The Express News brought up some old trade rumors from last season, and the more I think about it, the more convinced I am we need to make a move. With so many teams looking to free up cap space, and the Spurs having a collection of soon to expire contracts, there is no shortage of trade situations we can dream up.
It’s no secret San Antonio has been gearing up for the 2010 off-season, but so has everyone else, and I believe all the bidding will result in dozens of overpaid players. 2009 could present some bargains, and 2011 could present bargains and steals from teams who overextended themselves in 2010.
I think there is at least one opportunity that could help the Spurs go back to their roots, playing big down low, playing with solid defense, and balancing the offense.
Once upon a time, we had a solid center in Robinson, an upcoming star in Duncan, and quality perimeter players like Johnson and Elliott. Today we have a star in Duncan, a star in Parker, a star in Ginobili, a great defender in Bowen, upcoming talent in Hill, and a lot of guys that seem to consistently underwhelm down the stretch. The problem is Duncan isn’t getting any younger, Ginobili is beat up, Parker will wear himself out on the French team, and Hill doesn’t have Popovich’s full respect yet.
Duncan isn’t going anywhere, and you can’t trade a point with the talent (much less speed) of Parker. That leaves Ginobili as our bait. As great as he’s been, and will likely continue to be, we need to leverage what we have.
Minnesota could use a talent like Manu, and Bonner is a nice fill-in for them to make numbers match up. Meanwhile, San Antonio could get back Miller, who is unlikely to continue his shooting slump with Parker and Duncan around, although he’ll have to split minutes with Mason. Pop will need to keep Parker fresh, so there should be minutes opening up for Hill there. Meanwhile, we’d be able to slide Love in next to Duncan. Love averaged 9.1 rebounds his rookie year, 3.4 of them offensively, and only logged 25 minutes a game. Surely Duncan can help him improve those numbers, and we could really use a young rebounder.
Of course, despite matching cap numbers, this is still quite lopsided in favor of Minnesota, Ginobili is that good. So we’ll have to ask for their first pick in the draft, which is #6, which we could likely use to take Hasheem Thabeet, 7′ 2″ center from UConn. If you can find a big on our roster without the initials TD that can block shots, let me know.
This would not be the Spurs of the last two championships, but it would roll some of our offensive and defensive emphasis back into the paint, better balancing our entire game. We’d lose the closer we had in Ginobili, but Hill seems quite capable of growing into that role. Miller has had a reputation as a long range killer, and we can revive that. You also can’t teach height, and Thabeet holds lots of potential.
Call me crazy, but I can think of few scenarios that could be as beneficial to us as this, even with the pain of losing Manu.