The Hype-nitis Surrounding Manu Ginobili to the Wizards and How It Could Happen | Truth About It.net

The Hype-nitis Surrounding Manu Ginobili to the Wizards and How It Could Happen

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Updated: June 15, 2009
flickr/kris247

flickr/kris247

When the San Antonio Spurs asked Ernie Grunfeld what it would take to get the 5th pick in June 25th’s draft, Grunfeld simply responded, “Manu Ginobili,” or so goes the purported story relayed by the Washington Post’s Michael Lee.

Despite Ginobili’s old age and injury issues, sounds like a pretty absurd counter request (assuming only expiring contracts/low value players would accompany the pick) for one of the top gamers in the NBA. Spurs brass certainly would not expect to give up one of their top three stars for a pick in what most are saying is a down draft.

Grunfeld is not ridiculous, nor is he stupid. He’s just playing hardball knowing the pick will only increase in value heading up to the draft. Case in point would be the hype surrounding Stephen Curry and interest from the Knicks to possibly trade up to get him (amongst Wizards’ threats to draft Curry themselves). Whether Grunfeld’s old team would deal with him might be another story.

Forget what you’ve heard about this being a down draft. Even the worst drafts produce hidden gems, and every GM, with their egos, confidence, and scouting reports think they can mine the next one. A pick’s value is in the size of the target on a slotted player’s back placed there by interested parties.

When the Spurs come inquiring about number five, they clearly have their sights set on someone.

Would Ginobili even fit in D.C.?

I have my doubts. Of course, with almost any wing player, you’ll hear “______ just won’t mesh with Gilbert Arenas.” I’ve set aside all  ‘Gilbert Arenas will always be an offensive jacker/team killer’ thoughts, flag-shipped by the aging USS Tony Kornheiser.

For the sake of being an optimist, and for the sake of believing Agent Zero can prove his doubters wrong as he’s done before, I’ll proceed with a reasonable assumption that Gil can effectively lead a top-notch in NBA offense concocted by Flip Saunders … defense notwithstanding, that’s obviously a different story.

To win in the NBA, you need multiple weapons…. players who can get the ball moving, who can penetrate and be a threat to both pass and score, who will keep teams honest from the outside.

Why not team up Gil Arenas and Manu? At this point, I trust Ginobili to be a better creator on offense than both Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler.

The concept of Arenas and Ginobili living in harmony is not that far-fetched.

Speculation

One of the earliest Wiz-Manu-Spurs rumors came from Sam Amico of  Pro Basketball News on June 3rd:

One thing that’s not in doubt: The Wizards are actively dangling the fifth pick for a starting veteran. They are said to have contacted San Antonio to find out about the availability of Manu Ginobili, but that rumor was quickly shot down by both sides. The Wizards may also try to make a run at unrestricted free agent forward Shawn Marion (Toronto) or guard Ben Gordon (Chicago).

First of all, Abe Pollin might be willing to pay the luxury tax, but I doubt interest is to the point of signing either Gordon or Marion, both seemingly square pegs to the round holes in the Wizards’ lineup.

The Ginobili factor was discussed on Spurs blog, 48 Minutes of Hell. I went back and forth in the comments section with some of those guys. The ultimate conclusion was that the Wizards, from my perspective, are not going trade Caron Butler and the 5th pick for Ginobili, much less something straight up involving both players. And from the perspective of Spurs fans, although some might be overestimating the current value of Ginobili , they are not ready to give up such a great player for chump change, especially when he’s also a $10.7 million expiring contract.

That didn’t stop the continued speculation of Wizards poo-poo platters for Ginobili, spearheaded by a June 11th piece by Yannis Koutroupis of Hoops World (which was addressed by the WaPost’s Michael Lee in the aforementioned link):

The Wizards are said to have an offer for Ginobili on the table, but the details are not known. A deal that makes a lot of sense for both sides is a swap that consists of Mike James, Etan Thomas, the fifth pick in this year’s draft, and Nick Young for Manu Ginobili and Fabricio Oberto.

First of all, sign me the eff up for this. Second of all, it ain’t happening.

I highly doubt the Spurs are ready to blow up their spot, nor absolutely piss off their fan base, with Duncan’s window still open. Sure San Antonio might be the furthest away from contention than they’ve been in a long time, but why make such a sacrifice for the unreliable and untested Nick Young and some rookie … unless they’d think the veteran leadership of Mike James and Etan Thomas would be the kicker. Yea,riiiiiight.

Granted, all of this is based on a speculation from Kourtroupis, which was later expanded upon by Brandon Ribak of the Bleacher Report.

Rumors running rampant on the net, regardless of the source, give grounds for accessed MSM outlets to talk straight to the horse’s mouth. Enter the San-Antonio Express’ Buck Harvey (is that not a porn name or what?) with the double talk of Gregg Popovich. Coach Pop goes from “[Ginobili] has been such a huge part of our heart and soul” to “People get in trouble when they say never,” in the same article. Anything is possible, what’s new?

