The man – Project Spurs’ Jeff Garcia - tasked me with a lose-lose situation.
He asked to compile some realistic Richard Jefferson trade ideas. Unfortunately that is going to be difficult to do cause many San Antonio Spurs fans think Jefferson is the worst player the team has thanks to his awful play down the stretch and the gigantic contract that was gift wrapped to him by Spurs’ management.
However, thanks to the amazing ESPN NBA Trade Machine, I have found nine, yes nine iffy too good trades that I would at least think about if I were R.C. Buford. Some involve only Jefferson, others include other players including Tony Parker.
I divided these ideas into two groups, those involving Parker and those that don’t. So here they are in no particular order.
Trades which don’t involve Tony Parker:
File this under both iffy and good. It’s good because it’s realistic. It’s iffy because I’m not sure what it does for both teams. For the Spurs, Thompson is the prize here. He’s 6’11″, block shots and hit a jumper. Garcia also has three years left on his contract, but makes less money than Jefferson, but doesn’t fit on that team and with the additions of Jimmer and John Salmons, the 2 guard spot is pretty much taken up. The trade also gives the Kings a small forward that knows how to play basketball because here in Sacramento, we’re not really sure Donte Green knows how to play basketball. Garcia would also be a nice fit on the Spurs because he’s a tough, defensive minded guy and at 6’7″ can play either the 2 or the 3. Plus he’s 30, so the national media will say he fits in well with the Spurs because he’s “getting up there in age”. It’s not a great deal, but at least it’s realistic. See, I told you I could do this.
One bad contract for another. Gives the Spurs a back up point guard at one less year than Jefferson’s left on his deal. Toronto starts Linas Kleiza or James Johnson at small forward. Surely Richard Jefferson is a better option for Toronto. Plus, Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo is an idiot, but we’ll talk more about that later. File this under iffy because I’m not sure Jose Calderon is any better than Mike Bibby at this point.
Now we’re talking. Project Spurs lead writer Paul Garcia tweets this idea every so often and I think it’s fantastic. Cleveland has a bit of a log jam at power forward and Anderson Varejao has four years left on his deal and really has no business on a rebuilding team. Varejao can help a team win now with his defense and energy. He can play next to any other big man in the league. Despite having just traded for Omri Casspi, the Cavs are woefully thin at the small forward spot. Taking on Jefferson and Matt Bonner gives the Cavs a couple of forwards who can shoot, which will help Kyrie Irving’s development just because it will help him build trust in his teammates. This is a good trade… a really good trade actually.
I know seeing Gary Neal here rubs some people the wrong way, but sometimes you have to give something up to get something in return, or in this case give up a good contract in order to get rid of a bad one. Also, this would involve the Spurs taking on Josh Childress’ contract, which has four years left on it, but at 6 million a year. Doesn’t sound too bad. Robin Lopez gives the Spurs that 7-foot body they’ve been looking for. He’s not awesome, but he’s not bad either. Jefferson is an Arizona guy so he’s more of a draw in Phoenix than most places. I’m calling this a good trade. Childress and Lopez would be good in the Spurs system. Plus, both have awesome hair.
Cap’n Jack returns to the Spurs! He makes too much money, he’s getting up there in age and he takes some terrible shots. He does all these things and he’d still be great on this Spurs team. Let’s say he starts acting up in Milwaukee, why wouldn’t you just call the Bucks and say “I have another overpaid small forward for you, only this one doesn’t run his mouth”. If you’re Bucks GM John Hammond, who has seen RJ succeed in Milwaukee before, you at least consider it right? It’s a good trade. Every team needs one crazy.
This is the iffiest iffy trade I could come up with that could MAYBE happen. Travis Outlaw was worse for the Nets last season than Jefferson was for the Spurs. Johan Petro is 7 feet tall and… and… well he’s 7 feet tall and the Spurs don’t have one of those right now. It’s a terrible trade, but both it would save the Spurs a little bit of money in the long run.
Trades Involving Tony Parker:
This is where it gets fun. We all know RJ’s contract is pretty awful, so getting the best value for him means throwing the Spurs best trade chip in with their worst (I don’t blame you RJ, I blame the contract). I tried to have some fun with this, let’s see what happens when I package Tony Parker and Richard Jefferson together.
Here’s the true center you’ve always wanted Spurs fans. And you get a sharp shooting point guard who was the second best player on two 60+ win teams. LeBron was the best player on those teams, but whatever. Both Williams and Kaman’s deals are shorter than Parker and Jefferson’s, so there is some cap flexibility in there that needs to be taken into consideration. In fact, Kaman has one year left on his deal, so if that project doesn’t work out, that’s $12.2 million off the books for next summer. The Clippers could use some veteran leadership to pair with that great, young nucleus they’re building. Richard Jefferson is also a better option at Small Forward than anything they have until Al-Farouq Aminu is ready to be a full time smarter. Pretty fair deal and a steal if the Spurs could find a way to get Aminu from the Clips as well. Man, I almost talked myself into that one. This is a good trade. What’s next?
Go ahead and scream now Spurs fans, cause I kinda just screamed a little writing it up. But let’s look at this glass full. Bargs is entering his prime and is a ridiculous matchup for the other team. He’s got some young Dirk in him so if you can make him a little tougher, get him to rebound a little better, then he’s close to being worth the bad contract they gave him. Personally I love Jerryd Bayless. He’s 23 and has a ton of Tony Parker in him. In the last month of the season, Bayless finally got off the Raptors bench and averaged 22.5 ppg and 5.6 apg in 37 mpg. Still, this is an iffy trade at best. But, Bryan Colangelo does like his Euros (Parker) and the Raps do need a small forward (Jefferson) so maybe you convince the Raps to give you a draft pick and then the trade becomes a lot better. Still, I don’t know if Bryan Colangelo is that dumb. Iffy trade for the Spurs.
Now we’re talking! This is probably my favorite trade. Spurs get a good back to the basket player and a borderline top 10 point guard. They can still compete for the next year or two with Duncan and then have a nice front court moving forward. The Jazz have a loaded front court already and Big Al’s contract isn’t something they want to swallow. They also don’t have a Small Forward at the moment and apparently aren’t sold on Harris, so why not take on a couple of accomplished players? Jazz GM Kevin O’Connor is a shrewd and smart GM, so I really have no idea if this trade would actually happen. In theory though, good trade.
Wait, wait, one last idea:
Just kidding, it’ll never happen. Carry on Spurs fans.
OK Spurs fans what do you have to say? Do you like any of these trade ideas or is San Antonio doomed to live with Jefferson until his contract expires.