NBA Q&A: Spurs GM R.C. Buford

Posted by Unknown on Friday, March 14, 2014 with No comments
Courtesy of Jabari Young

EN: How impressed are you with the way the team has been playing, especially since the return of Kawhi Leonard from an injury.
RC: It’s good to get guys back healthy, but I don’t think we’re ever really impressed.
EN: As the GM, how tough was it not to pull the trigger early and make a big trade; to wait everything out with all the injuries?
RC: I don’t know how you answer how tough it is, but we approach every season the same way, and not to be reactionary, to look for opportunities, to make our team better and if there are opportunities that makes sense for us and makes sense for chemistry of the group, then to pursue those.
EN: Gregg Popovich said recently that Nando De Colo requested a trade earlier in the season. Were you exploring a trade all season, or did the deal with Toronto (traded Austin Daye to the Spurs for De Colo last month) just pop up last minute?
RC: I mean we looked for opportunities to help our team. There were times when Nando was playing a significant role that made it more difficult than other times because of injuries and such, so when opportunities became available that allowed us to help Nando accomplish his goals and give us an opportunity to look at Austin and see if he might be able to fit; I mean, often times things happen closer to the deadline than most, but it doesn’t mean that you were pursing it any harder or any less hard earlier than that. It’s just, people tend dance toward the deadline.
EN: Speaking of Austin Daye, what are your thoughts on him? Does he fit long-term or is it just something right now — an experiment?
RC: I don’t know how you know whether he fits long-term. His body of work for us to evaluate is not great, but I think that parts of his game, that he does well, can fit the way we play. We haven’t had a lot of practice time, and he hasn’t had a lot of game time, so it’s almost impossible to say what his role is other than to say: I think he has an opportunity for the future. He’s under contract for next year and we’ll see what happens. (The time between) now and the end of the summer will have a big impact on his ability to create a role.
EN: During the buyout season, did you guys have any interest in any of the big names that were out there?
RC: I think I’d answer the same way I started, which is: We’re constantly looking to improve our team. We’re going to explore most avenues that are available to us and when it fits for another team and us, we might make a trade. When it fits for another player and us, we might bring him in.
EN: Thoughts on Kawhi and the type of season he’s having. He’s in the headlines these days for being a spark for this team and looks it like he becoming a little more aggressive offensively…
RC: How many games has that been (since Leonard has been back)?
Answer: About seven …
RC: And how many games has he probably been aggressive?
Answer: On and off …
RC: I think the last three or four (games), I think I may have been pleased with his aggressiveness. My thoughts about Kawhi are: Our hope is that he continues to build on that and we’d love to see him be aggressive every time he steps out on the floor.
EN: The win against Miami was big for this team, may have knocked off a few demons. What did you think of that win and the way the team played that night?
RC: We obviously played well. I don’t think there was any purpose for any demons being knocked out. We always try to play well and especially against the premier teams in the league. Winning that game doesn’t change anything that’s happened in the past and has relatively little impact on what probably will happen in the future. It just will help us become a better basketball team if we play well every night.
EN: About 19 games remain in the regular season. Are you happy with this team, right now as constructed, to make that long playoff run with the chance to maybe get back to the finals?
RC: You know, we are who we are. I’m happy we’re healthy now, but that doesn’t guarantee that we’ll be healthy tonight or tomorrow or a month from now. So, I think if we’re healthy and playing well, we’ll give ourselves a chance to live up to whatever expectations we should be approaching, but I don’t know that you can judge how you’re going to (play) or where you’re positioned for the playoffs. There’s still (regular season games) left to play and then a long journey for whoever the champion eventually is. We’re all out there trying to win a championship.
EN: Is health the number one concern?
RC: No. It is a key thing, you always like to have great health; you always like to play well. I think playing well and being healthy, you’re going to have your best opportunity to reach whatever level you should reach.
EN: Thoughts on Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili. Are you looking to get more years out of them?
RC: I don’t know that any of us are focused on anything but the (remainder of the regular season) and the playoffs. As it is at the end of every year, we’ll sit down and they’ll sit down. The group has been together a long time and I don’t see any reason that they wouldn’t want to be together, but again, there are a lot of decisions; there are a lot of people who have input in these decisions.
EN: Are you expecting Tim Duncan to be back next year?
RC: I haven’t talked to Tim about it, so I wouldn’t know. And I don’t think anybody has probably talked to Tim about it.