In studying in the rosters of San Antonio and Washington, there might not be much these teams can satisfactorily offer each other. A third team would need to be involved … enter the Charlotte Bobcats.

Block Buster Proposition (3 teams, 11 players)

Instead of recycling a rumor, I’m going to come up with might be a reasonable proposition.

Three team deal: San Antonio, Charlotte, Washington

Bobcats Get: Nick Young, Antawn Jamison, Etan Thomas
Bobcats Give: Gerald Wallace, Raja Bell, Nazr Mohammed

Spurs Get: Gerald Wallace, Andray Blatche, Mike James, the 5th Pick
Spurs Give: Manu Ginobili, Fabricio Oberto, Bruce Bowen

Wizards Get: Manu Ginobili, Fabricio Oberto, Bruce Bowen, Raja Bell, Nazr Mohammed
Wizards Give: Nick Young, Antawn Jamison, Etan Thomas, Andray Blatche, Mike James, the 5th Pick

Washington Breakdown:

IN
OUT
Ginobili
$10.73
Young
$1.715
$2.63
$3.696
Oberto
$3.8
Jamison
$11.64
$13.359
$15.077
Bell
$5.25
Thomas
$7.355
Mohammed
$6.467
$6.884
James
$6.467
Bowen
$4.0
Blatche
$3.0
$3.26
$3.52
$30.245
$30.177

In an ‘all-in’ move, Grunfeld gets veteran experience and aging toughness, especially if Bowen and Bell have any wing defense left in the tank. Along with the pick, it seems like the Wizards are giving up a ton for what could possibly be the greatest M.A.S.H. unit in the history of the league. But hey, if it doesn’t work, the Wizards get to trim a lot of salary fat ($23.78 million in expiring contracts), keep Butler and Arenas as building blocks, with money to re-sign Haywood and change leftover to reload.

Abe Pollin would be forced to part with community leader Antawn Jamison, but he’ll rest better knowing that the Gentlemen is going home to help his community of North Carolina.

Wiz Depth Chart:

PG: Gilbert Arenas;  Javaris Crittenton
SG: Manu Ginobili; DeShawn Stevenson; Raja Bell
SF: Caron Butler; Raja Bell; Dominic McGuire; Bruce Bowen
PF: Dominic McGuire; Darius Songaila; Fabricio Oberto; Oleksiy Pecherov
C: Brendan Haywood; Fabricio Oberto; JaVale McGee; Nazr Mohammed

That’s a potent big three, all willing to share the ball. The Wizards also gain two solid bench defenders, both with the ability to knock down a long distance shot of the spot-up variety … a definite need.

A glaring area is obviously point guard, Crittenton serving as the primary backup to Arenas. The departing Juan Dixon’s roster spot does, however, provide an option to add a veteran floor general. In addition, the trio of Ginobili, Stevenson, and Bell have all proved somewhat capable of spot-up point duties.

I can’t exactly say that I trust that front-court either. The beloved in San Antonio Oberto is coming off a heart condition. Mohammed can score and rebound, but is allergic to D (seems like a buy-out candidate). And is Dom McGuire really ready to be a starting PF in the NBA?

On the flip side, minutes would be available for McGee and Pecherov to earn (the latter being highly unlikely), and Songaila would be the perfect intelligently passing big off the bench. Still, I understand …. somewhat suspect front line.

Charlotte Breakdown:

IN
OUT
Young
$1.715
$2.631
$3.695
Wallace
$9.5
$9.5
$9.5
$9.5
Jamison
$11.641
$13.359
$15.077
Bell
$5.25
Thomas
$7.355
Mohammed
$6.467
$6.884
$20.710
$21.217

Charlotte is a mess. Bob Johnson is in financial trouble and looking to sell, while the city attorney is saying that the team can’t leave the Queen City. Fans are hungry for a winner, as frustrations with Michael Jordan’s leadership efforts mount. Perhaps simply making the playoffs would go a long way towards winning the locals over.

Look no further than acquiring a Carolina boy, which would fit perfectly with the franchise’s past modus operandi. Both Jamison and Young would potentially pack the scoring punch Charlotte has been missing.

While A.J. brings a fatter contract in the short term, the move allows the Bobcats to chop two years off money owed in getting rid of both Wallace and Mohammed essentially for Jamison and Etan. On the side, Charlotte would certainly be glad to exchange Bell for the youth and affordable contract years of Young.

A nucleus of Augustin, Felton, Young, Diaw, Jamison, Radmanovic, Diop, and Okafor is a better product that what was fielded in Charlotte last year. How could they not like the move?

San Antonio Breakdown:

IN
OUT
Wallace
$9.5
$9.5
$9.5
Oberto
$3.8
Blatche
$3.0
$3.26
$3.52
Ginobili
$10.728
James
$6.467
Bowen
$4.0
$18.967
$18.528

The Spurs would lose the heart and soul of Ginobili, defensive son Bowen, and fan favorite Oberto, but would shed a lot of age, an average if 34.7 years per player (104 total years when Manu turns 32 in late July) in exchange for an average of 28 years (84 total years when Blatche turns 23 in August).

