San Antonio Spurs Dynasty: The End of an Era

Max Minsker@@MaxMinskerCorrespondent IJuly 20, 2010

SAN ANTONIO - MAY 09:  Guard Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 9, 2010 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs have been very good for a long time. In fact, the Spurs have made the playoffs in 13 straight seasons.

However, the Spurs are in trouble of losing their elite status for multiple reasons.

The San Antonio Spurs' roster is built primarily of veterans. They do have solid young role players like Dejuan Blair, George Hill, Alonzo Gee, James Anderson, and possibly Tiago Splitter. However, it is unlikely any of these players will turn out to be the kind of guys the Spurs have built franchises around in the past, namely David Robinson and Tim Duncan. 

Dejaun Blair, George Hill, and Tiago Splitter will probably not be as effective as the trio of Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili going forward. It seems as if this run of dominance is coming to an end, and it may be faster than you think. 

Tony Parker is the youngest of the trio at 28, as he is just reaching his prime.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for his two teammates. Duncan is 34 and Ginobili will turn 33 this month.

Duncan, specifically, is starting to show his age, and is seeing his numbers as well as his minutes deteriorate. Ginobili has been struggling with nagging injuries over the past few years and has never played more than 75 games in a single season during his eight-year career. 

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Antonio McDyess, who is currently the team's starting center, isn't getting any younger either. With the addition of James Anderson, the Spurs now have two starters under the age of 33. 

The aging of their roster, while pressing, may not be the Spurs' biggest problem. Tony Parker is set to be an unrestricted free agent after next season. With the Spurs' long-term success now in question, the possibility of Parker jumping ship is becoming significantly more realistic.

In just four seasons, Tim Duncan will be 38 and Ginobili will be 37. It's hard to imagine both of those guys still being in the starting rotation at that point in their careers.

In 2014, Parker is looking at a starting lineup including James Anderson, Alonzo Gee, Dejuan Blair, and Tiago Splitter. Parker will be 32 years old and will likely not be at his best.

This lineup simply doesn't include the star power necessary to secure home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, much less win a title. Parker probably has one good contract left in him, and it would be foolish of him to waste it in San Antonio. The Spurs are a good team in 2010, but good doesn't win championships.

Parker reportedly has interest in playing in New York. If the Knicks can clear enough cap room to sign both Parker and Carmelo Anthony, that could be enough to lure Parker away from San Antonio. 

Tony Parker is not the only one who could be leaving after this season. Tim Duncan has an ETO (Early Termination Option) and could opt out of his contract after next season.

If Parker decides to leave, another team may be able to lure Duncan away from San Antonio for a chance at another championship.

Without Parker on board, San Antonio is not really a contender and at that point, a 35-year-old Tim Duncan might feel that San Antonio is not the best place for him to play. It is unlikely that Duncan leaves San Antonio, but if he really wants to win, he might have to. 

There is also another option. If Parker were to leave San Antonio, the Spurs may feel that a rebuilding route may be the best direction to take the team. If they decide that this is the best option, either Ginobili, Duncan, or both would probably be traded. 

San Antonio will compete for a top spot in the West during the 2010-2011 season, but next offseason, Tony Parker may hold the keys to San Antonio's success in the future. 

The Spurs have done a nice job of stacking up on solid young role players, but they are still looking for that big star to lead them through the next decade. Of course there is still time for the Spurs to prepare, but the future could sneak up on the Spurs quickly. 

Putting the success of the franchise into the hands of George Hill in 2011 could be a recipe for disaster, and Spurs fans could be in for a rude awakening. The Spurs' rebuilding process may not be an especially long one, but replacing these three stars will be no simple task. 

Adding the Spurs to the list of teams devastated by free agency would signal the end of the Spurs' decade-long run of great teams. It's time for the Spurs to face their problems head on, and start preparing for the future.