Although we reported earlier that the Spurs were nearing a deal with the Sacramento Kings for Ron Artest, they instead went after veteran forward Kurt Thomas. Yahoo Sports’ Johnny Ludden was the first to break the news.
The San Antonio Spurs have reached agreement with the SuperSonics that will bring them center Kurt Thomas in exchange for guard Brent Barry, center Francisco Elson and a 2009 first-round draft pick, league sources said Wednesday. The Spurs get some needed size to help them counter Phoenix’s Shaquille O’Neal and Houston’s Yao Ming.
Thomas will give the Spurs some much-needed frontcourt help, and although I am sad to see a classy guy like Brent Barry go, he will be going back to Seattle, where he played for five seasons. Some familiar faces, P.J. Carlesimo and Sam Presti, will be there to welcome him back. As far as Elson, he clearly played his way out of the rotation and never reached his potential. His minutes have been decreasing quite a bit over the last two months and he’s also picked up quite a few DNP’s.
I’m not crazy about including the Spurs including a first rounder. Thomas has only been averaging 25 minutes a game this year and I think sending Barry and Elson already more than compensated for Thomas.
While Thomas is a 12-year NBA vet, he does have an expiring contract. If the Spurs do not re-sign him this summer, they will have at least his $8 million contract to play with.
Back to Thomas though, he’s always been one of the best defenders on Tim Duncan, and I can easily see him starting at power forward while Duncan moves to center. It gives the Spurs another good defender in the paint, especially to defend against teams like the Suns who will have Shaq and Amare Stoudemire in the paint.
If he’s given 25-30 minutes a game, I can see Thomas averaging a double-double without a doubt, which is something the Spurs rarely get out of Oberto. Together, Oberto and Elson were averaging about 8 points and 9 rebounds in 35 minutes a game. For Seattle, in 25 minutes a game, Thomas has been averaging 7.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and one block.
My major concern with Thomas is his health. This season he has already missed 10 days and over the previous two seasons with Phoenix, he was out for 44 games.
Overall, I like the trade, especially since the Spurs basically sent two players with expiring contracts that likely would not have been re-signed, and a draft pick that may not have even been able to crack the rotation for a player that fills a gaping void.
Spurs official announcement | Sonics official announcement
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