- Danny Green to get traded?
- Spurs shopping LaMarcus?
- Spurs looking for Chris Paul?
I wrote a version of this post about eight times before I said “let’s just wait.” The Spurs have been unusually active in offseason discussion the past two offseasons, acquiring LaMarcus Aldridge in 2015, and then getting a meeting with Kevin Durant last year before signing Pau Gasol.
To hear the the team was shopping LaMarcus was unsurprising in the least for various reasons. Let us discuss them shall we?
Reasons We Were Not Surprised At LMA Being Shopped
- He was awful in the last two postseasons
- He looks unhappy all the time
- He likes to get big numbers and he has taken a backseat to Kawhi
- He was awful and got called out for it
While we all (including Pop) were critical of LMA’s game in the playoffs the last two years, we must acknowledge that he has been really good. The numbers look good, and when he is confident (usually when he has someone feeding him the ball early) he is top-20 level talent. Again, witness the first three quarters of the Western Conference Finals, the last game against the Rockets, and the first two home games against the Thunder last year. The issue is that these results are inconsistent, and frustrating when they are accompanied by no-shows.
The defenders’ argument is something like “he has no ball handler to get him the ball!” and while this is very true, especially this year, that could not account for his missing jumper.
LaMarcus has two heart conditions: he has the murmur and he has no heart.
Is the above fair? Nope. The skinny on LMA was always that he was a talented, but limited player who tended to sulk and avoid the necessary grunt work that would make him great. The local sports radio guy tells a story about LaMarcus skipping out on a workout with Tim Duncan because he could not hack the intensity. Those unverified rumors aside, he looks like all those are true when he is missing bunnies at the rim.
When Tim failed (he did, kids. Trust me) or when David fell short, they went out swinging. In the Hakeem Series, Dave Robinson had great series, and Olajuwon even complimented him on his defense saying something to the effect of “the reason I played so well, was because of David’s great defense. I needed all those moves.”
When Tim was dragging Terry Porter to the WCF, he got swept or lost in five to the Lakers but still had epic numbers.
LaMarcus? Nope. He could have willed the Spurs to victory in Game 1 but it was not in him. He could have showed out in a Game 2 loss like Jonathan Simmons did. He disappeared.
Spurs fans are excited for the possibility of the trade, LaMarcus apparently is also. MYSA, CBSSPORTS, ESPN, all ran a series of posts mentioning the trade and the reasons why. After draft night, he remained a Spur and the front office said the right things. He remains a Spur and provides the team a good chance of winning.
What is lost in all of this is how good LMA has been for SA. He has defended well on the perimeter, did an okay job at the rim, and scored well enough to be somewhat reliable. He had that stretch last season where he was amazing. This year he battled the heart thing, and later had knee tendinitis issues.
The issue is that he does not inspire confidence. So many people looked at LeBron’s chances of upending the Warriors in the Finals as better than none, simply because of how good he is. No one thinks that about LaMarcus. Instead, most are surprised when he shows out.
Interestingly, LaMarcus’ twitter account unfollowed the Spurs and followed Cavalier Kyrie Irving, former Cav Mo Williams, and Cleveland chef Joe Symons. Make of that what you will. The rumor was that SA was thinking of sending Danny Green, himself both loved and hated for his inconsistency since 2013, and LMA to CLE for some stuff. I speculated that STUFF could and should be Kevin Love and Iman Shumpert. For their limitations, they are essentially the same guys as LMA and Danny.
Shump is a good defender with a limited offensive game that comes and goes. Sound familiar? Love is not as athletic as LMA, but is a much better rebounder, and has a bit more range.
That deal was not enough, apparently.
Why trade Danny Green? Well the initial reports indicated the Spurs wanted to trade Danny’s $10 million contract to clear room for a run at Chris Paul. After Pau’s deal-restructuring (in essence, he declined his option officially) an essential next-step is clearing enough space for CP3 to think it is worth his while from the bank-account side.
Before the draft, LMA was rumored to be headed to the Suns for the 4th pick. He really considered Phoenix before deciding on San Antonio in 2015, and this was his chance to make that happen. Portland was also discussed (hahahaha) but there was no report on the possible asset group coming this way.
What It All Means
Just because there was no deal available before the draft does not mean there will not be something coming up soon. The Spurs even kicked the tires on Porzingis (smartly) even though that seems very unlikely. The Bulls were fleeced by the Wolves and so there is no telling who is a possible get for RC Buford. Twitter even mentioned a possible Paul George deal that could have been completed.
As it was, the Spurs picked up two guys — Derrick White and Jaron Blossomgame — who address needs. If Patty and Jonathan leave for greener ($$$) pastures, White and Blossomgame certainly fit the profile for replacements. White is yet another attempt to fill both the PG-of-the-future and backup-PG spots. The Spurs had to let go of Cory Joseph when making room for LMA, and dealt George Hill for the rights to Kawhi Leonard. Since, they have tried Ray McCallum, Ryan Arcidiacono, Nico Laprovitolla, and — yes — Dejounte Murray.
Supplementing Tony Parker (at the very least) has been an ongoing project that has yet to be fulfilled. Balancing that project with the need to field competitive teams to strike during Kawhi’s prime go together. Chris Paul would be ideal if it did not require dismantling the roster. George Hill would be an easy fit if he were not so injury-prone and a solid pick up at best.
The rest? Well there is no combination outside of adding the King himself that will put the org in title-favorite status.
Let us continue wait-and-see.