While the San Antonio Spurs are currently on an 11-game winning streak, first in the Southwest Division and have yet to lose a game on the rodeo road trip, it appears that success may come with a cost.
According to the San Antonio Express-News’ Buck Harvey, there may be some trouble brewing.
“Sources say James Anderson’s agent this month encouraged Spurs to trade his client. Nothing offered would have been better than JA Monday.” Harvey tweeted early this morning.
After impressing his teammates and coaches in training camp and starting off the season well, Anderson has been the forgotten man on the Spurs roster since.
After Manu Ginobili suffered an injury to his hand in early January, Anderson was tabbed as the starter at shooting guard the next game against Golden State, a game where Anderson didn’t make Spurs fans easily forget about the Ginobili’s loss (five points in 20 minutes) and coincidentally the same night Danny Green’s emergence began.
The next game, against Dallas, Anderson played just six minutes, followed by four minutes against Denver, where Green finished with 24 points and seven rebounds. Green was inserted into the starting lineup shortly after and, while Anderson has had a steady decrease in minutes.
While Anderson was a regular part of the Spurs rotation through December and January, regularly playing 20 plus minutes a game, his minutes since then have been about as consistent as his shooting percentages from game-to-game.
While inconsistent playing time might not be ideal for Anderson, requesting a trade doesn’t look good for him either. I can understand that it may be frustrating to go from a nicely carved out role in the Spurs rotation to getting leapfrogged and not knowing if you’re even going to get to take off your shooting shirt the next game.
Unfortunately for Anderson, that’s also a role that has to be filled, especially when there isn’t a 12-man rotation in the league. Some players just have to sit and be ready when their time comes, something Anderson told our own Jeff Garcia he was doing a few games ago.
I’m just going out there, trying to be sharp with my moves and shots. Just trying to stay in shape the best I can. When the minutes comes, I’m just mentally prepared and just go out and bring a spark to the team.
I feel great just to be out there. Anytime I can get out there, boost some energy off the bench and contribute, it’s always great for me and for the team. To get out on the floor and when I get out there to bring some energy to the team.
For Anderson, taking the back seat may be the best decision right now. Getting the opportunity to learn under three all-stars isn’t something that comes along every day and a trade can make that opportunity disappear very quickly.
Sure, an injury-plagued rookie season, which included stints in the D-League and a sophomore campaign that hasn’t exactly lived up to expectations may be a rough way to start an NBA career, but great deal could be learned about patience and perseverance from the same player that took Anderson’s spot in the rotation.
Green has played for two D-League teams, spent some time with the Cavs, got signed and waived by the Spurs and played overseas before finally making his mark this season.
There’s still a half season to be played and in the NBA, things change every day. Ask Jeremy Lin.
But if Anderson still wants out of the 210 area code at the season, he’ll have the freedom to pursue other options this Summer since the Spurs declined to pick up his third year option.
As for the Spurs. While they’ve always done their best to respect players’ wishes, Anderson doesn’t have much trade value due to the inconsistent playing time and a second round draft pick is likely they only thing they’ll get back.