Smoke, fire and mirrors: The NBA offseason

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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.

  • Hobson13

    Signing Tiago Splitter changes the equation a bit. I believed that the only reason we were looking to move up is to get a big. Was I wrong? Perhaps the FO knew Splitter was coming over all along and have a wing player targeted in the top 5. This is wild speculation, because we may never know. However, with Splitter apparently coming, do we really need a DeMarcus Cousins or Derrick Favors? Besides, the only real Trade possibility that would net a top 5 pick is one with New Jersey. Taking on Elton Brands sick contract would give this organization financial indigestion for years to come. Give Blair 1 year and he can produce at Brands current level for pennies on the dollar. Besides, Evan Turner is expected to be picked at the #2. Unless we think he is the second coming of Brandon Roy, do we need another wing player? With Splitter coming over, do we need another big? Don’t get me wrong, the greedy side of me would love to see Duncan, Blair, Splitter, and Cousins, but three’s a company and four’s a crowd.

    There was yet another rumor out today regarding Chris Paul for Devin Harris and the #3. This however, doesn’t seem likely at all. If the Nets were willing to dump Harris for the best PG in the league, wouldn’t they be willing to dump Harris for a PG who is only a notch below Paul (Parker when healthy). Plus we could give them the #20 to boot. As long as they could resign Parker, I think they would look long and hard at this deal.

    After all the trade talk and BS, I still think the Spurs are going to make some noise here in the next few days. There’s just too many rumors and smoke for there not to be at least a small fire.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Jesse Blanchard

    I think with the Nets, like I said, it all depends on what they do in free agency. If they can land LeBron or Amare or Bosh then I believe they go after Parker with that no. 3 pick. And so that’s still on the table.

    Regarding Parker trade speculation, I simply believe if you’re going to trade him for a draft pick it better be a top five…and of those, only the Nets and 76ers might be open for a point guard. But I feel the only way the 76ers move that pick is if someone takes Brand’s contract. I’m not sure if I like such a trade, it’s just what makes sense to me if one were to be made.

    Doing this would mean the Spurs would have to flip some combination of McDyess/Splitter/RJ for something else (probably point guard help).

  • Hobson13

    “Regarding Parker trade speculation, I simply believe if you’re going to trade him for a draft pick it better be a top five”

    I agree. Troy Murphy and #10 don’t cut it.

    “But I feel the only way the 76ers move that pick is if someone takes Brand’s contract. I’m not sure if I like such a trade, it’s just what makes sense to me if one were to be made.”

    I don’t disagree with you on this trade scenario. Philly would LOVE to get out from under that bad EB contract. No doubt they would give up the #2 pick if they could only have a “Do over” on the EB pickup a few years back.

    “Doing this would mean the Spurs would have to flip some combination of McDyess/Splitter/RJ for something else (probably point guard help).”

    I really believe McDyess is the odd man out at this point. Even if we don’t trade up for Favors or Cousins, it appears we are getting Splitter and we need to increase Blair’s minutes. The minutes played by those two will be taken away from McDyess and Bonner (if he returns). With Parker trade rumors flying and an RJ trade seemingly inevitable, it seems to me that the Spurs are using this next year to rebuild and make a run in 2012 at the title. That, to me, would make the most sense. It appears that we could have a MASSIVE roster change with the Splitter signing plus one of those two (TP, RJ) being traded. Your thoughts?

  • zainn

    i believe that if splitter comes over, there is no reason to trade up. all we would need to do is trade rj’s expiring for some a true back up pg behind tony and some role players and let hill play the 2. we will probably end up with a sf like damion jones, and therfore we can let him or hairston start at the 3 and see what happens from there. yay problem solved

  • Trade Tp

    Hobson do you have a direct quote that links us and Splitter this year or is this another McDyess for president post?

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  • Hobson13

    Trade Tp
    June 22nd, 2010 at 10:08 am

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/teams/sas/report#notes_quotes

    This combined with the RC interview where he indicated he was very confident about Splitter coming over this summer leads me to only one conclusion:

    McDyess for President 2012!!!

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Jesse Blanchard

    The talk is that Splitter is coming to the NBA this year. Probably with the Spurs, and I’d be shocked if it’s another Scola deal. Whether he’s in a Spurs uniform or not, I think Splitter’s presence in the NBA will be a positive thing for the Spurs (even if it’s part of a trade package).

