What Antonio McDyess’ retirement means for San Antonio


I’ll keep this short. Jeff McDonald is reporting that Antonio McDyess is officially calling it a day.

The Spurs save 2.6 million on the non-guaranteed portion of McDyess’ contract. Unfortunately, other than the inherent benefit of saving 2.6 million, this doesn’t help the Spurs’ cap situation. The Spurs are still tax payers. Their payroll is approximately 73 million, assuming San Antonio keeps Steve Novak.

There are three takeaways from this news.

First, the Spurs just lost their most attractive trade piece. McDyess’ contract, only 50% guaranteed and expiring, could have delivered cap relief to another team in a trade package.  Obviously, the Spurs are still capable of trading anyone on their roster, it’s just that McDyess was an attractive, expendable piece.

Second, the Spurs currently feature a 4-man deep front court rotation of Tim Duncan, Matt Bonner, DeJuan Blair, and Tiago Splitter one week prior to the start of the season—a thin rotation during a typical NBA season and even more worrisome during this lockout-shortened campaign. (I’m not counting Steve Novak as a big.)

Third, apart from a trade scenario, the Spurs will have to improve their roster through minimum contracts and the tax payer’s MLE, a three million dollar exception.

Thanks to @filipefurtado for adjusting the Spurs’ cap numbers for me.

  • Tim in Surrey

    Yeah, sorry to join the chorus TH (nice initials, by the way), but I think you should take a closer look at that tape. The key difference between McDyess and Blair last year was in the little stuff that doesn’t always stand out. Blair got lots of steals but he gambled all the time and when he didn’t get them? Layup. He’s strong and quick but his conditioning became a problem as the year went on, which robbed him of both traits. But what’s more important is that Blair hasn’t yet learned how to use position and leverage to keep players out of their comfort zone, while McDyess was a master at it. Doesn’t show up in the highlights or the box score, but it’s important. Finally, McDyess rarely if ever made mistakes, while Blair made quite a few.

    In a way, that’s pretty good for us, because all of those things are fixable. Word is that Blair is already trimmer and quicker than last year and more experience only help him improve in all those other areas. So McDyess would not have remained the superior defender for much longer. But last year? Absolutely.

  • Tim in Surrey

    He literally said that (at least the first part of it) to the media. I doubt they’re thinking about dumping salary, per se. (See “Jefferson, Richard”.) But certainly they’ve been planning to have cap room and flexibility when Tim’s salary comes off the books.

    Wow, Pop and R.C. with cap room and flexibility. Could be interesting.

  • Bry

    You’re all over the board here, and wrong in most places. Dice is far better than Quinn (how many games has/will Chris Quinn started in his career?) and was a good all around player. He wasn’t good enough to start for a championship caliber team, but none of the front-court was apart from Duncan. That doesn’t make Dice terrible or ‘washed up’, it just makes him a solid role player asked to do too much late in his career. Bonner is the same. You’re blind if you think there wouldn’t be a line to snatch up Matt Bonner at his 3-4 million dollar per year salary. The Spurs would have NO problem trading him, but they would get very little in return because of salary limitations. He led the lead in 3pt percentage. That alone (even if he NEVER defends or rebounds) will get he a spot in a rotation and a few million. You think Miami wouldn’t grab him in a heartbeat? Pop was coach of the month last year for Nov AND Dec. He didn’t suddenly turn into an idiot just because you – and others – impatiently want them to spend of a mediocre big when they can do very well next summer. They are over the tax now and in no position to make a big play. This summer, they’ll be sitting pretty. The smart move is to wait.

  • Bry

    I agree that Pop is being very conservative with signings from now until the trade deadline. And I think it’s the smart move. 

  • Colin

    I have watched Kentucky and I’m not totally sold on Davis.  I think if he stays to mature for 4 years then he can reach the level of Duncan and Robinson but he will come out way too soon.  He will be a good NBA player if he comes early, but he will always be one of those “upside” guys that the league is filled with.  Bigs always mature late.

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  • Thomasholdren

    I never said that McDyess wasnt better than Quinn, I said they were both nice guys but not legit ballers. If he (Antonio) were, we would have contended during his tenure. He was a role player, but like Bonner played too many minutes and was called upon to do too many things. Face it McDyess was a 5/5 guy for us. He was worse than Blair or Splitter. 

    Bonner is worth the risk in small doses 10-15 min MAX. Not 20+ like he has been playing for us. You’re right. In the real world, with a “real smart coach” he would be in for a ROLE shoot a couple of threes, stay in if he hit, come out if he didnt. WE DONT USE HIM LIKE THAT. Which makes Pop an idiot. Much like it makes him an idiot for playing McDyess over Blair and Splitter. 

    Coach of the month for Nov/Dec… WHO CARES? Do they give banners for that? He was outcoached when it counted by trying to “pretend” McDyess had game left. McDyess is the only big I know that is worse from the block than Lebron. 

    McDyess = 1 move = pick n pop elbow. 

