It’s been a while but Project Spurs is back with another installment of “If I Were R.C.,” where we put together some trades you love, but mostly trades you hate. We’ve done four of these now and we actually got one right! During the first edition of “If I Were R.C.” we suggested the San Antonio Spurs trade Richard Jefferson to Milwaukee for Stephen Jackson. Well we almost nailed it. You’ll recall, Jefferson and this year’s first round draft pick were traded to Golden State for Jackson, who was a member of the Warriors for about two hours. This edition focuses on some free agent sign and trade acquisitions because outside of a couple Marcus Camby rumors, the Spurs 2012 free agency period has been pretty dead. Here goes nothing.
1. Danny Green for Kevin Seraphin and Shelvin Mack: With Nando De Colo apparently coming over something in the Spurs’ guard rotation has to give. Yes, the Wizards drafted Bradley Beal, but they still need some shooters. Green would provide just that for the Wiz. Seraphin, while slightly undersized (6’9″) is a super long, athletic big man. ESPN’s John Hollinger called Seraphin a “wildly aggressive defender” which isn’t completely a bad thing. Last season, Seraphin averaged 15.5 ppg, 7 rpg and 1.7 bpg in the month of April. Plus he’s French, so the Spurs are probably already interested in him, right?
2. Danny Green for Ed Davis: You’re probably noticing a pattern at this point. Spurs use Green to get a young big from a team short of shooters and heavy on big men. Davis rebounds, he can block shots and can score around the basket. He doesn’t score a ton, but he does rebound and he doesn’t foul, which is impressive for a young power forward. His skill set suggests he could play with Duncan or back him up. With Jonas Valenciunas heading to Toronto next season, the Raptors will have a need for shooters and Davis will be a luxury. Chances are Toronto would want to get rid of Amir Johnson before any other big guy, so this trade might be a no.
3. Tiago Splitter, Gary Neal for Courtney Lee, Shawn Livingston and Terrence Jones: Switching it up a bit, Splitter becomes expendable because it seems his game doesn’t mesh with Duncan. Or the Spurs haven’t had a full training camp to figure out how their games mesh. Either way, Splitter is a center and not a power forward and that’s already something Daryl Morey might be interested in. Did you know Courtney Lee was the number one corner three point shooter in the league last season? Combine that with his defense and he’s the perfect Spurs wing player. Jones would be an excellent pick and roll defender and rim protector for the Spurs. Livingston provides a veteran back up point guard, which is the other specific need for the Spurs. Then again, Houston may not do this because they’re about to sign Omer Asik to a massive offer sheet and as of right now Livingston’s literally their best point guard.
4. Danny Green and Tiago Splitter for Derrick Williams and Darko Milicic: On talent alone this not a very fair trade. However Milicic fell out of Rick Adelman’s rotation last season and Derrick Williams is stuck playing behind Kevin Love, so unless he can transition to small forward, he’s going to struggle to find a role with the Timberwolves. On the flip side, Green would fit in perfectly next to Ricky Rubio in the T’Wolves backcourt. Splitter could either start or back up Nikola Pecovic. Either way, he’d be great setting screens for Ricky Rubio and then diving to the basket. On the Spurs side, Williams in the Spurs system could be the perfect guy to play next to Duncan. He’s got range so he won’t clog the lane, he’s athletic, he can put the ball on the floor, he can rebound and in the Spurs’ system he could become a leader on and off the court. We’re entering an era in the NBA where the stretch power forward is in vogue and Williams has the tools to be the prototypical stretch four, especially when he can learn the finer points of the game from Duncan. Darko can go be Darko, play defense, block some shots, make some decent passes out of the post. This trade comes at a price though. Darko has two years and $10 million left on his contract, which is a tough pill to swallow cause it’s Darko. Fake R.C. Buford would also accept Luke Ridnour as a back up point guard in this deal instead of Darko.
These trade ideas were designed to acquire some interior defense, but keep the offense flowing as much as possible. If you can get past the name Darko, the T’Wolves deal without question has the most upside because of Williams’ incredible talent. Here’s hoping one of these trades makes me 2/25 in pretending to be R.C. Buford.