(Don't believe me? Just hop into your DeLorean and ask Brent Barry about it back in 2008.)
Many observers wondered if that's exactly what San Antonio was planning to do with Bruce Bowen, after he was included in the deal with Milwaukee that brought Richard Jefferson to town. But according to Gregg Popovich, it's not likely that Bowen will be back as a member of the Spurs next season.
Bruce Bowen ... went to Milwaukee in the Jefferson trade. The Bucks waived him at the end of July and he is a free agent. Might he be part of another Spurs run, albeit in a subordinate role?If Bowen won't be back in San Antonio, the question becomes, will he be back at all? While it's of course possible, it seems like a longshot at this point.
"I've given him no such indication,'' Popovich said. "He might come back with the right team in the right situation, but it's probably not going to be San Antonio."
A season ago, Bowen's minutes and production dipped precipitously from his averages over the previous nine.
In the seven seasons before 2008-09, Bowen started every single game he appeared in. Last season? He played in 80 games, but started just 10. In the eight seasons before this last one, Bowen averaged over 30 minutes a game in those appearances. In 2008-09? His minutes dropped to just under 19 per game.
If you're Bowen's agent and are trying to secure him a spot as a tag-a-long on a title-contending team, you could tout his three-point shooting percentage of a season ago, which was over 42 percent, and was his highest since the 2002-03 campaign. But let's be honest -- despite the recent success rate, no one's signing Bowen solely as a deep threat for a team looking to make a multi-round run into the post-season.
The reality is that what once made Bowen a desirable roster addition -- his dirty/aggressive defensive play against the league's elite scorers -- is a talent that, at 38 years old, the man simply no longer possesses.
Sure, it's possible that a team like the Celtics might add him late in the season as they did with veterans Stephon Marbury and Mikki Moore last year, or Sam Cassell and P.J. Brown during their 2008 title run. But unless someone can find some value in adding him to the roster, it's quite possible that Bruce Bowen might find himself without an NBA home next season.