    I didnt want a mediocre big. I wanted us to play the same style that won us 60 games in the regular season and played Blair. I wanted Splitter to play instead of McDyess. You can say all you want, but the fact is, McDyess did more harm to the team than helped. He took minutes from our younger bigs, he took a roster spot from a younger player, he failed defensively, ultimate fail offensively, and disrupted a 60 win team chemistry and confidence to first round bounce…. 

    Enough with the McDyess BS. He was a decent player in his prime at Denver, and his shortcomings were masked in Detroit with all the length, athleticism, and physical play. UNFORTUNATELY he came into our system as a 5/5 and was playing more than half a game in the playoffs…. Maybe if we used him less and had better players around him. 

    Another interesting fact: 

    Blair has better defensive rating AND defensive win share than McDyess..

  • Thomasholdren

    Why did Blair have a higher defensive rating and defensive win share than McDyess if he wasnt as good? Why did he have higher defensive and offensive rebounds and rebounding percentages than McDyess if he doesnt box out well? 

    Your “con” comments are unsubstantiated since they have NO FACTS to back them up other than your opinion. 

    I can say that Blair is a better rebounder by giving you ORPG DRPG TRPG DREB% OREB% TRB% and those FACTS back up my statement. 

    You say “Blair cant rebound” then have nothing to back up your statement. Again it is SAD to try to analyze the facts and the game with fans. You are too caught up in your emotions to separate your opinions from logical reasoning. 

  • Thomasholdren

    Not true tim. Again look at the defensive win percentage, we were better defensively with Blair, not McDyess on the court. It doesnt matter how many steal attempts Blair missed we were still better defensively with him on the court. 

    You talk about mistakes? Mcdyess averaged 2 TOs a game, had ZERO lateral movement, and no post game. Any time a post player would move from the paint it was a score, drive or shoot. The countless times that McDyess failed to close out on a shooter were many. 

    Blair doesnt use his body that effectively in the post, I will give you that. With that being said he still averaged just as many blocks as McDyess. Again, the nice job that McDyess could do bodying up was immediately eliminated with his lack of mobility. Once the ball got dribbled, Boom, separation. Defensive win share is a good stat to back this up. 

    Another thing to look at is Antonios offensive win share in the playoffs… NEGATIVE.. YIKES

    McDyess PER in the last year reg season was 12 in the playoffs it was 7 .
    Blair’s PER in the last year reg season was 17! and in the playoffs it was 9? 

    HOW THE HELL DO YOU PLAY MCDYESS OVER BLAIR WHEN OBVIOUSLY (eyeball, and stats) show that he is better? 

    Again, give me your argument and then a FACT/STAT to back up your position…. I am positive that you will find nothing to substantiate your opinion. This is where FANDOM and Analysis separate. Although you may love the players, you HAVE to back your opinion up with some sort of evidence. Not just heresy, or another opinion. 

  • Thomasholdren

    Great! That is what won us 60 games last year. Nothing we need more than 5ppg and 5rpg with a 107 D rating with McDyess!!!!!  I guess we will just have to settle for Blair who averaged 8/7 with a 100 D rating… More points, more rebounds, giving up less points… WOW… I really see why we benched Blair for McDyess.

  • Thomasholdren

    Yes, colin I do read what I post. I also have the games DVRD and I watch the games, then I use stats, along with what I see to back up what I write. It is actually how an argument is supposed to be written. Not just trying to remember a game from last December, stating heresy, then trying to back up your argument with your own opinion. 

    I can teach a class for you if you want. 

  • http://twitter.com/varner48MoH Timothy Varner

    Thomas your comments are tedious. The only thing they convince me of is that you think highly of yourself. Tone it down.

  • Thomasholdren

    Then justify the reason for McDyess signing and continual play in the clutch moments (end of season and playoffs). 

    The comments may be “tedious” but the reality of the situation is McDyess wasnt as good as you, or the other “fans” on here think. To ask me to “tone it down” seems a little odd. You allow yourself, and others to make non-factual comments, and have your own opinions supporting opinions and consider it “analysis?” 

    To me, that seems a little “tedious.” 

  • RobTitanic

    Next season Tim and RJ’s contracts will come off the books, roughly giving them 30 mill. in salary cap room.  TP and Manu’s contracts expire the year after, which are excellent trade bait.  If Tim and Manu were to sit out this season by getting fictitious injuries, the Spurs would land a lottery pick.  Add all these factors up and they would be able to land a huge free agent for the 2012-2013 campaign, allowing Tim can go out a champion like D-Rob. 

    Why do this?  For one, every team in the NBA has lost money this year, so it’s not as if the Spurs can salvage all of it back because the season is shortened anyway.  This is probably the best time for the team to lose and not lose that much cash in the long run.  Secondly, the front office failed to get another big for the rotation.  If Tim were to play in this strenuous season, he’d likely injure himself anyway and negate any playoff chance to begin with.  Third, even if the big 3 maintained their health, this team lacks the offensive and defensive firepower to get past teams like okc, chicago, miami, LA.  They are destined to lose this year no matter how you put it, so why not lose and get a lottery pick in return to be able to go all the way the next year (when the NBA season is legit again) ?