Bidding Adieu to Diaw, So Long West, and Greeting Pau

The Spurs had to lose a contract to make the Pau Gasol deal work under the salary cap constraints. David West: Ring Hunter wasn’t long for the Spurs roster anyway. That David West signed with the Warriors is unsurprising and underwhelming. Although he was useful for the Spurs last year, he came up a bit short against the awesome power that was the Thunder’s big lineup. When the Spurs decided to double-down on Bigs for this season, the thinking was that combination of West and Diaw would allow the Spurs to spell Duncan and Aldridge, while providing the versatility to take on the Warriors and Thunder. It looked like it was the perfect plan until the Warriors uncorked an all-timer of a season that regulated Tim to the bench, and the Thunder finally reached their potential.

So with Tim likely retiring, someone needs to fulfil the Veteran Post Prescence Beside LMA. He still doesn’t want to play center full time. That person is Pau Gasol. To make this happen the Spurs needed to trade Diaw. They have reached an agreeement with the Jazz — who are coached by former Toros/Austin Spurs coach Quinn Snyder. The Jazz were right on the bubble of playoff contention last season, and Bobo provides them with a veteran presence while still allowing him to spend time with a national teammate (Gobert) and playing the type of ball he likes. It’s a win-win. The Spurs traded a player that, while beloved, was ineffective down the stretch and throughout the Thunder series.

Pau, for his part, is excited and nearly was a Spur before joining the Bulls for Chicago’s superior city culture. Strangely, OKC was ruled out in 2014 for a similar reason, sparking Kevin Durant to complain “Noone wants to come to OKC.” Talk about LBJ-to-Heatles similarities, no? While, I’m excited for a well-regarded champion big man with 5 years on Duncan (35 vs Tim’s 40) to come in, he doesn’t solve the problems the Spurs have. Yes, it is weird to call a team coming off 67 wins ‘problem-filled’. But when the 73-win team signs an all time great? Well, you have problems.

It is this problems that have me paying closer-than-is-healthy attention to the summer league, where Bryn Forbes three-balls and Kyle Anderson playing the 4 give me hope for the future.