The 4-Down Podcast, episode 28: Spurs roundtable

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Last week, San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich and General Manager RC Buford both made media appearances. Normally, that’s not all that news-worthy on our end. Officials from NBA teams appear on local sports shows and radio broadcasts all the time.

In this instance, though, things were a little different. Possibly in damage control mode after Tony Parker’s recent comments about the Spurs no longer being championship threats, Buford and Coach Pop took to the airwaves to encourage Spurs fans not to overreact to the way the Spurs finished the season and that because San Antonio won 61 games, they are still in fact contenders.

To discuss what was said by two of the most influential men in the Spurs organization, 48MoH decided to host a roundtable podcast of silver and black bloggers. I moderated a podcast featuring Tim Varner of our own site, Jeff Garcia of Project Spurs, Dale Dye of Pounding the Rock and Wayne Vore of Spurs Planet.

If you want to get straight to the meat of the conversation, fast forward to the around 9:30 mark. For the first few minutes there’s mainly some casual conversation about the Spurs offseason and the NBA. Otherwise, enjoy.

Also, we give Matt Bonner the new nickname “winter shoes.”

Subscribe to the 4-Down Podcast via iTunes. Or you can can keep up using the RSS feed. You can also download the audio file (53:45, 77.4 mb) or listen below. Whatever you do, please leave us good feedback and ratings in iTunes, I hear that’s what all the cool kids are doing these days.

  • http://www.poundingtherock.com jollyrogerwilco

    Glad you liked the “winter shoes” comment. Thanks for the invite. That was a lot of fun to be a part of.

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  • Rob

    Great podcast.  Interesting to hear the thoughts from different blog sources.  I do think Jefferson is a trade-able asset other than Parker.  Finding a team that thinks Jefferson would be beneficial to them more than he’s beneficial to the Spurs AND getting talent in return is the hard part.

    If the Spurs go in the direction of not blowing up the team and look to find the wright pieces to compliment it’s core, that will be hard as well knowing their cap situation and draft level with a not so talented draft this year.

    One situation that may be explored is trading Jefferson for Varejao in order to get another big.  Salaries match and the need for both teams is there for each players talent.  Taking a chance (or maybe not so much if talks were conducted prior to agreement) the Spurs could examine the many SF’s available in this year’s free agency.  A lot of good SF’s could be contacted but one in particular I’d like to see approached is Sasha Vujacic.  Other’s may be more desirable, but realistically could the Spurs land them.  And assuming the Spurs stay on track with how they utilize their wing players, Vujacic would fit that role.

  • Len

    I always thought Sasha was not given his due with the Lakers.  I always respected how he battled against Manu and he didn’t seem to shy away from big moments.  

  • SAJKinBigD

    Verajao might work out if Pop can be convinced he’ll work his tuckus off for him! The funny thing would be that we would own three of the top ten floppers in the league! :-P

    I like Vujacic, too! Solid guy, from all accounts as well.

    Is there ANYTHING that can be done to bring Dwight Howard to SA?

  • SAJKinBigD

    Bless you, Ryan McShane! You’ve given me a sliver of hope that we can make a serious move!
    Now to start tracking down Baba Yaga and Papa Legba or someone else so I can try to hex or voodoo this into existence! ;)
    Very nice breakdown. I could deal with Arenas under Pop’s control, I think.No way he even thinks about bringing a glock into the locker-room, or really anywhere in Texas with CCL’s so prevalent! :D

  • Rob

    We would be getting rid of 4 players totaling 28 mil and bringing in 2 players at 34.5 mil.  I’m all for trying to get Dwight Howard, but not at that cost.

  • Len

    Hey, I’m all for getting another dominant big.  But, ahhh, who isn’t?  There will be ALOT of teams throwing the kitchen sink (in terms of a trade package) at Otis Smith until there’s some resolution.

    I think the Spurs would have to give up QUITE A BIT and Howard would have to agree to an extension.

    If the Spurs want to trump the other suitors, they will need to take a toxic contract (Arenas or Turk).  I actually have no problem giving up a somewhat proven player in Hill.  I see something like…

    Spurs get Howard & Turk & Duhon

    Magic get Smith, Hill, Dice, Jefferson, Splitter & Atlanta’s 1st or 2nd round pick this year. 

    Hawks get Parker

  • SAJKinBigD

    Thought I’d share this note about Robert Horry’s daughter. The former Spur and his family are in our prayers.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Teenage-daughter-of-Robert-Horry-dies-after-life?urn=nba-wp5053

  • DorieStreet

    I always thought Jeff Foster was a Spurs-type player for the longest, but he looked slow and tired in the Pacers-Bulls series (residual from the back injury in 2009-10 season?).

