RC Buford Rumors
Tom Orsborn: Pop praised R.C. Buford’s leadership during the pandemic, saying he “sets the tone” for the franchise: “He is somebody who thinks out of the box. He is an organizer, a manager…His initiatives, his overall vision have been of paramount importance during this difficult time.”
“I’ve always taken great inspiration from what the Spurs did forever,” Sheppard said, citing the franchise famous for Manu Ginobili (Argentina), Tony Parker (France) and even Tim Duncan (Virgin Islands) as successful overseas stars. “They were the gold standard. It’s not like they said, ‘Let’s go get international guys.’ It kind of organically grew that way. You take a lot of notes over the years and you see what works in different places.”
The truth of the matter was the Nets — who spent an NBA-record $197 million on their roster in 2013-14, including $90 million in luxury taxes — had low-balled Marks. According to sources, their initial offer was for a little more than $1 million per season — or around the same salary he was making as RC Buford’s No. 2 in San Antonio. After negotiations that spanned deep into the night, Brooklyn saved the deal basically by doubling Marks’ annual salary. The next day, Sean Marks was officially Brooklyn-bound. “It’s a testament to Mikhail and Dmitry (Razumov),” Mike Forde said.
According to Buford, even with the Spurs’ vision shifting in a different direction, it’s still channeled through Popovich, who is 71, and that will continue. “Pop’s vision has clearly been our North Star,” he said. “However, having said that, when we get ready to make a decision, we all get in the room, and everybody needs to be prepared, and he doesn’t care who it is that gets the right answer, as long as we get the right answer.”
Asked about the Popovich to New York rumors, where former Spurs executive and current Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks could be seeking his services, Buford said the Spurs are “under the assumption” Popovich is returning. The coach is also scheduled to coach the USA basketball men’s national team in next summer’s rescheduled Olympic games in Tokyo. “I don’t know if he’s told Brian any differently,” Buford said. “Pop’s shown nothing other than how we’re going to build our team for next year.”