RC Buford Rumors
“The team’s done a terrific job of coming together. A lot of new players,” Buford told ESPN. “I think Pau [Gasol] and LaMarcus have obviously been significant and the contributions of other guys who have filled in and come together well. We’re obviously not the best team in the league. But the group has taken care of its responsibilities in a way that puts them in a position to win. “This is a group that has played together for a quarter of the season, and it’ll be on everybody to figure out how to play well together [when Leonard returns]. We’ll all need to learn how to play together differently. I don’t think that there’s trepidation. That’s just part of team building, growing as a team.”
So Sam Presti, then a 24-year-old Spurs scout and now general manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder, would show up at Buford’s home, after the kids had gone to bed, with a duffel bag full of VHS tapes of this young French wizard. He dreamed of finding the next great player to put beside superstar Tim Duncan. They got their man in the 2001 draft, taking Parker 28th and handing him over to coach Gregg Popovich and his sink-or-swim ways.
“I just remember how excited R.C. was after it worked out in the draft,” Presti told USA TODAY Sports. “The draft is a different animal, so you never know how the board will ultimately work or fall. There was some uneasiness about whether or not he would be available at our pick. “The draft is a different animal, so you never know how the board will ultimately work or fall. There was some uneasiness about whether or not he would be available at our pick, and I just recall RC being really, really excited that Tony was there.”
Rivers’ losing his front office duties isn’t so much an indictment of his individual fitness for the duties, but the fact that it is suited for no one coach in this modern era. For everyone trying to replicate the San Antonio dynasty, understand this: The Spurs have the greatest coach (Gregg Popovich) and greatest executive (RC Buford) of a generation. As much as it’s the ultimate model, it’s the ultimate aberration too. Popovich defers to Buford’s expertise and judgment, in ways that Minnesota president and coach Tom Thibodeau will likely never do with a GM.
Jay Allen: RC Buford says Spurs still waiting to hear from Manu Ginobili about his future: “Hopefully he’ll come off the beach one day & let us know.”