The San Antonio Spurs have made quite a few moves to improve their ball club this off-season. From trading for Richard Jefferson to drafting DeJaun Blair, who seemed to be a lottery talent, in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft, the Spurs front office is clearly making a push for a final title with Tim Duncan as the team leader.
However, adding Jefferson put the Spurs in a position they are not accustom to. Normally, the Spurs ran their franchise around three eight-figure contract guys, which has been Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli and Duncan over the past few years, and surrounded them with lesser cost players that worked hard – making the DeJuan Blair pick that much more meaningful and brilliant. Jefferson comes to San Antonio with a $14.2 million contract. That ranks second on the team, behind Tim Duncan’s $22.2 million deal, and in front of Tony Parker’s $12.6 million contract and Manu Ginobli’s $10.7 million paycheck. San Antonio will start this season with a $78,296,230 payroll, compared to $68,118,085 from last year. Looking at those numbers alone, I would have to assume that a team that has used the same formula for the last decade would trade off one of their more expensive players to get back to three players that make over $10 million.
To get this out of the way, the Spurs won’t trade Tim Duncan and it would be dumb for them to trade Jefferson again this season, so that narrows it down to two guys.
Of the four players that have big contracts, the first player the Spurs would look to deal would be Manu Ginobli. Ginobli is 32 years old and has a horrendous injury history, so it’s logical that the team would want to get rid of him even if they didn’t trade for Jefferson. Manu will be a free agent next season, so this is a good chance for the Spurs to get something back for him just in case they don’t plan on extending him. However, for the same reason, other teams may shy away from giving the Spurs something for a 32-year old that seems to care more about his country than his NBA team when they could get him as a free agent next year if they really wanted him.
And yes, that leaves Tony Parker, the 27 year old french man that seemingly burst on to the seen last season as an elite point guard in the NBA. After averaging 22 points and seven assists last season, Parker’s value will never be higher and the Spurs have a chance to turn one star player into a couple, while freeing up cap space. When looking at other teams in the league that could offer a young star point guard for Parker, a few come to mind. Devin Harris of the Nets was my initial thought, but that wouldn’t make much sense because in all honesty, I’d take Harris over Parker if I were starting a team today. However, my second idea was a little better.
Who says no to this?
Tony Parker and Ian Mahinmi to the Boston Celtics for Rajon Rondo, Brian Scalabrine, Bill Walker and Kendrick Perkins
The Celtics get a great point guard with championship experience as well as a young center that can develop as a back-up to Rasheed Wallace, while the Spurs get a younger point guard who has amazing potential and plays with championship experience (Oh, and he makes $10 million less) and a strong rebounding center that can handle guys like Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard come playoff time. Bill Walker and Brian Scalabrine were both throw-ins to get the money to measure out, but putting Matt Bonner on the same team as Scalabrine is an added benefit of this deal.
With the Celtics having off-season issues with Rondo, with rumors of him being dealt to Detroit coming from incidents between Rajon and Doc Rivers and the Spurs irking Tony Parker when they told him to come home from his international completion, it seems like the right time for this swap of all-star caliber point guards. Also, if this deal was completed, it would put the Spurs back at the usual $68,164,231 payroll.