    A lot of thought and work into your scenarios—kudos.
    Retreading with Elson, Thomas, or Mohanmmed for MLE or LLE–I would prefer a younger player.

    We already have an issue with Hill regressing somewhat in 2010-11; I don’t know if starting Arenas ahead of him helps that situation.

    Even with reduced minutes pending an FA signing, I still want Bonner gone/flameout in 3 straight post-seasons, and we got to get back to everyone on the roster playing quality D.

  • Ryan McShane

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=3p9dx66
     
    Dwight Howard is on the verge of becoming the next LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony. He’ll have one year left on his contract and has openly stated he WILL become a free agent. He wants to win, and he wants to play with people who want to win. Who wants to win more than Manu Ginobili? On top of that, if he joined up with Tim Duncan, it could be a reprise of the two towers. For Dwight Howard, it could be an apprenticeship he truly needs. LZ Granderson wrote an article for espn.com in which he says,
                  “After one final season, Duncan will retire because there’s nothing more for him to do. He’s earned close to $200 million in NBA salary alone, so money won’t be an issue. And unlike David Robinson, who stuck around until he was 37 because he loved the game and felt Duncan could do the heavy lifting en route to one more ring, Duncan isn’t seeing much relief on the bench. Barring a trade, he’s looking at Dajuan Blair as his workhorse successor. And while Blair makes for a good story, Duncan knows the Spurs are going to need more than a good story to win another ring.”
             Dwight Howard is the reason for Tim Duncan to stay. Tim Duncan is the reason for Howard to sign an extension (and Robinson is an added bonus). With a big three of Duncan, Howard, and Ginobili, who wouldn’t want to come the Spurs’ way? Their biggest need would be a SF like Mickael Pietrus, Wilson Chandler, Shane Battier, or Tayshaun Prince.
             So, why would Orlando do it? They’re losing Dwight Howard anyway, why not get rid of Gilbert Arenas at the same time? Through Tony Parker to Atlanta, they would get Josh Smith and recoup some of their size. In addition, they would get more in Blair or Splitter (or both) and Jefferson. In one fell swoop, they would be
    under the luxury tax and still have a decent team (basically becoming a first round playoff team… like this year). They would have several young building blocks (they love Nelson) and their line-up would look something like this:
    PG – Nelson
    SG – Redick
    SF – Jefferson
    PF – Smith
    C  – Blair/Splitter
    6th – Turkoglu
    With Bass and Anderson as rotation bigs.

             Atlanta, of course, would have a real point guard.

             I would almost expect Tim Duncan to opt out of his final year and re-sign for significantly less like Robinson did. He’s made plenty of money and would really just be hunting for another ring. Mr. Eva Longoria would be out of the locker room (but in his stead Mr. Glock). I think there were some chemistry issues at the end of the season… there’s almost no other explanation for why they fall apart. They didn’t trust each other.

             And as far as free agents bigs go, I could see Franciso Elson, Kurt Thomas, Jeff Foster (SA ties), Alexis Ajinca, Joel Przybilla, or Nazr Mohammed playing for the MLE or LLE (again, assuming such things still exist). It’s also plausible for them to remain under the cap with such signings.

             But, I really doubt the Spurs’ front office would let Arenas into the organization. I feel like it would be the only way to get Howard right now though.

    Spurs would look like this:
    C – Howard              Blair/Splitter/FA
    PF – Duncan            FA/Bonner           Ryan Richards?
    SF – FA                  Anderson             Green/Butler/FA?
    SG – Ginobili           Neal
    PG – Arenas            Hill                      Quinn/de Colo?

  • Ryan McShane

    All of this is assuming the new CBA doesn’t change anything significant (like something that would let Orlando out of Arenas’ contract). 

  • MSteele_in_Éire

    I can see a lot of work has gone into these proposed trades but come on guys post realistic trades/moves we could make. Like seriously there is not a chance on God’s green earth that we see Dwight Howard in a Spurs jersey this year or next. He’s probably gonna end up in Clipperland or New Jersey/Brooklyn. We just don’t have the talent for Orlando to even consider us.

    Tayshaun Prince and Shane Battier seem to make a lot of sense to me.
    A couple of underrated pick ups could be:
    Deshawn Stevenson, Reggie Evans, Dalembert, Earl Clark, Carl Landry, Humphries, Foster, Chuck Hayes…
    We could also put in a cheeky offer for some of these guys:
    Kirilenko, Afflalo, Wilson & Tyson Chandler, Jerebko, Thad Young, Oden, Kenyon Martin…

    To be honest I just wanna fast forward to the start of the new season to see what magic Pop, RC & co have pulled out of the hat. Great podcast btw, ‘winter shoes’ still has me laughing.

