Spurs have always been known as an "old" team. Despite the resurgence of youth with the promising games of DeJuan Blair and George Hill and arrivals of young hopefuls like James Anderson and Tiago Splitter and of course the in-his-prime Tony Parker, the Spurs are still old. Why? Because Tim Duncan is 34. Yup, it's been 12 years since the Spurs drafted Duncan in the 1997 draft and since his RoY performance in the 1997-1998 season. That makes the Spurs old. That and the fact that Manu is 33 plus all the "older" players out there doesn't help tremendously. This isn't really intended to be a very serious post, but just random speculation I had reviewing the old Spurs championship DVDs that I have while waiting for the regular season to start.
If we look at a lot (not all) of the veteran role players that the Spurs pick up along the way, we find that there are a lot that were on teams that the Spurs had beaten previously in the Finals or Playoffs. Maybe Pop does some in-game scouting? Granted the simple answer might be that the Spurs simply are a viable destination for an aging vet with something left in the tank searching for a championship, but hey, I'm just wondering... I mean, let's look at the trend:
Michael Finley joined the Spurs in 2005-2006. The Spurs beat Dallas 4-2 in the Western Conference Finals when Finley played for the Mavs under Don Nelson (with Dirk and Steve Nash). Also Finley was on the Mavericks team that lost to the Spurs in the 2000 Conference Semifinals.
Kurt Thomas joined the Spurs in 2008 after being traded from Phoenix to the Sonics and then was traded from the Sonics for Francisco Elson and Brent Barry. Thomas was on the Suns during the controversial 2007 Western Conference Semifinals series as well as the 1999 improbable 8th seeded New York Knicks roster. The Suns lost in 6, the Knicks in 5.
Antonio McDyess was part of the 2005 Detroit Pistons roster that took the Spurs to 7 games in the NBA Finals. Despite horrendous television ratings, one of the best series ever in basketball.
Richard Jefferson, the 2003 New Jersey Nets roster with Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin, but they lost in 6 games (also found it interesting that the Spurs 1st and 2nd championships bookmarked the Shaq-Kobe Lakers three-peat).
Robert Horry was part of that Lakers three-peat from 2000 through 2002, then joined the Spurs in the 2003-2004 season after the Spurs took the Lakers in 6 in their 2003 Championship run. He was also on the Lakers when they lost to the Spurs in the 1999 Conference Semifinals.
Drew Gooden, the 2009 mid-season free agent acquisition, was part of the unlikely appearance of the 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers squad in the NBA Finals, yes, the one that the Spurs embarassingly swept.
Brent Barry came over to the Spurs in the 2004-2005 season, he played for the Sonics in the 2002 Playoffs when they were eliminated by the Spurs in 5.
Francisco Elson, joining the Spurs for their 2007 championship run, was on the 2005 Denver Nuggets eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Spurs.
This may be stretching it, but Rasho Nesterovic, joining the Spurs in the 2003-2004 season was a rookie on the 1999 Timberwolves eliminated by the Spurs in the 1st round.
It's not indicative of every vet we've signed (like Roger Mason Jr.) but maybe it's telling of who we'll get next... Sasha Pavlovic anybody?