USA TODAY Sports
The San Antonio Spurs dynasty has outlasted all others.
The San Antonio Spurs' dynasty has outlasted the rest of the NBA.
The Spurs won their first title in 1999, and again in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
Fourteen years later, the Spurs are back in the Western Conference finals.
How did they do it?
Well, maintaining a dynasty is about more than just retaining the trio of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, all of whom were drafted by the franchise.
San Antonio created a system under Gregg Popovich that is constantly tinkered with and given new talent to match the needs of the current recipe. The Spurs do it at a fair price too, ranking No. 12 in payroll.
The philosophy of the Spurs has been a testament to perseverance with their core. The Spurs have continued to add talent through the draft, free agency and trades that never shifted their base of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili.
When the team has made decisions, they seem to fit perfectly within the framework of San Antonio's needs.
At the forefront of strong trading is Kawhi Leonard, who was received on draft day in exchange for point guard George Hill. Parker just turned 31 years old in May, and it became clear that the need for Leonard at the wing was greater than a backup point guard. Because of it, the Spurs became longer and more athletic.
The team finds undervalued talents where other franchises do not. Ginobili was taken No. 57 overall in the 1999 draft and Parker was taken with the 28th pick in 2001.
The list continues with Cory Joseph (29th, 2011) and Nando De Colo (53rd, 2009). The team drafted Tiago Splitter in 2007 and waited for him until 2010, when he finally left his professional contract in Brazil.
Danny Green, who was a defensive stopper against Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, is a three-point threat and a pivotal member of the Spurs. He is another castoff who was let go by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010 and now remains under contract with the Spurs to be paid a total of $7.76 million for the next two years.
Matt Bonner was traded before the 2006 draft in a minor deal, and free agents Gary Neal and Boris Diaw were quietly signed for modest dollars.
San Antonio maintains its dynasty by never overreacting and always making minor adjustments to a product that's been proven for more than a decade.