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Old 03-30-2011, 04:11 PM   #1
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Talking R.C. Buford Talks to Jim Rome

Duncan will miss upcoming three-game Spurs trip Five quick takes: A strange game from beginning to end New-look Spurs prepared for new-look Nuggets Spurs change up practice routine to provide for extra rest Spurs support diminishing in some NBA power polls Spurs general manager R.C. Buford typically shuns much of the media spotlight that many of his contemporaries are attracted to.

Buford was interviewed Tuesday on ESPN’s “Jim Rome Is Burning,.” Among the topics he covered were Tim Duncan’s health, how important the No. 1 seed is to the team, how Gregg Popovich had to be convinced to see Tony Parker’s value and how long he expects San Antonio’s “Big Three” to remain together.

Here’s a transcript of the interview.

Jim Rome: R.C. nice to have you on. How are you?

R.C. Buford: I’m great Jim, thanks.

Jim Rome: Let’s talk where you are at right now. You guys have lost four in a row. The team is pretty banged up and the Lakers are finishing fast. How concerned are you?

R.C. Buford: You know, we’re more concerned about being healthy and prepared for the playoffs. Any time you are injured you are concerned about that. But I think right now, we’re just working on getting healthy. The standings will be what they will be.

Jim Rome: Why don’t you start with Tim Duncan? When you saw him go down against Golden State and saw the way he landed, what went through your mind?

R.C. Buford: It’s never good when Tim hits the ground. He has a tendency to put us into due trauma when that does happen. But he’s looked good coming back this week and we’re anticipating good health soon.

Jim Rome: So what’s his timetable? Exactly what’s that for his return?

R.C. Buford: Hopefully by the end of the week, we’ll have a better idea. But he’s looking good in his workouts now. He’s yet to go through any activities with our team. But we should have a chance to see where he is tomorrow.

Jim Rome: Talk about the No. 1 seed. Is that going to impact how and when you bring him back?

R.C. Buford: Nah. Fortunately, we’ve got eager players and a cautious coach. And I think Pop’s history to to really work through the best interest of the players and challenge to them to really be ready.

Jim Rome: So will Duncan be expected to be at 100 percent when the post season starts?

R.C. Buford: We’ll see how that goes, but we anticipate him being able to go through practice, able to go through games sooner than that. Hopefully sooner than the post season.

Jim Rome: I posed that question because Tony Parker said: “‘Look, we could still get that No. 1 seed without him, but we’re not going to make a deep run without him in the post season.” Would you anticipate having to go into the post season without him (Duncan)? And how dire would it be if he’s not 100 percent?

R.C. Buford: Well, I think it’s obvious that although we’ve had a very good year to date and we’ve played pretty well in the last four games. The last four games show the importance of Tim to our program. So, if we go into the post season and Tim isn’t healthy, it doesn’t bode well for us. But we anticipate him back sooner than that.

Jim Rome: Take a big picture look at Tim Duncan for a minute. When you look at this, you’ll see a Hall of Famer. And you’ll probably never see a more unselfish guy than Tim Duncan. Especially for a star at that level. You’ll never have to wake up one morning and saying “I want a trade” or “I want a new contract.” For you to do the job that you’ve done, how much easier is it making, knowing you have that guy in that position?

R.C. Buford: Well, it’s the reason why we are who we are and where we are. Quite frankly, Tim is the most important piece. What he’s brought to our organization and the relationship he’s had with Pop. The ability he’s gives us to coach him hard allows Pop to build a program where he can coach anybody. And it allows us to know the players that fit around us.

Jim Rome: Yeah, I think you’re selling yourself short. I mean certainly you are the architect of this thing and you’ve worked in partnership with Gregg Popovich. But as somebody who’s responsible for the big picture, do you at some point have to think about what it’s going to be like without Tim Duncan? Do you start to shift your thinking to what do you do when he’s not here?

R.C. Buford: You know, you have to think that way, but until that’s the time and place, you really don’t. We have to build to make this team as good as we can be now. And hopefully the pieces that we add will help up transition into the future. But we don’t want to put ourselves in a position where we’re not competing at the highest level we can with Tim, Tony, Manu and Pop in their state as they are.

Jim Rome: Go to Tony for a minute. What did you think the very first time you saw him? What did you think of him as a player?

R.C. Buford: You know, you never envision you’d get what you got now. All 30 teams were at the events where Tony played. I think we were just fortunate that his style fit what Pop wanted, fit alongside Manu and Tim and that’s he’s matured. That a 19-year-old kid coming into our program probably doesn’t normally succeed. But the maturity level that Tony had from being a pro at an early age in France helped him transition into a very mature locker room.

Jim Rome: It sounds like you knew when you first saw him. What did Pop think the very first time he saw him?

R.C. Buford: He wasn’t as convinced. It took some efforts to really listen to what Pop was concerned about. But by the time we got him in our gym the second time, Pop walked out of that workout and basically said at that time “That guy would start for us 10 games into his career. But there’s no way he’ll get to us.” We were very lucky that that happened.

Jim Rome: That gets to my next point. You knew and he knew but you were also knew you were picking late in the first round that year. What was it like waiting through that whole draft and hoping that nobody would take him?

R.C. Buford: Well, it’s always an anxious moment if you are really keyed in on one or two people to see if they’ll get to where you are. And waiting for the 29th pick took a long time that night.

Jim Rome: Obviously when you look at a core group and you’ve had so much success, you wonder about that proverbial window. Realistically, how much longer does that window stay open and how much more time do you have with this group?

R.C. Buford: I think Tim, Tony and Manu all are under contract for at least the next two years. Pop will be along with that group as well. They’ll decide amongst themselves when it’s time to go a different direction. But I think they are all healthy. Pop has done a great job of managing minutes. So this year, they are all at career-low minutes and I think that will help prolong their careers as has the last years that Pop has really been sensitive to their minutes. And I think it helped in their relationship together will be the deciding factor.

Jim Rome: I’m so anxious to ask you this last question. You don’t show up very often. I’m really pumped that you showed for this particular interview. How did we smoke you out to get you do this?

R.C. Buford: Well, I’ve always been a big fan of you and the work you do. It’s a real honor to be a part of this.

Jim Rome: It’s a good time. We’ve been trying for a long time and I’m glad we could finally turn this around. R.C., thanks a lot. Good to talk to you.

R.C. Buford: Thank you, Jim.
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Old 03-31-2011, 02:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: R.C. Buford Talks to Jim Rome

Great post, thanks! I definitely missed/would've missed that due to work.
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Old 10-09-2011, 06:28 PM   #5
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:34 PM   #6
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