  • Rob

    Thanks for the link.  My prayers go out to Horry’s family (and all families) who have to endure the loss of their children.

  • Sam

    Lol whats up with the love for Earl Clark?? Right now there’s a feeling of last resort in Spurs nation. We are coming up with trades that don’t even help our team. I mean people are thinking about signing Andre Freaking Kirelinko!? I understand why people would think he could help our team (Defense), but come on this guy was horrible last year and is clearly washed up. Why would you risk on having him when at the same price we could go after Thaddeus Young. I watched him in the playoffs, and he is something special. The way he impacted the game on the defensive and offensive sides was remarkable. Speaking of Philadelphia I’m still a strong believer in a trade for Andre Iguodala. He’s a lock down defender and a playmaker. I may be wrong, which I usually am, but I think RC and co. having something cooking for draft day.

  • Ryan McShane

    As an armchair GM, you have to ask yourself,  “Do you want Dwight Howard?” The dollars work out here, but Orlando doesn’t get anything back. If I’m Otis Smith, I know I can do better than Josh Smith for Dwight Howard, as Len suggested.

    As for the money issue, my assumption was that Tim Duncan opts out and resigns for much less, more than making up the ~8.5 million the Spurs are taking on. I think they’d be over the cap but under the luxury tax (like this year). 

    I’m not sure if Duncan would opt out and resign if the Spurs didn’t bring in someone like Howard.

  • Ryan McShane

    As an armchair GM, you have to ask yourself,  “Do you want Dwight Howard?” The dollars work out here, but Orlando doesn’t get anything back. If I’m Otis Smith, I know I can do better than Josh Smith for Dwight Howard, as Len suggested.

    As for the money issue, my assumption was that Tim Duncan opts out and resigns for much less, more than making up the ~8.5 million the Spurs are taking on. I think they’d be over the cap but under the luxury tax (like this year). 

    I’m not sure if Duncan would opt out and resign if the Spurs didn’t bring in someone like Howard.

  • Ryan McShane

    I would want Turkoglu a thousand times over Arenas, but there’s no way Otis Smith pulls the trigger on that. He’s a rare specimen… there are only a couple of players that can be a 6th man (play at least 4 positions) the way he can – Lamar Odom and LeBron James. I think the Spurs would have to alleviate the Magic’s financial burden to get Howard. Basically, the only reason a team should go for broke, the way Orlando did this season (~$90 million), is to win a championship.

    That being said, I like the idea.

  • Ryan McShane

    I didn’t put too much thought into what Arenas would do for the Spurs, it was hard enough for me to put him on the trade. You’re probably right about Hill’s dip in production, but for ~$17million, he’d better be working his a** off for the Spurs. I don’t see Arenas producing off the bench (he’s got that same mentality AI had).

    As an alternative, you could have them split the minutes down the middle and have a crunch time lineup of Howard, Duncan, [FA], Neal, and Ginobili with Neal and Ginobili co-running point. 

  • Ryan McShane

    I think LA is the most likely destination. 

    LA just has a knack for this kind of thing (see: Shaq, Bynum, Magic, etc) 

    You know Stevenson is going to bank it next year, as a Mav or not. Landry is Blair in 5 years (no thanks). No comment on the rest (Tyson Chandler would be amazing, same story as Stevenson). 

  • Titletown99030507d

    How about moving RJ and Bonner for Iggy. He and the sixers are not on the same page and there was rumors of trying to move Iggy for Kaman but sixers want more for him. Bonner is 6’10″ and can spread the floor so I keep hearing and RJ can either fight for the starting job or come off the bench. Not too bad for Sixers but great for us. Money works in this trade. Being that the draft is weak this year as I keep hearing again. Then I would move Blair to get a top 5 first round pick to get a big like Kanter, or Biyombo or some of the like. Blair is a proven rebounder and nothing is certain about the top big men in the draft as to panning out. So I would take my chance on bringing in one of those bigger bigs. Plus get another big with the MLE. I don’t know but I really would like the spurs to go after Iggy. What do you think.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Also wanted to add they can entice this trade with Ryan Richards. Really don’t want to do it but if it means getting Iggy from the sixers we can part with RJ, RR, and Bonner.

