R.C. Buford has had quite the run as the GM of the San Antonio Spurs over the last 17 years. He’s helped lead one of the greatest dynasties in sports, and under his direct watch San Antonio clinched four NBA titles. He found Kawhi Leonard, and consistently built a competitive supporting cast around Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. The Athletic reports Buford plans to step down and relinquish his title to assistant GM Brian Wright. Buford will remain with the organization. From Jabari Young:
The news: After a little more than 15 years serving as GM, Buford is getting prepared to bequeath the role to assistant GM Brian Wright, league sources have confirmed to The Athletic. Wright will report directly to Buford, who will officially get a new title that some around the NBA believe will be a role helping to oversee Spurs Sports & Entertainment.
The 59-year-old Buford has been with the Spurs organization since 1988, when he started off as an assistant coach. Since then, he made his way up the ranks, eventually becoming team president around the time of Gregg Popovich’s hire and was named the official GM in 2002.
His resume is as impressive as it gets for a general manager; he found talent in the late first round with astounding consistency, as the Spurs were regulars in the 25-30th pick range due to their constant success. Perhaps no other GM in history has had the success Buford has with drafting underrated or underdeveloped talent in the late first and second rounds and turning them into championship-level contributors.
As Young reports, Buford’s next step is more of an oversight role as president of Spurs Sports and Entertainment. While it’s hard to believe he won’t be involved in basketball operations, he clearly trusts Wright to be a worthy successor. Given his judgement over the years, it would be a bad bet to doubt him. The end of an epic run as the top general manager in the league.