  • Francesco

    While I support the “trade Parker” movement, there’s going to be one problem: his contract is up at the end of next year and any team willing to surrender something for him would want to be reasonably certain he signs an extension.

    Even more than the value of the team, which cities would Parker be happy to live in?
    LA, New York, Miami… Chicago already would be a stretch in my opinion.
    LAKERS – no need for him
    CLIPPERS – got Baron already
    NEW YORK – assuming they’re not crazy enough to part with Gallinari, they have nothing to give us.
    NEW JERSEY – Parker maybe be better than Harris, but not so much to include the 3rd pick too.
    MIAMI – nothing to give back.
    CHICAGO – got Rose.

    I think trading Parker alone will be extremely difficoult.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Jesse Blanchard

    Add New York to the list of teams with nothing to give back.

  • BD

    Lakers are weak at PG, and are definitely frustrated with Bynum’s inability to stay healthy. I’d trade Parker for Bynum.

    But I’d rather none of the Big 3 get traded. It’s time to make use of RJ’s expiring . . . maybe as part of a sign-and-trade for Amare, since the Suns are falling apart anyway.

  • Francesco

    Adding to problematic trading: what if we want to trade Hill?

    Hill is not a playmaking guard, he’s a 2-guard or a combo at best, which means any team employing him must have a pure point guard also capable of covering opposing 2s on defence.

    Hill can work for us because we can use Manu as a PG…

    SPURS NEEDS:
    1 – a big who can defend the P&R
    2 – reliable 3-point shooting from a player who IS spot up shooter, not someone we try to mold into one (see the Jefferson fiasco)

    SOLUTIONS:
    1 – by all accounts Splitter seems the man for the job, while also providing a lot more.
    2 – there are players who fit the bill (Allen, Miller, Korver, Frye, Morrow…), but the problem is that we will have used all our MLE for Splitter… so we need to trade.

    If we get Splitter than Blair becomes expendable. As much as we love him, he’s never gonna be more valuable than Tiago, but a lot of other teams would jump at the occasion to have him.
    We could trade him, possibly together with McDyess, for a shooter.

  • DieHardSpur

    I have to say that I disagree with trading TP for a pick and not a proven player.

    A guy who might ‘get it done’ for a guy who can, does, and will continue to ‘get it done’, makes no sense whatsoever. The FO is smarter than that. We just think we have problems right now… extract Tony from our line-up and you will see problems…

  • idahospur

    It looks like the Spurs are waiting on Splitter to blink before any movement can be made, which is the smart move until draft day shows up.
    But it also has to be determined if the Spurs want to hold the MLE for Splitter, or take a chance in the free agency pool.
    I do appreciate seeing the Spurs talking about risks and hoping for a big reward. We all know that the current team cannot compete for a title. I’m not advocating trading Parker, unless a Godfather deal shows up.

  • Jim Henderson

    Francesco
    June 22nd, 2010 at 10:19 am

    “While I support the “trade Parker” movement, there’s going to be one problem: his contract is up at the end of next year and any team willing to surrender something for him would want to be reasonably certain he signs an extension.”

    You’re exactly right, and this always seems to be a key piece left out when commentator’s on this blog assess a trade involving TP. For example the Indiana deal: Do you really think TP is going to play, & Eva’s going to cheer-lead for more than one year in the Hoosier state? That said, I’m not quite as dour as you appear to be on the possibility of a decent deal being made. Though, I do agree, it won’t be easy. In fact, I think Manu would be a little bit easier to trade for a good deal in return.

    “If we get Splitter than Blair becomes expendable. As much as we love him, he’s never gonna be more valuable than Tiago, but a lot of other teams would jump at the occasion to have him. We could trade him, possibly together with McDyess, for a shooter.”

    You’re crazy to trade Blair. You’ll never be able to get fair value for him at this point. Also, Splitter is a center, Blair is a PF. There’s no conflict there. They’re completely different players, and I think both could be VERY valuable in their own right. For example, Splitter will never be the rebounder (and probably not the scorer) that Blair is, or will become. In fact, in my view, Blair is VERY special. He’s just 21 years old, and has Boozer-like potential written all over him. I would NEVER trade him, certainly not at this point.

