[updated 8:57 pm]
Richard Jefferson wearing the silver and black, while we jettison Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas, and Fabricio Oberto. I like this deal.
Let’s start with Bowen. The dude is 38 years old as of last week. After 12 years in the league, putting the clamps on the likes of Kobe, Lebron, and D-Wade, he is noticeably slower than he once was. That being said, he’s STILL one of the best defenders available, but his offensive deficiencies are becoming a bigger issue. I have a feeling that the Bucks will cut him and his non-guaranteed contract though, so we may very well see him in silver and black next year anyway.
Thomas will be 37 by the time the season fires up again. He’s been a solid role player for many teams, a tough, hard nosed defender in the post, doing the dirty work that others shy away from. However, trading for him has proven to cost more than it brought, primarily a first round pick. Thomas simply doesn’t bring what he used to. Sadly, I’ll always remember him more for what he did guarding Duncan than what he did playing with him.
Oberto, 34, has become a health risk. His heart caused him to miss a lot of games this year, not that he would have made a difference anyway. His rebounding leaves a lot to be desired, especially for someone who is supposed to be a center. He possesses better court vision than many bigs though, helping him get the pass off to open shooters. But at his age, and with a shaky heart, he needs to go.
Of the three players we’re sending, Oberto is likely to be the only one to actually play for the Bucks. Oberto can be solid, but not spectacular, bench player for Detroit.
[added 8:57 pm] In return for Oberto, the Pistons will be sending Amir Johnson to Milwaukee. Johnson is a young big with lots of potential. He started in Detroit for a very short time last season. Johnson will be valuable off the bench for the Bucks.
In return, Milwaukee is sending us the 29 year old Jefferson (happy belated birthday). Last year he averaged 35 minutes, 43% FG, 39% from 3, 80% FT, and 19 points, but only 4 rebounds. Cleary this deal is meant to address our offensive woes from the first round. I would expect him to play a a couple less minutes this year, under Pop’s save for the playoffs program. His shooting should remain about the same, and with Duncan drawing attention down low, he should be able to get at least 7 boards a game. Most importantly, he’s still under 30 (just barely), and it appears San Antonio is clearing minutes for new post players, maybe Mahinmi will stay healthy this year.
San Antonio could potentially bring Bowen back yet this year, retaining their defender for when they need to lock somebody down. This also makes it unlikely Udoka will be back. Jefferson is young enough, reliable enough, and good enough that he can use a slug of minutes at the SF spot, while San Antonio brings a young SF on board to apprentice under him.
An added benefit, Jefferson’s contract expires in 2011. If Spurs management decides this isn’t working out, his expiring contract could be used if needed in 2010, or he could simply be let go a year later, allowing us to sign someone in 2011, after the bidding war of 2010 that’s likely to result in a lot of overpaid players.
Looking at the reigning champs matchup, Parker wins the point, Kobe wins the 2-guard, Jefferson wins the small forward, Duncan wins the 4-spot, and Gasol wins the center battle, but after trading two bigs away, you know San Antonio is going to do something else to address that. Maybe, it’s a long shot, but just maybe, Splitter crosses the Atlantic this year.
Free agency could shore the post up as well, fellow Project Spurs writer Jeff is a big fan of Zaza Pachulia. I think another trade is in the works, maybe Samuel Dalembert, who was rumored to want out of Philadelphia. It would still hurt to see him leave, but Ginobili could still be traded as well. Washington’s pick at #5 just got a lot more attractive, if Thabeet is still available. Draft day suspense just got cranked up.