Spurs and Chris Paul; Roster Thoughts

Since the Spurs exited the WCF literally limping to the finish the post-mortems have begun in earnest. Perhaps the biggest rumor is not a rumor at all. No less than every single outlet ever has reported Zach Lowe’s podcast as the source of the ‘realness’ of the Chris Paul possibility. Henceforth we will refer to this situation as CPP.

Here is the Lowe Post podcast in question.

Two other decent reads about this offseason:

The likely scenario is this: The Spurs bring back some version of this current roster with an update or two. How do we know this? The Spurs have essentially done this for ages. The biggest overhaul was when LaMarcus Aldridge came over and the Spurs parted ways with Thiago Splitter, Belinelli, and others to make room.

This year’s team was not remarkably different than last year’s.

Pos 2016 2017
PF LMA LMA
C TD Pau
SF Kawhi Kawhi
SG DG DG
PG TP TP
6 Manu Manu
7 Kyle A Kyle A
8 J Simms J Simms
9 Patty Patty
10 West Dedmon
11 Diaw David Lee
12 Bonner Bertans
13 Andre Miller Forbes
14 Kevin Martin Murray
15 Boban Joel Anthony

Okay, Pop made much of the seven new players and there was a difference. But the 67-win team had loads of changes also. The key differences were unchanged and that was key. By key I mean the starters and the major minute-getters. The Spurs late season drop contributed to the difference in win totals, and there were some early season struggles to get Pau acclimated and Tony healthy. The Spurs’ preference is to keep what is working and a 61-win team is the very definition of working.

Okay, but what about the playoffs? That wasn’t working. Sure it was. While the two losses to Houston were telling, the Spurs won. Of course, the general feeling about the Warriors was that the Spurs were the lesser-talented team but had a shot to win — or at least be competitive — given they were healthy. The 25-point lead will forever be the great What If? but it is important to remember that the Spurs were playing outside of their minds, while the Warriors were recovering from a layoff.

So if the Spurs had themselves a chance if healthy, why would they not bring back the same team, with some reconfigurations, and compete again?

The Fun Stuff

Let us be honest here. Staying pat is not fun. Signing Chris Paul: Point God is really fun.

Zach Lowe called it “real” and I am not sure what that means, exactly. If it is something along the lines of mutual interest. Of course the Spurs would be interested in adding a HOF player at a position of need. As everyone is reporting, that will be exceedingly difficult considering the circumstances. Moving Tony Parker seemed to be outside the norm of the Spurs pattern, but it was rumored heavily in 2011. Instead of Tony the Spurs traded George Hill. It was still possible. The injury is what takes him out of the shuffle.

Moving LMA would satiate the portion of the base that calls him Dick Jefferson 2.0, part of the appeal of playing in San Antonio is the quality post play of LaMarcus Aldridge. Seriously, why would you leave DeAndre Jordan and (perhaps still) Blake Griffin for an rusty Pau Gasol and Dewayne Dedmon? No, of Chris Paul is coming that means LaMarcus is staying. In fact, he would not let him check out of games. Getting yelled at by Pop is one thing, being scolded by a fellow player — and future HOFer — is another level.

The roster with CP3 looks something like this:

Pau, LMA, Kawhi, DG, CP3. Bench: What, ever, scraps, are, left.

Okay, well Bertans, Murray, Kyle Anderson, the ghost of TP. Those are the guys on the best team-friendly contracts. Depending on how much CP3 takes, the Spurs would have to lose (this is the best case scenario) Patty, Jonathan Simmons, and Manu. At minimum. The even more likely scenario is that SA has to find a landing spot for Pau.

You know what this means? It means the Spurs will be less deep than the Clips are now currently constructed. For Chris Paul it would mean he was taking a pay cut for a jump in team culture and coaching. That is not a stupid move, but it banking a lot on Pop and the Spurs strength and conditioning staff.

Chris Paul himself organized the CBA to favor players like himself in these situations. I do not think it is likely to happen no matter how much each side would like it to.