    DieHardSpur
    June 22nd, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    “I have to say that I disagree with trading TP for a pick and not a proven player.”

    I agree. I would be VERY reluctant to trade TP straight up for less than the number one pick, and we know that’s not going to happen.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Lenneezz

    At this point who would better,

    Wall or Parker ?

  • td4life

    I get nauseated thinking about sending TP to LA. Even if Bynum, though risky, next to TD and Splitter could make us a contenders if we add some shooting. Even if we sent TP to the clippers, he’d resign next summer with the lakers, at which point I lose my appetite altogether.

    In contrast, Indy has trouble retaining TP, and the spurs are in trouble next year w/o major growth from Hill. And New York for Lee is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard.

    @Jesse Blanchard
    I know it’s not an “official rumor” but it would be nice to hear your thoughts on if there is any better possible scenario than sending RJ to the Warriors for maggette, azubuike, turiaf (or some such combination of players) while RETAINING TP, Hill, Manu, Splitter?

  • Trade Tp

    Francesco- Splitter more valuable than Blair? How so? Blair Puts up 20/20 Tiago wont do that his entire career. The guy that has to go if we get Splitter is Antonio. Pop is a retard for even signing him.

    Die Hard- I guess its a matter of when Parker can get it done. Hes never propelled us in any sense of playoffs. He was a great piece to have when Tim was the man, but he HAS PROVEN for the past two years that he CANNOT take over a game and win. His FTs and defense are too poor. Mix that with his inability to create for the wings and you have exactly what we have done the past few years: early exits, and poor 4th qtrs.

    td 4 life- We arent in real trouble if TP goes. You guys value his scoring ability ENTIRELY too much (almost as bad as Boners shooting). Hes a scoring PG. He doesnt get anyone involved, doesnt play good D, and hes not tough. All these things werent as obvious when the majority of our team was tough and played defense. Now that we get older his deficiencies show more and more.

    Again this goes back to coaching. We dont have the same players, and some of our players lack the abilities, SO WE HAVE TO EITHER ADJUST OUR PHILOSOPHY, OR GET NEW PLAYERS. Its called coaching.

  • Hobson13

    Lenneezz
    June 22nd, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    “At this point who would better,Wall or Parker ?”

    Parker now. Wall in 4 years.

  • td4life

    TradeTP–
    for several years, and prior to this year’s playoffs, I’ve been actively calling for Parker to be traded… SO THAT we could pick up value in areas of major weakness, such interior defense, &/or to help us pick up a PG with true play-making skills and an outside shot, better defense, or both. But to let him go for lesser talent and/or a weak rookie prospect is trouble that it will take awhile to recover from… we may have been better once TP went down last year (and I cried “I told you so!” repeatedly) but over the course of a season, we will need A LOT more than Manu, George, plus Temple, Gee, and Hairston. To me, even if he is technically a starter, TP serves the role of a sixth man next year, especially if we could have added more talent in exchange for RJ (or if RJ stepped up: but RJ won’t be here more than one more year, so that just increases his trade value, and little else, given that I don’t see RJ as key asset for us come playoffs ’11). More to the point, we are not likelyLIKELY to get more effective on either end of the floor w/o Tony next season… and I would prefer at least one more fully stocked season before we let him go & start building for the future outright… at this point, I am not optimistic about next season… we face a ceiling of the second round for awhile, and this may be true with or w/o TP, but we’d have a chance if we could fill some real needs by trading RJ (I have trouble imagining that, however, but would willingly trade him for a steal in the draft). I was willing to give TP one more year on a much deeper Spurs team.

  • Armand

    The Spurs should chase Chris Bosh really hard and try to facilitate a sign-and-trade with them. If Bosh is willing to receive the torch from Duncan, there is no reason for the Raptors to not take a deal involving Calderon and Bosh for Tony Parker and Richard Jefferson.

    Since it seems Splitter is joining the team this time around, Duncan, Bosh, Splitter and Blair will be a deep and able enough frontcourt and McDyess will be the odd man out. The Rockets has a surplus at the wing position and since we really miss Bruce Bowen’s defense, we can offer them McDyess (maybe plus our pick this year if we see nothing we like) for Shane Battier’s service.

