Spurs would face quandary in addressing their need for a big man

Back in June, I wrote about some free-agent big men the San Antonio Spurs should target once the NBA season starts.

Since the league is still in a lockout with barely a month away from beginning on time, the free-agent signing period will be compressed once the lockout ends. It means, teams will be scrambling to add players at a furious pace to get ready for the upcoming season or will more likely use their current lineup to compete in a shortened season.

Most NBA observers believed the Spurs would benefit in a lockout season.

With their current lineup, besides the glaring need for a veteran backup point guard, San Antonio would also require another quality big man in their rotation if they want to compete for a fifth title.

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Is Parker the most important Spur of the future?

Denise Charles of the Bleacher Report ranked the San Antonio Spurs most important players of the future and Parker tops the list.

Tony Parker

He’s actually in the predicted peak years of an NBA player at the age of 29, but I was actually surprised to see him stay on the team.

Yes, we can agree his off-court life didn’t hinder his talent or skills and he helped the Spurs make it to the playoffs. His stats from the 2010-2011 season were some of his best, career-wise. With an averaged .519 field goal percentage, he boosted his career average of only .493. His three-point percentage averaged out to a .357, while his career sits below at a mere .315.

Although he has a way of magnetically attracting injuries, Parker is still a big asset to the Spurs and will probably remain one for the next 5 years or so.

Manu Ginobili

By far one of the most intense players the Spurs have…watching him at the AT&T Center is amazing because he plays with a lot of fire. Granted, he is 33 and nearing the end of the tunnel, he still contributes a lot to the Spurs and gets the job done. With an averaged .433 in field goal percentage, and .349 in three-point percentage…his stats have remained constant throughout his career, thus far.

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Applying the Allan Houston Rule to Southwest Division Teams in 2011

One of the topics expected to be discussed during the NBA Lockout is the possible revival of The Allan Houston Rule.

allan houston When a new CBA was agreed upon in 2005, it allowed NBA teams a one time opportunity to waive a player and not have his contract count against the luxury tax teams have to pay if their team salary exceeds a pre-determined amount set by the league.

The released player becomes a free agent but his salary still gets paid and counts against his former team’s salary cap.  Ironically enough, Allan Houston was not a victim of The Allan Houston.  The Knicks instead decided to waive Jerome Williams.

If the new CBA once again invokes this clause, most teams will probably take advantage since it would save them possibly tens of millions of dollars.  To keep up with the times, we will change the name of this from “The Allan Houston Rule” to the “Rashard Arenas Rule” since Rashard Lewis and Gilbert Arenas easily have the two worst contracts in the league.

Here is a break down of each Southwest Division teams and who would end up being the casualties of the said rule.

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Spurs extend deadline on McDyess’ salary guarantee

The San Antonio Spurs and forward Antonio McDyess have agreed on an extension of the guaranteed-salary deadline on McDyess’ contract for the 2011-12 season.

Spurs forward Antonio McDyess

McDyess’ contract called for him to be paid $5.2 million next season unless the Spurs waived him by midnight Thursday.

The deal is partially guaranteed even if the Spurs ultimately decide to release the 36-year-old veteran of 14 NBA seasons.

With the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the players union to expire one minute after midnight Thursday, the Spurs proposed extending the deadline to the first day of the next player free agency period, whenever that may be.

McDyess and his agent, Andy Miller, agreed to the salary guarantee extension on Thursday.

Though McDyess indicated numerous times that he intended to make 2010-11 his final NBA season, the Spurs are convinced he could continue as a contributing player.

The prospect that the 2011-12 season might be truncated by the labor dispute that appears headed for a lockout could be a factor in McDyess’ ultimate decision about continuing his playing career.

McDyess joined the Spurs for the 2009-10 season, playing in 150 games over the past two seasons, starting 66 games. In 73 games last season he averaged 5.3 points and 5.4 rebounds.

Source: Spurs Nation

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Blair is a fine role player

Back in 2009, DeJuan Blair was an unexpected pickup by the San Antonio Spurs early in the second round because he was projected to be a lottery pick at the time he entered the draft.

Despite his lack of size, Blair is a fine role player for the Spurs

One reason why he fell into San Antonio’s lap was his lack of height. At 6-foot-7, Blair is an undersized power forward. Still, he was deemed to be the steal of the draft.

He did not disappoint.

In his rookie season, Blair was the only Spurs player to play all 82 regular season games. He averaged 7.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and shot 55.6 percent from the field in just 18 minutes per game.

His 55 percent clip from the floor ranked best among rookies in 2009-10 season and on top of that, he was named to the All-Rookie Second Team.

Blair provided the Spurs instant hustle, rebounding and spark from the bench.

Knowing that he has a lot to improve, Blair worked on his game over the summer to try to expand his offensive and all-around game.

It did payoff; in just his second year with the Spurs, his role got bigger. He became the team’s starting center and did a great job at it.

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Expecting a better season from Tiago Splitter

It took three long years before Tiago Splitter finally arrived in San Antonio.

