RC Buford Rumors
Popovich indicated that the trust developed among himself, general manager R.C. Buford and Spurs ownership is what has helped the organization build the culture the rest of the league appears to be trying to replicate. “I think keeping owners informed about what’s going on is mandatory, and having input is fine,” Popovich said. “But I think there has to be an understanding that coaches and GMs have brains also, and we know who pays the bills. It’s a slippery slope, I think, if owners got too involved in that process. That trust relationship in those three areas is really important in creating a culture and making something that can be long-lasting. I’ve been here over 20 years. I think that says it all. They just let us do our jobs. We keep them informed as we should. And the chips fall where they may. If we’re not successful, I’m sure we’ll be gone just like anybody’s gone if things don’t work out well.”
Until the end, though, Krause was endlessly intrigued with the modern NBA and asked questions about the general managers and players. Tell me about R.C. Buford and Neil Olshey, Masai Ujiri and Sam Presti, he would ask. After Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City, he started to ask questions about Presti and his Thunder roster. I told Presti about my conversation with Krause, passed along a phone number and it wasn’t long until Presti made a trip to Chicago and spent an afternoon with Krause.
Popovich has always been in frequent communication with his point guard, but said Parker’s knowledge of the system and understanding of his limitations have helped him remain integral despite less offensive production. The 34-year-old Parker has taken it more upon himself to speak up, to get his teammates where they need to be, to feed Leonard and Aldridge when they have obvious mismatches and to, as Popovich said, “understand when we’re in mud and need something different.” “I’ve said it many times: As long as Pop is happy, and the Spurs are happy with what I’m doing, that’s all I care about,” Parker told The Vertical. “I can’t control what people are going to think. Or what they think I should do, because I’m not going to let my ego be above the team. The team is the most important, and for me, if I have to defer or be less aggressive to make sure Kawhi keeps going and LaMarcus be who is, I will do it. I never cared about my numbers.”
“[There are] a lot of talented teams in the NBA, but not everybody can sustain it for 15, 20 years. [There’s] a reason for that, though. Because everybody is so unselfish and nobody lets their ego be above the team,” Parker told The Vertical. “I think it’s unbelievable, through David, Timmy, Manu, me, then Kawhi, LaMarcus. It starts with the top. R.C., Coach Pop, the way they carry themselves, it’s all about the team. That’s what we want to do. “I always say I’m very blessed. Sixteen years, still playing in the league, still doing what I’m doing and be the starting point guard for a great organization, that’s a blessing for me.”
Power forward Carlos Boozer didn’t play in the NBA last season but contacted the Spurs last spring and told them he wanted back in. Buford suggested he play in San Antonio’s June minicamp, but Boozer declined. “Then he was going to come for a piece of our summer league, but then he said, ‘Nah, I’m not going to do that, either,'” Buford says. “So we moved on. How can we evaluate him if he’s not playing?” Boozer ended up signing with the Guangdong Tigers in China on July 30.
Spurs’ general manager RC Buford echoed those sentiments during an interview with a handful of reporters Wednesday. “Whatever he decides it will be,” Buford said. “I think he’s learning about life after playing. He can impact us in so many ways. I think we need to sit back and get a better understanding of how he feels like he wants to fit in, and what works for his family, and then we’ll figure it out from there. The gym feels better when he’s in it.” Duncan spent his entire 19-season career with the Spurs, leading them to five NBA championships. Buford said when Duncan decided to retire, he had a private conversation with Popovich. “You tried to prepare for it, and you tried to be ready to transition, but you never wanted to hear those words,” Buford said.