It has been a crazy offseason for most teams in the Eastern Conference. The Miami Heat hit the jackpot after landing Chris Bosh and Lebron James, the New York Knicks were able to sign Amar’e Stoudemire, the Chicago Bulls now have a legitimate threat in post with Carlos Boozer and added sharpshooter Kyle Korver to their roster.
While in the Western Conference, the Dallas Mavericks pushed hard to get Tyson Chandler from the Charlotte Bobcats, the Utah Jazz added Al Jefferson and Raja Bell, and the Phoenix Suns essentially replaced Amar’e Stoudemire and Leandro Barbosa with Hedo Turkoglu and Josh Childress. The list just goes on and on.
The San Antonio Spurs? Their offseason moves might not be as celebrated as the other teams, but they are quietly doing their job. They drafted scoring guard James Anderson and Euro big man Ryan Richards, re-signed Matt Bonner and finally convinced Tiago Splitter to make San Antonio his new home.
However, they are not yet done reshaping their roster. Richard Jefferson likely will be back with a more reasonable contract and they need to add more depth at their wing position. Maybe they can get either Rasual Butler, Bobby Simmons or Damien Wilkins by using the bi-annual exception (worth $2 million) or $2.36 million leftover from the MLE.
Matt Barnes will probably ask for more money. Also, even with Splitter coming over, adding another serviceable big man won’t hurt. Former Spur Fabricio Oberto and Francisco Elson remain available in the market plus the team also have two bigs Dwyane Mitchell and Darryl Watkins playing in the Summer League that may have a shot at making the roster.
As currently structured, the Spurs still pale in comparison to the defending champions Los Angeles Lakers. Splitter is expected to provide a major boost on the teams’ aging frontline and Anderson could be another offensive threat because he is a proven scorer in college but both of them are still question marks. They have to prove that they can bring their game into the NBA-level.
Nonetheless, Splitter’s decision to join the Spurs this season gives greater implications in the long run. If he can play effectively for 20-25 minutes and DeJuan Blair playing more time at the four. Tim Duncan could get more rest during the regular season and that will come in handy come playoff time.
Anderson will give added depth on the Spurs’ guard rotation which already includes Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, George Hill and probably Garrett Temple. The team also have guys who can play the three-position should they decide to bring back Malik Hairston and keep Summer League sensation Alonzo Gee.
With a lot of big name free agents moving to the East, the power may have shifted there which means the Spurs’ road to the playoffs might be easier than it was a year ago.
However, the West still has the defending champions Los Angeles Lakers which solidified their point guard spot by adding Steve Blake. They still are the team to beat.
But don’t count out the Spurs just yet. A couple of solid moves more this offseason and this team can be serious title contenders in the upcoming season.
What are your thoughts? Is bringing back Jefferson, adding more perimeter depth and inside help enough to make the Spurs title contenders? Tell us what you think.