Touted as one of the best big men in Europe, expectations are high, the San Antonio Spurs once believed that he could be a game-changer, a guy that could perfectly complement Tim Duncan in the post and they still should.

Splitter is primed for a better season with the Spurs.

Splitter is not all hype, he has the potential to meet expectation or even exceed them. However, an early injury during his first training camp with the Spurs derailed his development.

It caused him to miss a lot games early in the season and then found it hard to get his rhythm back and even harder to crack the Spurs’ regular rotation.

DeJuan Blair thrived as the team’s starting center for the better part of the season and Antonio McDyess had his turn towards the end of the regular season and in playoffs.

Despite being the best in West during the season, the Spurs failed to make it past the first-round because their frontline was dominated by the Memphis Grizzlies.

As soon as the series started against the Grizzlies, I believed the Spurs could have used Splitter more, but it might have happened a little too late.

They were many reasons why he was not utilized in the playoffs right away.

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Trade Parker? Here are five scenarios

Tony Parker is the Spurs' most valuable trade chip this summer.

After another disappointing post season, the San Antonio Spurs have a lot of work to do over the summer to improve their roster and perhaps make a final push of winning another title during the Duncan era.

If the Spurs intends to give it another shot before Tim Duncan retires, expect little changes. The core of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker is still one of the best in league. But to win another NBA crown, they will need a lot of help.

San Antonio knows how to treat their players well and is very loyal to their stars. However, if improving the lineup means moving one of the Big Three, they should do it.

Among them, Tony Parker is likely to be traded. My friend, Tim Varner of 48MoH, pointed out some reasons why trading Parker makes sense. Also, I’ve mentioned before that Parker is the team’s most valuable trade chip.

Having said that, here are five trade scenarios involving Parker.

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Trade scenarios involving Richard Jefferson

Jefferson could be the main target of trade talks involving the Spurs this offseason

Two weeks ago, I wrote some possible trades for the San Antonio Spurs.  While some of the trades I mentioned in that article seems like a pipe dream, there is always a possibility for it to happen.

This time I focused on trades that involves Richard Jefferson as the main trade piece. In my humble opinion, these trade scenarios have more realistic chances of happening.

Richard Jefferson, Antonio McDyess and DeJuan Blair for Richard Hamilton and Greg Monroe

Hamilton is unhappy in Detroit, Jefferson is not a good fit for the Spurs. Blair is rebounding machine and Monroe could solve the Spurs frontcourt issues.

McDyess’ expiring contact and probable retirement makes him tradeable. While Blair is popular to Spurs fans and has a good nose for the ball, the chance of landing a talented young big man in Monroe and a veteran scorer in Hamilton is hard to pass. This trade could save Detroit some money especially if McDyess agrees to a buyout.

Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess for Antawn Jamison

The Cavaliers might pull the trigger from a short-term financial standpoint. Jefferson can still be effective, albeit not on a consistent basis. Jamison is a proven scorer that can play the small forward and power forward spots.

The Spurs will take Jamison’s hefty contract but they will get a versatile player in return. Jamison could help solve some of their glaring concerns. 

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What’s next for the Spurs?

After another disappointing early first-round playoff exit in three years, one has to wonder – What’s next for the San Antonio Spurs?

The Spurs had some success in past, winning four NBA titles in the Tim Duncan era. That should be considered a great accomplishment in the NBA especially for a small market team like San Antonio.

However, their last title came in 2007 and since then, they have not won anything. Despite some lineup overhauls, and going over the luxury tax last season, the Spurs failed to advance deep into the playoffs for 4 straight years and still has two glaring needs to address.

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McDyess leaning towards retirement

After a great regular season run, and another disappointing first-round playoff exit, the San Antonio Spurs expects some roster changes heading into the next season.

With a lockout looming over the NBA after the end of the playoffs, this could be the last season of Spurs big man Antonio McDyess.

McDyess has played 15 seasons in the NBA, two with the Spurs.

Tim Griffin of Spurs Nation shares this report of McDyess possible retirement at the end of this season.

“Antonio McDyess is probably leaning towards retirement, from what he said. We’re not going to fight him,” Popovich said. “He’s going to make his own decision. If he does retire, as much as a player, we would miss him more as a person.

“He’s one of the finest human beings I’ve ever been associated with. He commands huge, huge buckets of respect from his teammates, just from the way he conducts himself. He’s just a wonderful man. So if he does retire, we’ll really miss him in that leadership role.”

Tim Duncan is also a question mark, particularly if there should be an extended work stoppage with the lockout. But Popovich said he expects Duncan will be back. Another factor is that Duncan will be in line for the biggest annual salary of his career at $21 million next year.

“I don’t see why he wouldn’t,” Popovich said. “I haven’t talked to him about the next few years or what he plans on doing.”

McDyess has provided solid productions in his two seasons with the Spurs. In 77 games during the 2009-10 season including 50 starts, he averaged 5.8 points and 5.9 rebounds on 47.9 shooting from the floor in 21 minutes per game.

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