  • SAJKinBigD

    I would LOVE to steal either (Chandler is my FIRST choice) or both from the Mavs!
    However, I doubt we’ll be able to out-wallet Cuban, though. I think he’s gonna try and keep as many of those guys around for next year as possible and see how far they can take it again.
    But we’ll see. I’m afraid the only way our guys can draw in any coveted FAs is gonna be to pocket-up. With an obviously declining Duncan, there’s not as much draw/belief out there that we’re true contenders.

  • Len

    I don’t like giving up RR so early.  The guy looks to have major raw skills.  I know, I know, it could be fools gold.  I’d rather tempt the Sixers with a known commodity like Blair.  He’s cheap, he bangs and he does post productive numbers.  

  • Rob

    Interesting story
    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/06/16/report-cavaliers-shopping-j-j-hickson-too

    Cavs are interested and trying to secure a situation where they can get both Irving and Williams.  If they can’t get both they will more than likely pick up Irving first in the draft and hope Williams is available at 4th.

    Reading this…I wonder if the Spurs would approach this trade idea.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=3fg8qag

    Giving Atlanta a solid PG and replacement to Smith in Hickson/Varejao

    Spurs lesson their financial commitment whhile landing a top PF and can then approach a SF such as Vujacic in free agency.

  • MSteele_in_Éire

    Yeah I agree. He has a high BB IQ, he could guard most PGs and wings in the league, he rebounds and, most importantly I think, he can create which takes the pressure off Manu/TP carrying the load offensively.

    Now the important thing would be for Pop to adapt the offense to suit him. There’s no point in going after him if we are going to ask him to sit in the corner and shoot threes.
    Starting we could have: Parker, Anderson, Iggy, Free Agent, Duncan.
    Off the bench then we would have Manu, Neal, Butler/Green, Drafted player/Free Agent, Splitter. 
    Then closing the game we could have Parker, Manu, Iggy, Tim, Splitter. Iggy can create thus allowing Manu to come off the bench and play less minutes yet our ‘closers’ would still be a very strong line-up.

    I would be willing to throw RJ, Bonner, Blair/Hill, picks and cash at Philly. RJ and Bonner are both limited players and therefore are expendable. Hill/Blair or both would be a bit harder to take but Blair is just too small, Hill is not a PG and he’s too small for SG. It seems like a lot to be giving up but I can deal with it if we are getting a quality player back. We wouldn’t really need a back-up PG because Manu, TP & Iggy can all create for others and guys like Neal, Anderson & Butler (from what I’ve seen) can all get their own shot.

  • Sam

    Why not a straight up RJ for Hickson deal? Cleveland has one LARGE hole at the SF position and their have been many rumors about them wanting to trade for one. Also, the Cavs have a huge trade exception which would allow this trade to occur. We could throw in a future 1st rounder or this year’s first rounder in it as well.

  • Sam

    I honestly think that we are undervaluing RJ’s trade value. There are MANY bad teams that have a need for a SF such as RJ. The two that first come to mind are the Cavs and the Clippers. This is the point where a light bulb went off in my head. Both teams are shopping decent big men.
    Lets start off with the Clippers.  Many people are saying we need to trade TP for Kaman and that is not correct. The Clippers have a solid starting PG in Mo Williams. However they have a huge hole at the SF position. RJ and Bonner and a 1st round pick for Kaman. I’m not a winter shoe hater I just believe his minutes should be lowered. If the Clippers want we can take Bonner out of the deal. A front court of Kaman and Duncan screams defense.Now lets move on to the Cavs. Cleveland (I don’t know why) is dealing J.J. Hickson. The Cavs starting SF is Alonzo Gee…intimidating isn’t it? RJ and a future 1st round pick for J.J. Hickson. The Cavs have a large trade exception so that helps. 

    Both deals help out each team. Also we keep the Big 3 in tact. Why not pull the trigger?

  • Len

    I like both trades Sam.

    RJ, for a few reasons, is just not a Spurs type player.  RC tried, he tried, Pop tried, hell even Timmy and Manu tried, but nobody could make RJ fit the Spurs correctly.

    Pick up a guy like Mbah a Moute, give Butler and Anderson some time at the 3.  Add Kaman or Hickson to the front court and I think the team would be far, far better off doing that than a repeat of the past 2 years.

  • Rob

    Cavs want to rebuild with picks.  I don’t think they trade a future 1st round for this years first round.  They have a lot of interest in Irving and Williams.

    Regarding straight up for Hickson…yea…good deal.  But I’d much rather have Smith.  He’s more versatile.  And trading away Jefferson and Bonner resolves two issues the Spurs had last year regarding playoffs.  Both are not playoff worthy players yet both would be great locker room veterans for a team that is rebuilding as would be the case in Cleveland.

