Trans. Sep 15 12:51 ET (Sep 15 12:51 ET ) It's not surprising to hear Mario Chalmers tell Bleacher Report's Ethan Skolnick , "We all just took too much of a back seat in the Finals," since the San Antonio Spurs undressed everyone not named LeBron James and Chris Bosh in their five-game dismantling of the Miami Heat this past June. But the mercurial point guard's reflection on a failed three-peat offers words of warning for the Cleveland Cavaliers: Dynasties aren't easily built and even harder to maintain. Only Scottie Pippen remained on the roster from the first edition of the championship Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan began his pursuit of a second three-peat in 1995. It was an even lonelier road for Kobe Bryant in the seven seasons between Lakers titles last decade. A leading man can carry a production so far, but the show won't go on without an adequate supporting cast, and NBA bit players only take a backseat for so long before seeking bigger roles and paychecks. Taking the analogy a step further, the occasional Alan Arkin or Jared Leto accepts a smaller part for redemption or to stave off retirement, but they seek the spotlight again or aren't long for the stage. Where were we? Ah, yes, Mario Chalmers, a disastrous NBA Finals performance and the mental makeup of a role player living in the shadow of one of the game's brightest stars. "You know, for the first time in my career, I felt like I wasn't ... yeah, my confidence wasn't there," Chalmers said. "Going through that whole San Antonio series, I just felt like in the playoffs I kept getting worse and worse every round. I just couldn't figure it out. ... "Yeah, that's the worst thing, because you never know," Chalmers said. "Everybody in my ear, talking about, 'We need you, we need you to do this, we need you to do that.' And then when it comes to the game, I didn't feel involved. Like, you all talk about how y'all need me, but y'all didn't put me in position to do anything. In previous years, if I was in that position, I would make sure I would go get the ball, I would put myself in position to score. I felt like this year, we all just took too much of a back seat in the Finals. ... "I feel like I've finally got a chance to shine, show my real game," Chalmers said. "Me, CB, D-Wade and the rest of the guys, we're going to pick it up, we're still going to play Miami Heat basketball, and we're still gonna be a competitor." It's a delicate balance between a bit player knowing his role and feeding an inflated sense of self that helped him get a job only a miniscule percentage of people in his profession ever attain. Chalmers has twice declared himself a top-10 NBA point guard, and that kind of ego requires some stroking. This is the road LeBron faces now in Cleveland, the same one he had to pave in Miami before quieting the Thunder for the first of two straight championships. Finding a court comfortable kneeling at the throne of King James isn't easy, but the maturation of Chalmers and the addition of ultimate character actor Shane Battier helped the 2012 Heat dispose of the Celtics in seven games and Oklahoma City in five. Consummate professional Ray Allen helped the sequel prove better than the original, as Miami rattled off 27 straight regular-season victories before surviving the upstart Indiana Pacers and always game Spurs in 2013. But the Heat couldn't pull off the trilogy in 2014, because — if Chalmers is to be believed — the franchise relied too heavily upon its stars. The same thing happened with "The Godfather," I think. San Antonio casts supporting roles best, surrounding Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili with an ever-evolving roster of players willing to fill roles until they aren't. (I see you, Stephen Jackson.) But the Spurs model isn't one easily replicated, so LeBron is taking a different road, trading in a supporting cast that failed him in Miami this past season for one that seems more promising in Cleveland. But that doesn't mean these Cavaliers are ready for the spotlight. The road to sustained Eastern Conference supremacy has long required dethroning a worthy predecessor. The 1980s Celtics gave way to the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons, the Pistons to Jordan's Bulls, and so on until the Celtics seized control from the Pistons in the late 2000s and LeBron's Heat staved off Kevin Garnett & Co. in 2012. Only the Cavs won't have that battle-tested champion standing in their way ( except in the eyes of one Almario Chalmers ), and the lack of a worthy adversary — save for perhaps the Bulls — may make unseating the Spurs, Thunder or whoever else emerges from the wild West an even more difficult task. LeBron can get them to the Finals, but how players like Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters perform in their supporting roles will ultimately determine whether they're championship worthy. In the meantime, new Cavs coach David Blatt will have his hands full keeping everyone happy on the set. Just ask Rio. (h/t @talkhoops )
Kevin Durant stands front and center in a billboard that hangs high above the outside of the arena where the U.S. Neither are Spurs teammates Tony Parker of France and Manu Ginobili of Argentina. Plenty of big names remain, from Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving with the Americans to Spain's Gasol brothers. The veteran center is an NBA free agent at the moment but currently has a job as the man in the middle for the Philippines.
The Scoop:While Ginobili will not be able to participate in this year's FIBA World Cup, this should serve as a nice consolation prize. Ginobili, a four-time champion with the San Antonio Spurs, was the main reason Argentina took home the gold medal during the 2004 Olympic games, and clearly he is beloved in his home country. Ginobili is at the tail end of his career, and concern of his health mixed with random DNP-CD's severely limits his fantasy appeal.
Boris Diaw played an integral role for San Antonio as the Spurs won the NBA title this past season. Diaw parlayed his excellent play into a new three-year, $22.5 contract. No wonder the Spurs were a little fearful when Diaw said he wanted to play for France in this summer's FIBA World Cup. Teammate Manu Ginobili was training to play for Argentina when he felt pain from a stress fracture.
The Scoop:"I don't like to speculate as to when it's going to end," Ginobili said. "I know I'll play the upcoming season. If I feel like I did this past season, I'll keep going for sure. If I feel like I did the season before, I don't know. More than age, what matters the most is my health and the mental aspect. Basketball-wise, I'm in a perfect situation." Manu also stated that his relationship with San Antonio was not strained when they withheld him from playing for Argentina in the upcoming 2014 FIBA World Cup. Ginobili had a bit of a bounce-back year last season, but still only made it through 68 games, limited his fantasy appeal.