with depth and systemic strength. The Spurs will be right back in the thick of things 10 months from now, no matter how many times they're disregarded in the interim.
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