    But if it would come down to that…I’d take Hickson.

  • Sam

    I just think that it would be a more likely trade that the spurs would do since they are not usually involved in 3 team deals.

  • Titletown99030507d

    I like those lineups. But isnt Splitter a PF? Is he always going to come off the bench for Timmy? I guess it doesnt matter as long as he’s there at the end like you mentioned in your closing lineup. If only Pop can divorce himself from seems like emotional ties with some of his players( Not named core 3) and do whats best for the team. This will be an interesting draft being weak or not. I’m wondering if there’s a chance they may even trade up in the first round?

  • Titletown99030507d

    Just to remind some people Splitter hasn’t hit his ceiling yet in the NBA. I wouldn’t throw him at the back of the bus just yet.

  • Sam

    We’re not throwing him at the back of the bus. Splitter is great but we need depth in our front court. Even if Splitter had developed more this year I still don’t think our front court would be able to match that of Memphis. McDyess is almost certainly retiring also.

  • Sam

    We’re not throwing him at the back of the bus. Splitter is great but we need depth in our front court. Even if Splitter had developed more this year I still don’t think our front court would be able to match that of Memphis. McDyess is almost certainly retiring also.

  • Sam

    We’re not throwing him at the back of the bus. Splitter is great but we need depth in our front court. Even if Splitter had developed more this year I still don’t think our front court would be able to match that of Memphis. McDyess is almost certainly retiring also.

  • Bob

    They didn’t try hard enough. In the beginning of the years Spurs were pushing the tempo and it helped RJ’s game. He was averaging 20 and leading the team in scoring. Spurs stopped pushing the tempo and RJ got reduced to a 3 pt shooter and passable defender. I still think he’s capable of helping the team but the team has got to make the adjustment. It can’t just be big 3. They’ve got to include him. RJ’s better of a 1-3 option and Duncan a 4th option. That’s when the team was playing the best.

  • Bob

    What makes you believe Hickson is better? He should have had the starting 4 position all year but got benched in favor of Jamison. His coach questioned his work ethic and didn’t believe he was trying hard enough to rebound/defend. Doesn’t sound like a Spurs player or I guy who might come through in the playoffs. How do you determine playoff worthy? Most of the Spurs weren’t playoff worthy even though I believe bad strategy had a lot to do with it.

  • Rob

    Where did I say Hickson was better?  I prefer Smith.  Hence my trade idea for Smith.  All I said in response to Sam was IF it came down to a deal that could only land Hickson I’d take Hickson.  Regarding “playoff worthy”…Bonner has value but has never shown to be a “playoff worthy” player.  History shows his season averages always drop… Significantly… in playoff situations.  If he’s a great locker room guy…let him be that on a team rebuilding with youth.  Cleveland perhaps?

  • MSteele_in_Éire

    I think Tiago has the potential to guard most post players in the league (both PFs & Cs) but the fact that his jumpshot isn’t polished means he more suited to playing in the post, ie. at centre. Though when Tim’s on the court with him it’s immaterial, they’re are both quite inter-changeable.

    Depending on who Cleveland draft, we could maybe make a deal with them.  If they pick up Kanter, then they will probably move one of their bigs. We have a back log of quality guards and they have a lot of bigs, so a straight up trade of Hill for Erden seems to make sense to me.

    Regarding the ‘moving up in the draft’ scenario, personally I would love to move up inside the top 10, but RC & co. never seem to do it. There’s been a lot of talk about that kid Singleton, which intrigues me. My other opinion on this is that management should be in a ‘win now’ mode, ie we should look to package the pick, with Hill/Blair & RJ and see what we can get. Then again it’s always nice to be prepared for the inevitable retirement of Timmy.

  • Len

    In the playoffs, as you hopefully know, the game becomes half court execution.  And RJ shrinks quietly into the long goodnight when that happens.  I’ve seen it two years in a row and that is more than enough.

  • Bossxxx8

    So far, up to the 9:45 mark, I haven’t gleaned anything meaningful from this podcast.

  • Bob

    First the Spurs should have looked to keep pushing the tempo even in the playoffs since that worked well for them. Second they also need to help Jefferson get involved in the half court with play calling. He’s not that creative an offensive player. He needs backdoor cuts and passes to really get going.

  • http://cruzcordero.wordpress.com jay

    who should the spurs draft in the 1st round? i like jeremy tyler, but not sure about his attitude

  • Titletown99030507d

    If we were to get Kaman somehow who does Splitter come off the bench for? 

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