Smoke, fire and mirrors: The NBA offseason
Where there is smoke, there’s fire. Or sometimes mirrors. I’m not sure, it depends on the magician I think. Either way, with the 2010 NBA Draft right around the corner the trade winds are blowing plenty of smoke out of San Antonio these days.
According to ESPN’s Chad Ford (ESPN Insider required), the San Antonio Spurs are among the most active teams in the NBA working the phones right now, with Ford being so bold as to state Sunday on WOAI that he believes one of the two Spurs point guards–Tony Parker or George Hill–will no longer be on the team after Thursday night.
Tight lipped as R.C. Buford, Gregg Popovich, and the rest of the organization are known for being, a general rule of thumb for covering the Spurs is the most accurate trade rumors are the ones you do not hear about. The only rumors that do see the light of day are the deals that fall apart (see Paul, Chris and Stoudemire, Amare).
But while it’s hard to believe that any of the Spurs organization tipped their hand to Chad Ford, other franchises are far more talkative. You know, the sort of franchises that like to suggest the San Antonio Spurs once offered Tim Duncan for Blazers center Greg Oden.
Earlier today Timothy Varner touched upon one of the more persistent trade rumors, which has the Spurs offering Tony Parker to the Indiana Pacers for Troy Murphy, Brandon Rush and the number 10 overall pick. Parker has also been mentioned in Knicks rumors, though one would have to imagine such speculation has more to do with the New York media than what the New York Knicks can actually offer (David Lee doesn’t exactly solve the Spurs defense or three-point shooting problems).
George Hill trade rumors have not really surfaced, though referring back to the general rule of thumb mentioned earlier that might make any potential deals more likely. It would appear to make sense that the Spurs are listening to talks concerning their point guards. Depth wise, their point guard position is the only one with two legitimate starting talents on the roster and both players are among the few that can handle heavy minutes.
Tony Parker offers the greater trade value while George Hill’s skill set is one of the most replaceable in the league, even if his quality is not.
A move involving Tony Parker would signal a complete overhaul of the team, as the Spurs would be giving up one of the most unique and valuable skill sets in today’s NBA–a lightning quick point guard who can finish with the best in the league. So while Parker might offer the bigger trade value, that value still has to equal or eclipse what the Spurs would be losing in such a trade.
In short, a top five pick. Among the teams possessing one, the Washington Wizards (John Wall), Minnesota Timberwolves (Ricky Rubio) and Sacramento Kings (Tyreke Evans) are already set at point guard. The New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets are an intriguing possibility, though probably dependent on what the Nets do in free agency, leaving Ford’s Thursday deadline a little premature.
That leaves the Philadelphia 76ers and the number two pick. Moving here would offer the San Antonio Spurs their choice of Evan Turner, DeMarcus Cousins and Derrick Favors (who the Spurs already interviewed) but likely necessitate the Spurs taking on Elton Brand’s massive and long-term contract.
Turner would provide a nice piece in the backcourt–at any of the three perimeter positions actually. A front line of Duncan, Brand, Splitter, McDyess and Blair would be an upgrade if a little too crowded and overpriced, and that’s before we get into Richard Jefferson’s massive deal.
All of which, in the unlikely event of such a move, would lead to another fun round of more smoke, fire and mirrors.