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This is a famous-last-words moment.
Pundits have been predicting the end of the Spurs dynasty for years, and yet they’ve still made the playoffs every season since drafting Tim Duncan in 1997.
However, the end might finally be arriving. San Antonio has a deadly combination of traits that put it behind the eight ball in the loaded Western Conference: It lacks a top-tier star, plays anachronistically and seems to be operating on two different timelines.
Of course, the Spurs have good players. DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge each own at least four All-Star berths, and the rest of the team is surprisingly deep. But without a go-to three-level scorer like many teams in the West have, San Antonio has limited upside.
DeRozan would have to channel Kobe Bryant‘s level of mid-range mastery for that strategy to pay off in the playoffs, and we’ve seen him play for long enough to know he is no Kobe. Plus, his contract is up this year, and he is already a sketchy fit with San Antonio’s cadre of young, promising guards. Head coach Gregg Popovich has to find playing time for Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Bryn Forbes, Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli and Lonnie Walker IV in addition to DeRozan.
With DeRozan possibly on his last legs in San Antonio and Aldridge’s contract set to run out after the 2020-21 season, the Spurs can trade them and finally jump-start the rebuild they’ve successfully delayed for so long. San Antonio has not yet ruled out giving DeRozan a max-level extension, but so much can change in a year. RC Buford and Popovich should consider all possibilities, including a rebuild, before deciding on his future and that of the franchise.