The San Antonio Spurs and the buyout market

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The trade deadline has come and gone, but the transactions won’t stop for another week or so. The rule is these guys need to be waived by their current team by March 1 to be playoff roster eligible. In reality, the week coming up is probably more important than the trade deadline. Over the last few days, guys like Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih have reached buyout agreements with their teams. Other names like Danny Granger and Caron Butler are rumored to be headed that way.

The Spurs have been linked to Granger and Davis (now a member of the Los Angeles Clippers), and Peace’s brother linked Metta and the Spurs on Twitter. San Antonio recently added Austin Daye in a trade for Nando De Colo, bringing a little bit of balance to the roster. However, whether it’s Stephen Jackson or Tracy McGrady, the Spurs have liked adding veterans at or after the trade deadline. The Spurs have one roster spot available to make a signing if they choose to do so.

There’s no doubt the Spurs roster lacks a true back up small forward, but with everyone getting healthy there’s a question of whether someone like Granger or Metta would be completely necessary for the Spurs’ stretch run. Before everyone broke or strained something, head coach Gregg Popovich moved Danny Green to the bench in favor of Marco Belinelli. This allowed Green to play as much small forward as shooting guard with the second unit.

We don’t know whether Green will go back to the bench when the Spurs are totally healthy (I’m just assuming Belinelli will start while Tony Parker heals his various maladies for the sake of offensive fire power).

Defensively, the Spurs starting unit of Parker, Green, Leonard, Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter has been a wrecking ball the last season and a half. However, at the start of this season, that same unit only had an offensive rating in the low 90s. That could change moving forward. Green, Leonard and Duncan all had slow starts to the season. Green’s offense has stabilized since, Duncan’s shooting numbers went way up after the start of the season and Leonard’s offense was really starting to get going before the hand injury. So don’t dismiss last year’s starting line up finishing out this season.

If that happens then it would absolutely make sense to add some size to the second unit. When the Spurs wings were going down like bad guys at the end of an ’80s action movie, we saw Marco Belinelli struggle, and I think that had a lot to do with the fact that he was expending so much energy guarding bigger guys. Having a Metta or Granger in there would help on that front. It would also help the Spurs go with a more mobile unit, but maintain some size and length if they chose to play either at the power forward. Signing one of the buyout forwards isn’t a mandatory move. It would certainly help spread the minutes around, help keep guys for fresh for the playoffs, but the Spurs could manage without.

A late season addition to the Spurs would likely be much more about the end of the regular season than it would the postseason. Pop showed last year he was perfectly comfortable going into the playoffs and riding Leonard for close to 40 minutes per game. Still, having an extra body to keep everyone’s minutes down wouldn’t be a terrible idea. Bottom line, treat this transaction period like the trade deadline. Don’t expect the Spurs to sign someone, but don’t be surprised if they do.

  • colt

    Really hoping we can somehow sign granger, however a couple of other names got me thinking, one being raja bell and the other being capn’ jack. I know jack is ridiculously unlikely, but dam i’d be glad to have him back over the glaring hole at back up sf right now. I agree it isn’t completely necessary to sign someone, but it wouldn’t be very intelligent not to at least have a security blanket barring if any injury were to happen

  • colt

    also I hope so bad that we steer clear of artest, can’t stand that dude. Dirty and washed up, guy can’t stay on the floor for the knicks and you expect him to have any sort of contribution to a title contender?

  • H3X

    I don’t see us picking up Granger. As nice as it sounds it doesn’t seem like he’d be happy with the minutes. The Manu-Marco-Patty unit was stellar when everyone was healthy and there’s no reason to break them up, unless Granger plays the 4 he’s not going to be getting minutes. I wouldn’t hate haven’t Artest (I will never call him MWP) even though I can’t stand him, but he’d fall in line with this team, no question. Jack doesn’t seem that far from rational thought. He still has a good relationship with Pop and now he knows the situation with Kawhi. PLUS I’m not sure we can sign a pure 4 off the streets and have him be better than Ayers.

  • rj

    Artest has solid basketball iq and I’m sure Granger would look for a larger role.
    Please edit more.

  • camnpat

    Glad to see I am not the only one who still calls him by his actual name. ;)

  • Ryan McShane

    5 years ago, of all the players in the league, I thought Danny Granger was the most Spurs-like player that wasn’t actually a Spur. He was doing all of the things LeBron was doing (high scoring, rebounding, blocks, solid D) but without all of the ego and showmanship. He was stoic. I would love it if Danny Granger was a Spur. Worst-case scenario: he would be a positive mentor for Kawhi. Best-case scenario: he finally gets healthy in time for the playoffs.

  • achoo

    DG would be a great addition to any team for his leadership and being a great teammate. but his game has fallen off big time. It’s not like the Pacers weren’t giving him a chance, weren’t running plays for him, weren’t looking for him all the time on kick outs, weren’t rooting for him to succeed every step of the way…. Danny is just not 2008-2012 Granger any more. the 2014 version is sad, and while a great teammate and leader, sure, maybe a big shot here or there, he’s mostly a liability.

    Trust me, DG33 carried my Pacers for years, but he can hardly carry his own weight any more. I wish him the best, and that may be chasing a ring with the Spurs. but if the Spurs want to win a ring, Granger will have to have quite a few DNPs.

  • achoo

    artest and DG are both washed up shells of their former selves.

    i know it is hard to imagine, but think about the difference between “MVP candidate” T-Mac and 2013 Spurs T-Mac… the difference between “All Star” Granger and 2014 Granger is greater. think about what you’re really getting, there is a reason the Pacers let him go and it wasn’t to get Turner.

  • nodoodah

    1. Parker, Mills, Joseph
    2. Belinelli, Ginobili
    3. Leonard, Green/Granger
    4. Diaw, Bonner/Granger
    5. Duncan, Splitter, Ayres

    I love watching the two shooting guards play together but thy cant defend opposing SF’s. If Bonner/Green get cold or depenign on the matchup, insert Granger.

  • Ryan McShane

    I hope you’re right. I also hope the Spurs face the Clippers in the playoffs and destroy them. And I hope Austin Daye can provide 5-10 minutes of guarding the likes of Kevin Durant or LeBron James in the playoffs.