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Gregg Popovich and the Spurs could be in for a rough season after a quiet offseason.
The San Antonio Spurs have been getting old for years. Have they reached a tipping point?
We're going to find out.
The Spurs dominated the entire NBA down the stretch of the 2011-12 regular season. They rolled right through the first two rounds of the playoffs without so much as one loss. They won the first two games of the Western Conference finals, and then the bottom fell out.
San Antonio absorbed four straight defeats at the hands of the younger and more athletic Oklahoma City Thunder.
It wasn't pretty, but it was still a very good season in San Antonio.
Will this coming season be as good?
That's beginning to look unlikely.
The Los Angeles Lakers are an improved squad. They acquired two All-Stars in point guard Steve Nash and center Dwight Howard. They also grabbed a veteran who can come off the bench and score in Antawn Jamison.
The Thunder didn't make any major acquisitions, but they also didn't suffer any major losses. If anything, a healthy Eric Maynor is an upgrade over veteran Derek Fisher at backup point guard. First-round draft pick Perry Jones could be a diamond in the rough playing alongside his talented young teammates.
The Spurs basically stood pat. They re-signed future Hall of Fame center/power forward Tim Duncan, and they also brought back Danny Green and Boris Diaw. Patty Mills and Nando De Colo seem unlikely to put the Spurs over the top of their improved Western Conference rivals.
The Spurs' key players all return a year older. Manu Ginobili is 35, Tim Duncan is 36, Stephen Jackson is 34 and both Tony Parker and Boris Diaw are 30. Spurs fans will get to watch last year's exceptional rookie Kawhi Leonard improve in his second year, though.
The improvement will have to be well beyond anyone's expectations because the heart and soul of this team appears to be heading into a period of decline, and that's not good when your biggest rivals are only getting better.