Spurs Notes: Duncan, Ginobili, Gasol, Belinelli

Tim Duncan showed up at practice today, but his role with the Spurs remains undefined, according to Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com. Newly retired after 18 years with the team, Duncan will be used in some type of coaching or advisory capacity. Head coach Gregg Popovich said the former All-Star will be “coach of whatever he feels like,” but won’t be on the bench during games. It also hasn’t been determined whether Duncan will travel with the team on road trips. GM R.C. Buford said Duncan’s role will define itself as the season wears on, adding that the team “want[s] to let it kind of morph into its own sort of thing.” “I think he’s learning about life after playing,” Buford said. “And 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. Then, we’ll figure it out from there. But the gym feels better when he’s in it.”

There’s more news out of San Antonio:

  • Buford is grateful that Duncan and Manu Ginobili didn’t retire at the same time, relays Tom Orsborne of The San Antonio Express-News. Calling it a “lonely summer” with so much player turnover, Buford was gratified that he was able to convince Ginobili to play one more season with a $14MM contract. “To have had to replace them both at the same time would have been even more impactful than when each one decides to leave as individuals,” Buford said. “I don’t know how you judge that or gauge that other than that we know there is a transition approaching for our organization and it will be better if it’s a more managed transition than if it all happens at the same time.”
  • A year after joining the Spurs in free agency, LaMarcus Aldridge is the most tenured member of the big-man rotation, notes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Not only did Duncan retire, but Boris Diaw was traded to the Jazz, Boban Marjanovich signed with the Pistons and David West left for the Warriors. Veteran shooting specialist Matt Bonner is working out in New Hampshire and hoping for another chance at the NBA. Taking their place are free agent additions Pau Gasol, David Lee and Dewayne Dedmon. “We were lucky to sign him,” Tony Parker said of Gasol. “Losing Timmy, you can’t replace a guy like that. At least we have Pau and LaMarcus. It’s going to be a great combination.”
  • Marco Belinelli is on his second team since leaving San Antonio in 2015, but the new Hornet still has fond memories of his time with the Spurs, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. “Pop is unbelievable and for sure I can say [there were] so many examples to me: Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker,” Belinelli said. “They so can make you a better basketball player and a better person.”

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