What impact will new Spurs make?

Updated: September 27, 2005, 12:35 PM ET
By John Hollinger | ESPN Insider
"It's over."

That's been the sentiment around the league ever since the Spurs announced the signings of Michael Finley and Nick Van Exel. Magic Johnson, for instance, expressed those exact words to the San Antonio Express-News last week.

Michael Finley
Can Mike Finley help the Spurs win title No. 4?

"They remind me of the Lakers when we were winning championships back in the 1980s," Johnson said. "They just play the game and play to win. Nick and Finley will add to that, and I think they're going to win it again. They've added two great role players that can come in off the bench and add firepower."

Johnson isn't alone in that opinion. The Spurs hardly needed any help after winning their third title in seven seasons, especially with key players like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker in their respective primes. Plus, they pulled off an unusual coup for a championship team by retaining every key player.

The acquisitions of Finley, Van Exel and Argentine big man Fabricio Oberto seem to make the Spurs an even more daunting obstacle for Western Conference foes. But here's the question for the other contenders: How much will the new guys help? Do the additions make the Spurs overwhelming favorites to repeat as champions? Or do teams like the Heat, Pistons and Suns still have a fighting chance?


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