For the first time since the San Antonio Spurs began their run of great success, they will be returning the same core players. In the past, their championship teams have always lost key pieces the following season – Sean Elliott due to health issues after 1998-99, Stephen Jackson and David Robinson after 2002-03, and a collection of players in 2004-05.
Significant Contributors: Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Sean Elliott, Mario Elie, Avery Johnson, Jaren Jackson, Malik Rose, Antonio Daniels, Steve Kerr, Jerome Kersey, Will Perdue
Lost the next season: Will Perdue (left for Chicago - played 37 games and averaged 3.7 rebounds per game with the Spurs), Sean Elliott (kidney – missed the first 63 games)
Significant Contributors: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Stephen Jackson, Malik Rose, Bruce Bowen, David Robinson, Manu Ginobili, Steve Smith, Steve Kerr, Kevin Willis, Speedy Claxton, Danny Ferry
Lost the next season: Steve Smith (Portland - played 19.5 minutes per game), Steve Kerr (Portland - played in 75 games), Stephen Jackson (Atlanta - third on the team in points), Speedy Claxton (Golden State – averaged 15.7 minutes per game), Danny Ferry (retired – played in 64 games), David Robinson (retired - fourth on the team in points per game)
Notes: On July 25, 2001 San Antonio traded Steve Smith, Steve Kerr, and a 2003 second round draft choice to Portland for Derek Anderson.
Significant Contributors: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Bruce Bowen, Brent Barry, Devin Brown, Beno Udrih, Robert Horry, Rasho Nestorovic, Malik Rose, Tony Massenburg, Nazr Mohammed, Glenn Robinson, Mike Wilks, Sean Marks
Lost: Devin Brown (Utah - sixth on the team in points per game), Malik Rose (New York – see below), Tony Massenburg (retired – played in 61 games), Glenn Robinson (retired – see below), Mike Wilks (Cleveland - played in 48 games)
Notes: Robinson was signed at the end of the season and played in 13 of the team's 23 playoff games and nine regular season games. On February 25, 2005, the Knicks traded Nazr Mohammed and Jamison Brewer to the Spurs for Malik Rose and conditional 2005 and 2006 conditional first round picks.
Significant Contributors: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Bruce Bowen, Brent Barry, Michael Finley, Fransisco Elson, Matt Bonner, Beno Udrih, Fransisco Oberto, Robert Horry, Jacque Vaughn
Lost: Melvin Ely (played in 6 games last season), Jackie Butler (11 games), Eric Williams (16 games), James White (6 games).
Notes: The Spurs drafted Tiago Splitter and Marcus Williams in this past year’s draft. With the signing of Ime Udoka and Ian Mahinmi, it is very likely that the Spurs will not bring in either rookies this season. Splitter will most likely stay overseas for the entire year and Williams will play in the NBDL.
Unlike previous seasons, the Spurs will bring back the exact same core from last season. Adding Udoka to defend skilled wing players and Mahinmi to rebound in the paint, the Spurs may even be stronger. For the first time in their franchise history, the Spurs will try to successfully win back-to-back championships.