Once word hit the wires the San Antonio Spurs would be using their amnesty clause on small forward Richard Jefferson, the team began an exhaustive search for a replacement.
However, as the days passed one-by-one, available free agent small forward decided not to sign on with the 4-time NBA champs.
The Spurs looked at Vince Carter but he joined Dallas. The Spurs had eyes for Grant Hill but he resigned with Phoenix and of course Caron Butler joined the Clippers.
And as the Spurs await Josh Howard’s decision after they made him an offer, Butler gave his reasons why he chose the Clippers at media day.
“The youth, the talent, and obviously Blake Griffin…. It’s a no-brainer.”
Butler’s reasons are a no-brainer. The Clippers are a team on the rise with Eric Gordon, Eric Bledsoe, Mo Williams, Chauncey Billups and of course Griffin. But do these reasons Butler gave reflect on San Antonio?
Gone are the days Tim Duncan as a huge draw for prospective free agents. During his prime-years any player would have liked to suit up next to the NBA’s greatest power forward. But that time has passed and now Griffin is the “flavor of the month.” So I might give Butler that as a valid reason.
And although San Antonio as a whole is younger, the Spurs’ core of Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker are up in age with Duncan and Ginobili seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on their NBA careers. Sure Kawhi Leonard, James Anderson, Tiago Splitter, Matt Bonner, T.J. Ford and the rest of the team’s surrounding players are talented but in comparison to this season’s Clippers, on paper the Spurs come up short.
See Butler needs to understand that all the youth, talent, and superstar power can only do so much. Ask Miami. All that talent and yet they came up short in the finals versus Dallas.
Yes, the Clippers are an attractive team right now for any free agent and Butler does add to that draw. But it is also a no-brainer that experience, team chemistry, and a solid coaching staff make for arguably a better team.
The Clippers and Butler will win their fair share of games. Perhaps they might even beat the Spurs in the regular season but between these two teams, when it comes to the playoffs and which team would likely go deeper towards an NBA title, my money will be on the Spurs.
And that would be a no-brainer.