The Spurs are broken.
Of course, not everyone is going to agree with that statement, but I've run out of patience. Hope is still there, but my expectations are gone. At a certain point, I've got to read the writing on the wall. This team, as currently assembled, just isn't working. Instead of getting better as time goes on, they've actually started getting worse, especially on the defensive end. The regression has become unacceptable, and something has to be done.
A couple of weeks ago, we had the first trade speculation thread, with plenty of good ideas springing forth in the comments. It was fun, but it wasn't meant to be serious. Today, I'm going to outline a scenario that was a lot of fun working out on the ESPN Trade Machine. Except that this time, there's a sense of urgency.
We'll start this by pointing out the Spurs' areas of need. Keep in mind that these are my opinions, and lots of folks may disagree. But, here goes:
1) Perimeter stopper - Bogans was an unexpected novelty when he first cracked the starting lineup, but teams are gameplanning for him now, and even though he's pretty physical, he doesn't play nasty defense like Bruce would. He doesn't get in the opponents' heads, and we need someone that can do that. Someone that would get called "dirty" on a regular basis - I miss that.
2) A good post player - Blair and Duncan are too similar in their areas of strength to be as effective when they're both on the floor together. Therefore, we could really use a reliable option in the high post that can do more than just sink jumpers. But, Duncan is still pretty effective in the high post, so a true center would definitely be a good option as well.
3) Another SF - Richard Jefferson is not performing the way we'd all like him too, but even worse is the fact that he's the only true SF on this team. This means that "smallball" becomes "tinyball", and when Jefferson is in foul trouble or hurt, the team doesn't have any good options.
A Hypothetical Trade
First of all, I've gotten extremely tired of defending Jefferson. I didn't write about moving him in the previous trade thread because I didn't think it could be done, but now I'm not so sure. He's definitely a good player, but he needs to play with the right type of teammates, and those aren't the guys he's currently playing with. Still, unless the Spurs can find a trade partner with the right type of teammates for RJ, they're stuck with him. The "right type" of teammates will most importantly include a point guard with great court vision to take advantage of his explosive abilities in the open court. Which is why I came up with this:
I'd also throw in a pick and Splitter's rights to get this done, if neccesary.
Why it works for the Spurs
Remember that list of needs up above? Every single one of them is addressed with this trade. Posey could be the perimeter stopper who isn't afraid of getting dirty(see the Spurs' last game against NO for an example). West is one of the most effective high post players in the entire league on offense, and is even a capable defender when he needs to be. And Wright is a very solid SF who could do a great job of backing up Posey. Best of all, there would be NO reason to play smallball - ever.
Why it works for New Orleans
If you'll remember from the previous trade thread, the Hornets haven't exactly been shy about their desire to avoid the luxury tax. They're currently about $1 million above the tax line, and this trade would reduce their payroll by about $2M. Lots of savings for them, but a salary dump alone isn't enough to make them give up one of the cornerstones of their recent teams. RJ's stats would likely surge playing with the most complete PG in the league, and he would actually help them out quite a bit. Having Okafor and gaining a talented prospect like Mahinmi means that their frontcourt wouldn't suffer too much.
Instead of being happy with that first trade, I decided to go a step further. What if we opened up the trade to Oklahoma City, and gave them Mahinmi, a guy Sam Presti lobbied for when he was an assistant GM with the Spurs? Well, that was the start of a rather exquisite trade scenario. Check it out:
It's important to point out that involving a third team in the trade complicates things, and makes it less likely to happen. However, just get a look at that beautiful, beautiful trade. And yes, I know Sefolosha is listed as a SG, but he's the perfect size to play SF, with a terrific wingspan to boot, and I think he's one of the best perimeter defenders in the league already at only 25 years old.
Why it might work for OKC
The emergence of Harden, coupled with Durant's continuing development, has really cut into the time Thabo spends on the floor. Even though they signed him to an extension earlier this year, I think Presti might move Sefolosha for the right price. And Mahinmi definitely seems to have a higher ceiling than White, but his real advantage to the Thunder is his size - Ian is taller than White, and has a great knack for blocking shots. He'd be a perfect fit for them, if he gets enough playing time to control his fouling.
However, I question whether New Orleans would still go for the trade in this case - maybe Splitter's rights and a pick could seal the deal.
I was going to do a few more hypothetical scenarios(and might still post those later), but I wanted to open this up to all the good folks who read PtR instead. Fire up that trade machine, and show us what you come up with. If nothing else, it'll make for good fun. Also, feel free to rip apart my proposals and priorities for the team.