    I think a Calderon, Ginobili, Battier, Bosh and Duncan lineup with Hill, Blair and Splitter providing depth will be more than able to take it to the Lakers next year.

  • jjsum

    Come on R.c. or Pop. Dont trade Tony…its pure and simply stupid if ya do. You are just asking more NEW players to have to learn the system, and another year of Gel-ing. Come on lets be smarter here. Bring in Splitter to the current roster. Keep Parker and Hill(injuries happen), Need 2 Good point Guards. Yes another pure shooter would be nice…there’s other ways of going about that…without a Major trade of someone who is still young, and was a major factor in the playoffs(Parker). Here is best senario….Keep team ya got+add Splitter+Team Gel-ing+Pure shooter via draft or free agency+Get back to Defensive Roots+Practice those Freaking Free-throws=Real NBA CONTENDOR!! Come on Guys we can do it, with a mix of wiley veterans, and some young talent. Dont worry about trading away our STARS…Add some more of the right pieces and we will get back to the top!!!! Go Spurs Go!!!

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  • doggydogworld

    @Lenneezz – Wall is better if you’re trying to build a team and sell tickets. Parker is better if you want to win a championship now.

    Wall played point guard for an NBA team last year and couldn’t even lead them to the NCAA championship.

  • DieHardSpur

    Doggydogworld –

    In what world do you think that John Wall is better that Tony?

    He might have drafted better, but we’ll see in a few years…

    How many #1 draft rookies have never won a ring? Not to mention been the NBA Finals MVP and 3 time champion???

    Tony has an injured season and now he is peanuts? You guys are hilarious!

  • doggydogworld

    “Tony has an injured season and now he is peanuts?”

    Kind of a total misquote there, wouldn’t you say? I said Tony is better if you’re trying to win a championship now (as in the next couple of years). How is that peanuts?

    Wall is better for a bad team that’s trying to build. He’ll provide excitement and sell tickets. He’ll keep fans engaged for a couple years and buy management time to build the team. Or at least time to collect their generous salaries. Much more so than Tony Parker, because TP is a known quantity but Wall has “unlimited upside”. Fans crave potential, it frees them to ignore reality and envision themselves as winners. Just look at all the silly suggestions from Spurs fans, a relatively sober lot, to trade TP for a draft pick and spare parts.

    Whether Wall eventually fulfills his potential has little to do with it.

  • zack in the alamo

    to the people saying splitter will be in some sort of deal after we make a trade to be top 5 really???? we have been targeting tiago for years ! and since hes coming to save this franchise yes i said it SAVE this guy has not plateau’d since he started playing every year he gets better and is practically 7ft !!! high IQ theres no way in hell we trade this guy

  • zack in the alamo

    @jjsum but how long before those 2 great pg’s leave?? then what are we left with? think of rondo in o8′ hill to me is better than rondo of o8 and trains super hard in the summer we have to trust the spurs if theyre thinking of trading TP they know something we dont guys!!!! theyre not just going to trade him for the heck of it! shoot im all about trading parker while we can extend the life of our spurs contending, but if parker were down to stay in san antonio and had no problem sticking by our side through thick and thin i would keep him most definitely but something is telling me pop and the FO know what kind of guy TP is

  • DieHardSpur

    I just saw that Tony asked to be traded if George gets the starting point guard spot…

    Hmm…

    http://www.newsday.com/sports/basketball/knicks/spurs-veteran-parker-has-knicks-on-wish-list-1.2045510

  • Hobson13

    Diehard, the only way we could trade Parker to the knicks would be via sign and trade. The Knicks have absolutely no trade assets (young, valuable pieces/draft picks) that we would want outside of Danilo Gallinari and Tyson Chandler and virtually no draft picks of interest. I like both of these players, but their salaries are no where close to Parker’s. I’m sure the Knicks wold kill for him, but what could they offer??

