R,C Buford is stepping down from his general manager role at the San Antonio Spurs, and the team is replacing him with Mr. Wright. Brian Wright that is.
The 58-year-old Buford has been a part of the Spurs organization since 1988 and has been the team’s GM since 2002, putting together a roster that won four NBA titles during his tenure as the GM.
Overall, during Buford’s overall 25 years with the team, the Spurs won five NBA titles with Buford as the Head Scout, Director of Scouting and GM. He was also the NBA’s Executive of the Year twice in 2014 and 2016.
As for Wright, here are five things to know about the new Spurs general manager:
Wright was hired as the Spurs assistant GM in 2016
The change isn’t all that different for the 37-year-old Wright nor for the Spurs. Wright has been the team’s assistant general manager since 2016 after spending time in the same capacity with the Pistons after an eight-year stint with the Magic. He stayed behind the scenes mostly, focusing on scouting.
Wright’s been more involved as of late, especially with some big player personnel decisions
Wright’s been more active around the team lately, fielding calls for trade packages for Kawhi Leonard last summer, along with leading negotiations to re-sign Rudy Gay and working the sign-and-trade involving DeMarre Carroll.
Wright is stepping into some pretty big shoes
As active as Wright has been as of late, he now has the reins to a team that hasn’t missed the playoffs since the 1996-97 season and won five NBA titles in six trips. However, the Spurs haven’t gone past the first round of the Western Conference playoffs in the last two years.
He has Pop’s stamp of approval
According to Popovich from an interview in 2016: “He’s a very good organizer and judge of talent. On top of that, he’s got a way about him that’s impressive in the sense that he’s a team player. He’s willing to be just participatory in what he does. We have a very participatory program. It’s not management over here, coaches over here. We mesh very well. Our meetings are together. Managers can walk into my coaching sessions. I can walk into management’s office. We have a great situation in that regard.”
He’s worked his way up from the very bottom
Wright started his NBA career as an intern with the Orlando Magic, and during his eight-year stint in Orlando, he worked all the way up to director of collegiate scouting. He was a name on the rise within the NBA when the Spurs lured him away from Detroit.