Following Up on Ginobili and The Future of the Spurs
Since writing the Manu Ginobili to the Wizards post, I’ve somewhat soured on acquiring him. Not that I’m now completely against it, given ideal circumstances. Manu is nice, but he doesn’t fit the two greatest team needs: a rugged big man who can defend and rebound (either in the form of starting PF or a significant bench role player), and a dead-eye three point shooter, who can also defend. Mike Prada of Bullets Forever has a good post on who that needed wing player might be: ‘Who is Gilbert Arenas’ ideal backcourt mate?‘
The veteran squad and expiring contracts the Wiz would get in the Ginobili trade scenario makes an interesting team while maintaining flexibility for the future. But as Prada pointed out on Bullets Forever, the Wizards would be giving up almost all of their attractive assets (Blatche, Young, the 5th, and the expiring contracts of Mike James and Etan Thomas) for a bunch of over the hill guys with unreliable health.
If I’m Ernie Grunfeld, I want to max out the value of those assets, or retain some for a 2010 trade deadline rainy day. In the end, I, along with most Spurs fans, can’t really imagine the trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Ginobili not being together next year anyway.
The Spurs want to prepare for the future, while remaining competitive. The best way to stay in the title picture might be to keep the veteran core on the books (Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Kurt Thomas, Bruce Bowen, Fabricio Oberto, Roger Mason, Matt Bonner, and Finley, assuming he takes his $2.5 million player option), along with George Hill (seemingly their only youthful prospect), fill in the gap with a MLE free-agent (which could mean heading into luxury tax territory), and pray for health.
With the contracts of Bowen and Oberto un-guaranteed, the Spurs could also free some space this summer by setting the old vets out to sea. More likely, they will keep those guys around, either using their expiring contracts as bait at the trade deadline, or by just letting them expire. Currently, including Oberto and Bowen, San Antonio has seven summer of 2010 expiring contracts totaling $31.86 million.
With Duncan and Parker as a base, the Spurs could be major players on the free-agent market. How would Dirk Nowitzki, who has an early termination option after next season, look next to Timmy and Tony? Pretty nice if you ask me. Desperate for a ring vets would be lining outside the AT&T center.
As far as the Wizards, many signs indicate them wanting to play big. Who knows whether that means with the current roster, or by adding a piece. Those possibilities will be covered in an upcoming post.
What Others Said:
David Arnott [via email] of Bobcats Blog, Rufus on Fire:
I break this down in a couple ways. First, Gerald Wallace is the best player among the six involving the Bobcats, and the second best player in the trade. Charlotte would be hoping to get salary relief and, possibly, an upgrade at SG, by getting Young for Bell and, definitely, an upgrade on a third big man by getting Thomas for Mohammed. Thomas could even be a better option than Diop as the second center.
The thing is, Wallace is better than Jamison and has a better contract, and neither Diaw nor Jamison should play the three; they’re both fours. Ultimately, on the face of it, it looks like the Bobcats make a lateral move financially, take a small step backward in overall talent, and a huge step backward as far as balancing the roster. If the Spurs want Wallace and his contract, why not trade Ginobili and Bowen’s corpse for Wallace and Felton? If you sub in Diaw for Wallace, does the deal still work? Would San Antonio take that and make Duncan the center?
Timothy Varner [via chat] of Spurs Blog, 48 Minutes of Hell
Our commenters seem to agree with me—the Spurs perspective is that you’ve thought up a respectable offer but that Wallace is too injury prone and expensive to lose Ginobili over.