The Spurs on the Trade Market: What the other guys are saying
Last week, CBS Sports’ Ken Berger reported the Spurs were being aggressive on the trade market. No details were given because the Spurs obviously have either bombs wired or snipers positioned at every arena in case something leaks out. My sources say Berger is being followed right now. (Kidding… or am I?)
Anyways, since we don’t know what they’re looking for we can use deductive reasoning to make an educated guess. For all the depth the Spurs have, they’re still small on the wings. This is known. They could also use some more athleticism on the wing, perhaps someone who can play some small ball 4. And of course, they’re always looking for guys who can hit 3s and/or defend. It’s easy to say this trade works from a Spurs perspective, but in the interest of fairness, I sought out the opinion of some TrueHoopers who cover the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics.
Thaddeus Young for Matt Bonner, Danny Green, Cory Joseph, a 2014 first round pick and the rights to Adam Hanga, Davis Bertans or Livio Jean-Charles: This is an upgrade for the Spurs, no question. Young could come off the bench or the Spurs could go small and bring Tiago Splitter off the bench. Or they could go extra large, put Thad at small forward and Kawhi Leonard at shooting guard. Young brings that kind of versatility. That’s why the Spurs do this trade even if it means giving up some future assets.
1. Is he available: I’d imagine he’s available—for the right price—given the direction the Sixers are heading. Thad, 25, is playing arguably the best basketball of his career. Now armed with a 3-point shot, he’s putting up 17.6 points and 6.6 boards to go along with some solid defense. He’s also second on the team in win shares (2.6) and PER (18.2).
But there are two problems. First, he has three years and $28 million remaining on his fair contract and when his contract expires in 2016, he’ll be on the wrong side of 28 and in demand of another big free agent deal. Second, he’s one of their top win-producers, and that’s, bizarrely, a negative for a team positioning itself for the 2014 lottery. More wins –> less pingpong balls.
All of this makes him a perfect fit in San Antonio, The Spurs have, what, a two to three-year championship window remaining with the Duncan-Parker-Leonard-Ginobili era? (Variations of that sentence have been written since 2007). Young is a plus-defender and an efficient offensive player who doesn’t demand the ball. Sounds like the ideal forward to play alongside Duncan, as the Spurs make another championship run.
2. What do the 76ers want in return: The Sixers are looking for draft picks and cheap talent, and I sense they’d be willing to take on salary if need be. A first round pick and a prospect might get it done.
3. How quickly do the Sixers so no to the above trade without future assets: Without any draft picks and prospects? Pretty quickly. Thad’s a good player—an almost borderline Eastern Conference All-Star, for what that’s worth, and while the Sixers would take maybe 80 cents on the dollar, they won’t give him away for the sake of giving him away. That’s not a terrible offer, but Young is by far the best player in that proposal. Seems like a sideways move for the Sixers.
A pick and a European prospect would be ideal. I can’t tell you much about Livio Jean-Charles, but if he’s good enough to pass the Popovich Test, he’s good enough for me.
(So that’s a maybe, but it feels likely that the Sixers would get a better offer from another team with younger assets. On to the next one!)
Andrei Kirilenko and Tyshawn Taylor for Boris Diaw: This seemed more fair than Matt Bonner and a first round draft pick. The Spurs loved Kirilenko this summer and he’s a better and more versatile player than Diaw. He’s probably not quite as good an offensive player but a better defender. That’s my rationale, but I admit this move would be tricky in the short run because Diaw is playing so great and Kirilenko would take a bit of time to adjust to the Spurs system. Anyways, do I know if the Nets would do this trade? Nope! Let’s see what Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game thinks.
1. Would the Nets trade any current assets for expiring contracts/draft picks? Or are they making a playoff push no matter what: I don’t see them trying to blow it up now. There’s no real point. Since the move to Brooklyn, every move they’ve made was with the present in mind, and their moves brought their window closer and closer. Now, even though their window looks shut, I imagine they’ll ride out this year with what they have as far as their biggest players. If they made one move, they’d have to make seven. Hard to orchestrate all that given how much they’ve branded this team as-is.
2. You probably just answered this, but could you see them specifically moving Andrei Kirilenko: I don’t see them moving Kirilenko. He’s one of this team’s most valuable players on the floor when healthy and he’s also one of their most desirable contracts.
