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|The Spurs are the team to beat with Brent on board.|
The big news is deeper, as in deep within my heart lies a melody, a song of old San Antone (A little Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, anyone?), as in the Spurs signed Brent Barry for $22 mill. Nobody's talking much about it, but they should be. Barry can fill it up and he can dish it. He's the second-best three-point shooter in the league and he passes the ball with a Sabonis-like flair for gaps in time and space. Like the Detlef Schrempfs and the Scottie Pippens of old, he can run the point when you want it, and he can run the flow from the wings when you want that. He plays some D. He grabs some boards. He moves. He sees. Two weeks ago, San Antonio's shooting guard was the incredible disappearing Hedo.
Now they've got the proverbial "player who makes everyone around him better," a guy who should be a great fit alongside Tony Parker, a sparkplug off the bench (coming in for Ginobili) some nights, and a starting-lineup orchestrator on other nights when Popovich wants to go quick and small. He's going to feed Duncan so often the Big Stoic's going to push himself away from the table and undo the top button of his pants. Duncan's going to find him out of the double so often that Brent is going to think every night is All-Star weekend and all he's got to do is sink the money ball. Add in the fact that he's hungry to win and will bend over backward to fit in. Add in the fact that every single game for Barry will be an I-can't-believe-I-traded-Calvin-Booth-and-Jerome-James-for-Tim-Freakin'-Duncan celebration of life. Add in the fact that the Spurs got a stand-up move from Bruce Bowen, who opted out and signed for less, which allowed the team to keep Manu and set an all-about-the-team tone for 2004-05. Add in the fact that Parker is a year older (and, we'll just have to assume, showing real progress after a summer's worth of post-Lakers therapy), Ginobili is about to go off, they might get a something-to-prove Malone, and Duncan is ... well, Duncan. And what's it all add up to? An O'Brien trophy and some plastic sheets covering the lockers in San Antonio, is what. Who in the West is going to hang with this team? Sacramento? Too rickety. Houston? Too thin. Dallas? Not without a center. Not without some defense. Only the T-Wolves are close; but after KG, not close enough. No, it's the Spurs. And when it's over, the way the Pistons talked last month about Rasheed, the way the Yankees are going to be talking about RJ, and the way the cast of "Cheers" talked about the arrival of Woody after Coach passed, everyone in San Antonio will be talking about Brent Barry, the lynchpin. In other free-agent news ... Three notes on Carlos Boozer:
|Boozer took the money and ran to Utah.|
|The Clippers' failure to sign a free agent is yet again the talk of the offseason.|