Crash Wallace gives San Antonio a diversely talented forward who is willing to rebound, defend, and run with Tony Parker. James serves as veteran scoring to supplant Parker off the bench. Blatche becomes the ‘change-of-scenery’ find who would greatly benefit from just being around Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich. And finally, the pick allows S.A. to move forward in any direction with the option to take anyone from Tyreke Evans to Stephen Curry to Jordan Hill to James Harden.

The caveat is that the Spurs take on more contract years, and they may have better options elsewhere, but with Timmy’s closing window, this trade best allows them to rebuild with youth while staying relevant (competitiveness in the West probably contingent on an additional move).

Conclusion

Still, if I’m Grunfeld, I hesitate to pull the trigger. The Wiz are giving up some decent talent with several unknown entities in return … granted with the aforementioned luxury of having $23.78 million come off the books after ’09-10.

One enticement/addition could be for the Wiz to exchange their 2nd pick in the second round (32 overall) for Charlotte’s 12th overall (perhaps they’d rather not commit to first round money, I don’t know), where Grunfeld might hope for Tyreke Evans, Jonny Flynn, Ty Lawson or Brandon Jennings to be available.

The verdict: Make the trade and tell Flip to do his best. The Wizards would gain championship experienced veteran depth without committing themselves to long term contracts.

All this being said, I don’t want to be like Bill Simmons, throwing absurdities fueled by my own biases against the wall just because the trade happened to work in RealGM’s checker.

Part of the reason Simmons comes across as an idiot, while politicking for an NBA GM position, is the incessant insults he hurls towards current GMs, thinking he could just fleece them for valued goods. Give me a break.

In any case, I will attempt to solicit the opinions of Bobcats and Spurs bloggers to see how on or off-base I might be.

flickr/Capienzzo

flickr/Capienzzo

flickr/jndotcom

flickr/jndotcom


9 Comments

  1. The White Prez

    June 15, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    If this trade happened, Andray Blatche would hit 4 game winning shots for the Spurs next year, and Ginobili would get injured.

  2. Dunk Funk

    June 15, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I’m not sure I want to see McGee buried on the bench. That being said, I don’t want to see Andray Blatche, period. *Customizes #20 jersey*

  3. Truth About It

    June 15, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Well, McGee doesn’t ‘have’ to be buried on the bench … I was just giving experience the nod in the interim.

    If he improves enough, I can see him earning primo time at the four or five.

  4. sierradave

    June 15, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    I dunno, truth. That frontline looks like a *mess* to me. Taser doesn’t have the height or build to be a starting PF. Caron is gonna keep playing ~40 minutes/game, so that isn’t a lot of time with Bruce Bowen on the floor.

    If Javale were going to transition into a starting PF instead of a center-of-the-future, I’d be more hyped on this. As-is, though, I think we’ll get little-to-no production from the 4, and Brendan is a good 4th option, but not much more. I don’t think this trade makes the Wizards much better… and it certainly makes the unluckiest team in the league a little more injury-prone.

  5. Truth About It

    June 15, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    I think I’m with you SierraDave … I’d rather get rugged with rebounding and defense on the interior than have a soft team full of scoring pizazz.

    Seems to be too many “ifs” with this proposal (esp. with the bigs) and another move would have to be made in addition.

    Guess I was just trying to get creative …

  6. DC Landing Strip

    June 15, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Great work on the post Truth. If I’m Grunfeld though, I do NOT pull the trigger on this. We go from a core of injury-proned, defensively-allergic scorers to a core of injury-proned, defensively-allergic scorers. The supporting cast morphs from an inconsistent young group to aging one with slightly more consistency. Feels too much like treading water, and suddenly Haywood’s foul count becomes the #1 factor in the Wiz’s ability to control the paint on defense, with Oberto’s motivation being a close #2 there.

    The biggest plus for me here is the latter point you mentioned: the cap room that will open to build around Arenas, Haywood and Butler. Otherwise I don’t see a deep playoff run from that roster. But I’m an idiot so whatever.

  7. Michael Procton

    June 15, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    No, no, no, no, no from the Bobcats end. We give up the most important player on our team (Wallace) and another starter, and get 1. an old shitty player (Etan Thomas), 2. an old mediocre player (Jamison), and 3. a young, unproven player. No thank you.

  8. KRM

    June 15, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    The bobcats have a nice core. Everyone needs to be patient and let Larry Brown coach this team together for a full season. All they need is power forward and shooting guard depth and I’m sure we will get a good draft pick and or free agent. For those of you that dont watch every bobcats game, you are about to see how sick Wallace is next year. I guarantee he’s an all-star and the team makes the playoffs. He will not be traded. If you want someone from the bobcats, here are your choices: Radmonavich, Diop, Nazr, May.

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