3. So what you’re saying is, they’re not really looking to make a move that doesn’t help them get to the playoffs? Even Boris Diaw’s expiring contract: I do think the Nets would be interested in an expiring contract, but not at the cost of two of their own like in that deal.
One thing worth noting is that they’ve got the Disabled Player Exception because of Brook Lopez’s injury, which allows them to swallow a contract whole up to $5.25 million, provided that player’s in the last year of his contract. That applies to lots of Spurs players, including Boris Diaw, who is all about swallowing things whole. The Nets would have to make another move to shed a contract since they’ve got fifteen guaranteed, but if the Spurs just want to shed a body it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
(Alright, that’s a no, let’s move on)
Mike Dunleavy, Jr. for Matt Bonner: Probably my favorite trade idea because it’s entirely feasible and would come at minimal cost to the Spurs. Dunleavy can play some small ball 4 and would be able to fill in at back up small forward nicely. He’s a good 3-point shooter and is a better defender than you think. According to Synergy Sports, he only allows .54 points per possession when he’s defending ball handlers in the pick-and-roll. That’s good. Nearly as good is the .55 points per possession he allows defending isolation plays. He checks all the boxes the Spurs are looking for in a role player.
1. Is it safe to say most anyone not named Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson is moveable (and Rose, obviously)? How moveable is Mike Dunleavy, Jr.? Do you think the Bulls would be willing to move him for an expiring contract: Dunleavy’s an interesting case. On the one hand, he’s a productive veteran on a very reasonable contract, which makes him very attractive to a lot of contenders. On the other, the Bulls would very much like to be a contender next season, and Dunleavy is a productive veteran on a very reasonable contract. So, in all likelihood, the Bulls would have to be really blown away by an offer to trade Dunleavy. But given that Jerry Reinsdorf doesn’t like paying any more money than he really has to, and that trading Dunleavy for an expiring would free up cap space this summer, it’s certainly not out of the question.
2. How does Bonner for Dunleavy work? Do you see anything on the Spurs roster the Bulls would be interested: I think San Antonio would have to include a first rounder, or maybe a couple of seconds. From the Bulls perspective, something like this (Dunleavy, Kirk Hinrich for Bonner, Jeff Ayres and Patty Mills) might do the trick, with a pick attached, but I don’t know why the Spurs would do that. I think Bonner and a pick is the best for both sides, but I doubt it would happen.
(Very interesting counter proposal. Mills is the only regular rotation member getting heavy minutes. Hinrich could slide in to this role with minimal affect on the bench)
Matt Bonner and Danny Green for Jeff Green: Sorry Matty B, it’s nothing personal, I promise. Your contract is just so moveable. Green checks a lot of the boxes Thaddeus Young does, he’s just not quite as good. Still, you’d have no problem putting him next to Kawhi or behind him and you wouldn’t have to rely on him being even your third option scoring the ball. Bonner’s expiring contract and Green’s 3-and-D game might appeal to the Celtics, but it really depends on how much Boston wants to get rid of Green’s contract. Still, it’s unclear how much interest there is in Green, so let’s ask Brian Robb of CelticsHub (unless you don’t trust a guy with two first names).
1. Between contract and past inconsistent play, Jeff Green’s value has always been a bit of a question mark. What do you think his trade value is at the moment: Green’s value depends on what scout or team you are talking to. He can be an incredibly weapon on both sides of the ball at times, but he’s also very inconsistent. He’s fairly paid (probably a bit overpaid actually) but given a supporting role on a good team, he’s a weapon a lot of teams would like. However, he’s definitely not a building block at this stage in his career.
2. Rondo may be back as soon as Friday night. Do you think this team is going for it, or is Green someone they would trade regardless of Rondo’s return: Green is absolutely on the table in trades. Brad Stevens doesn’t appear to be crazy about him, given his multiple fourth quarter benchings this year. Green won’t be given away, but he’s definitely not a sure thing to be a part of this team’s completed rebuild.
3. Bonner and Green float your boat: That’s probably a no, unless a draft pick is thrown in there. I like Danny Green a lot, but his contract isn’t long enough to make that enticing. Bonner is useless to this team in the rebuilding phase.
(If it’s me, I’m probably OK throwing a 2014 or 2015 pick in there. Nothing after that though. Green could be a very enticing, versatile filling in some gaps for the Spurs.)
Again, this exercise is nothing more than making some educated guesses based off the Spurs current roster. Got your own ideas? Let us know in the comment section.