May 2, 2011, 2:35 PM EDT
That one hurt.
Spurs fans have brushed off the whole “the Spurs are dead” talk, but the first round loss to the Grizzlies after a 61-win regular season made it feel real. The way the Grizzlies were more physical made it real.
So, now what San Antonio?
Gregg Popovich told the Express-News Spurs blog not to expect much.
“There will be some changes, but we never get drastic in that sense,” Popovich said. “Somebody asked me yesterday, ‘We lost, do we blow it up’?? That’s the most preposterous attitude you can have.”
There also isn’t a lot of room — the Spurs have $74 million in payroll on the books for next season, which is not only over the current cap it is over the current luxury tax threshold. They can lower that some by not picking up some options, but not a ton. Who knows what the new collective bargaining agreement will look like, but the Spurs will not have much room to maneuver.
And there are big questions. The Spurs have locked up Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, but next year Tim Duncan will turn 36 in the final year of his deal. Do you bring him back? Try to trade him? Do the Spurs need to find a new big man to anchor their team?
Getting a guy through free agency is not that simple. As Timothy Varner noted at 48 Minutes of Hell, the problem is that San Antonio has never been a draw, playing with Tim Duncan was always the draw. And it’s not really one anymore.
Maybe it’s not time to blow it up, but it is time to think about some big changes in the next few years. This era is over.