If any other team had signed a player of Tony Parker‘s caliber to a three-year, $43.3 million deal it would be the talk of the town. But, as the Spurs tend to operate, Parker’s extension happened very matter-of-factly, with only business in mind, and with absolutely little fanfare. That’s because the Spurs go quietly into the night on purpose.
For all of the attention given to free agent signings this summer, the best offseason has involved one of many non-moves. The Spurs are the superteam no one is talking about and they’re owners of the league’s best summer simply because they did nothing to rock their championship boat. Remember: they just poured dirt over the corpse of a LeBron-led superteam. No other team in the league is on the level of last year’s Heat, however flawed and overmatched they were.
The Spurs’ aversion to spectacle rightly reflects the attitude of their silverback Gregg Popovich. Notoriously known to detest all things celebrity and attention-grabbing, Pop has helped ensure that the Spurs operate on a similar plane. Even when we hear of off-court drama involving the team, it usually involves the politics of constructing said team, and, in many cases, hear about it only years after it has been resolved.
Parker, for example, was unhappy with Pop’s treatment early in his career. Duncan even gave a rookie Parker the silent treatment. But such revelations came years later, after it could have become a 24-hour news item, and usually as a means of retrospection and not resentment.
And that’s a talent, of all the ones the Spurs organization possesses, that tends to get overlooked—which, in the Spurs’ case, is exactly the point. By keeping a low profile, the franchise ensures they keep their team grounded and can go through business as usual without outside influences, like the media, raising tensions. Even when it comes to a respected and lauded organization like the Chicago Bulls, tensions with otherwise quiet players can flare up when given enough room to breathe.
Instead, all you’ll hear out of the San Antonio camp is whether Ginobili is expected to return from injury soon, that Duncan will hang up his sneakers any day now, or, at most, a foray into a player’s personal life that wasn’t the media’s business to get involved in anyway.
The Spurs know that championship teams are made off the court just as they are on it and that any ambient noise is a distraction. If winning were about drawing the biggest crowd, the Spurs would be on the tallest podium, making the boldest predictions. The fact that they’re not says all you need to know about winning in the NBA.