  • zack in the alamo

    looks like the real tony is coming out !!!my female friend knows his brother and thats how i know tony is a ..piece of …. there and ive seen the guy in action here in s.a downtown hes not a good person contrary to what people believe. hes wanted out for a while now hes indirectly saying it. there you have it tony lovers

  • Bentley

    And Kobe may not be the best perosn either, but he is still winning championships, so even though Tony’s character may not seem perfect. He’s a valuable asset for this team. It was him practically carrying us by himself last year. A lot of people were talking about hiw the torch is being passed from Tim, to Tony, and now they’re screaming trade because he had one injury riddled season? That’s kinda ridiculous to me. It has been his penetration, and ability to get inside the lane that breaks down defenses. And even though he may not get the assist all the time, his penetration leads to wide open shots. We need a guy like that. That’s how we won our championship in 2007. I don’t exactly “love” Tony Parker, but I think he is still a vital part of our offense.

    The only way we trade him is if we just get an offer that we would be nuts to refuse.

  • duaneofly

    I don’t like making a trade just to make a trade. I also am not sure if trading Tony Parker is a smart thing to do. However, as constructed, even with Splitter and the #20 draft pick, I can’t see us winning the championship without a lot of luck.
    So something needs to be done, whether it’s go all in for a title this year+next, or start rebuilding. Obviously I’d rather try for another title.

  • Jerome Black

    Good Afternon Gentleman,
    I have the last to the minute rumor on Tony Parker and it is hot hot off the press. Before I get into this, I have to agree with “zack from alamo” -above post. Tony is a living piece of garbage to those that know him, trust me! He has no respect for anyone of authority yet alone the San Antonio Police department (cough cough EVA “snake” Longoria!)
    Now to the meat of the article,
    Tony will NOT, I repeat will NOT be a Spur next season. George Hill will be the starting point guard for this team- thats a guarentee! Tony has a couple of teams that want his service and SA needs a big man bad along with a perimeter shooter/scorer, can we say Evan Turner?? Now the latest place Tony is rumored to go is LA Clippers- yes I said Clippers. In exchange SA would get Chris Kaman and Mardy Collins for Parker, Then Clippers would trade Baron Davis to another team and dump his salary. Win/Win for both teams

  • ldhl89

    What the Spurs need?
    1._Splitter
    2._A great defender
    3._A great 3pt Shooter
    4._Im not worry about the draft, Popovich is going to make a great work with the future rookie
    5._George Hill and Blair need to improve, practice and get better
    6._Parker, Ginobili, Duncan need to Rest and get Focus
    7._Richard Jefferson need to learn Defense!!!

  • jk31007

    I dont think we should trade TP…..
    but, I would be willing to trade with IND for only this: TP for Hibbert, TJ Ford, and the #10.

    Our lineup would look like this:
    PG – Hill/Ford/Temple or Jerrells
    SG – Manu/Hairston/Paul George (#10)
    SF – Jefferson/Gee/Paul George (#10)
    PF – Spliter/McDyess/Blair
    C – Duncan/Hibbert/Mahinmi

    Plus we would still have the #20 pick to add.
    Jefferson, Ford, McDyess all come off the books next year (~28 mil.). Think this would give us an excellent bench with 3pt shooting and Defensive/Rebounding help plus set us up for the future!

  • lvmainman

    @ jk31007,

    Wow, if the Pacers would be willing to give up Hibbert, I’d be down with that trade! Hill could start and Ford could be a good backup that can get to the rim off the pick and roll. Hibbert/Splitter would be great to match up with Bynum, Oden, and Ming in the playoffs. Plus the #10 and #20 draft picks.

    I wish the front office is being active with ideas like this one.

  • Armand

    And my trade wouldn’t be better than yours???

    “The Spurs should chase Chris Bosh really hard and try to facilitate a sign-and-trade with them. If Bosh is willing to receive the torch from Duncan, there is no reason for the Raptors to not take a deal involving Calderon and Bosh for Tony Parker and Richard Jefferson.

    Since it seems Splitter is joining the team this time around, Duncan, Bosh, Splitter and Blair will be a deep and able enough frontcourt and McDyess will be the odd man out. The Rockets has a surplus at the wing position and since we really miss Bruce Bowen’s defense, we can offer them McDyess (maybe plus our pick this year if we see nothing we like) for Shane Battier’s service.

    I think a Calderon, Ginobili, Battier, Bosh and Duncan lineup with Hill, Blair and Splitter providing depth will be more than able to take it to the Lakers next year.”