You can get caught up in all kinds of hooplah, and hubris when you micro manage your way through an entire season as we serious fans tend to do.
Is the loss to the kings indicative of a gaping maw where our defense should reside?
Is Kevin Martin really that good or are we just that bad?
The three point shot? Can we hit it? Is this a trend or an aberration?
Its a weekly rollercoaster built upon the failures of certain players, the inadequacies of the team as a whole, and the strengths of our opponent, as much as it is upon our success.
Some call for heads to roll, others preach a steady hand. Some have monster trades in mind, foul beasts that stalk their nightmares feasting on the insecurities of poor pick and roll defence, bringing in the projects of other lesser GM's in the vain hope they turn into David Robinson mark 2.
With each progressive game we tend to shift our perspective a little more from column A to column B or vice versa.
Yet to me, this manic, condensed season, for all its hectic activity is but a bump upon the highway of love.
Personnel wise, the Spurs look locked in for 2012. The safe bet is that the ground will not shake this year in terms of trades and player movement. Barring a slew of injuries, and the blackest of regressions from our Big 3, from here on in we just have to play the games.
For my money, 2012 is all about youth and development. Not just because that’s the fastest way for us to improve our defence, and to best advance our cause in the playoffs. It’s also the best way for us to secure cap space, and bring in another quality big next season.
Kawhi Leonard is the tip of the spear in this regard. When or if Leonard gets it (it quiet possibly being a corner three pointer), and improves to the point that he can be trusted to start at SF next to Manu, RJ and his 9 Million bananas a season, becomes if not redundant, then a very, very, expensive low minute wing.
If we end up hitting RJ with the amnesty stick, our cap hold next year with Timmy off the books as well, falls from around $75 million to $40 million, even after exercising team options on DJB & James Anderson.
Timmy is the big card here. I’m going to go out on a limb here and state that first he doesn’t retire, and secondly he stays a spur. I know…In other news the sky is blue and frogs don’t bounce but I digress.
As a free agent, he is no longer Mr.22 Million. The way his minutes are so carefully managed he is probably not even MR.12 Million dollar man. He can hold the franchise up to a very bright light if he gets antsy about the numbers, and it’s hard to argue that he shouldn’t get paid. He deserves everything. He has been everything.
I get the feeling though that we really expect Timmy to take less. He has always been the ultimate servant to the game and the ball club. He defers when necessary, he coaches and mentors the rookies, he is staunch and supportive of the staff, he has Nerdy Tats, the guy is the epitome of a classy athlete.
For us as fans, he has always made the popular decision , and been the security blanket when games were tight. I believe there exists an unconscious expectation that he will literally give himself a lowball facial. Walk up to the Front office and say here I am at 4 Mill, come get me. The jury is out on the numbers. I know I wouldn’t leave 5 mill on the table for the sake of the spurs Noble enterprise. Will Timmy?
Timmys salary is hugely important as we enter the twilight Zone that defines a franchise that’s rebuilding but not really rebuilding. If he wants to contend the most assured way is to set the bar low money wise and let the Front office do the hard yards to bring in a better quality rotation. If he doesn't it makes life harder.
This whole cap space thing, opens up some really interesting scenarios. Not just with free agency. It also allows us should we be a member of the under the Cap club, to take part in any festive waiver wire bidding.
Theres a couple of bigs out there, miscast as franchise saviors and given unruly contracts, that I think may well be amnestied, and will be perfectly hip as 20 to 28 minute a game monsters at the low end of the payroll. Okafor and Haywood are two names that jump out at me immediately as Spurs friendly pickups.
In dallas Cuban is on a tear to have everyone on a 1 year contract this season, and have a crack at the big names in 2012. As a result, Haywoods almost a given to get the flick, he is playing a solid 24 mins a game on the Mavs but his job sharing with our beloved yet wayward son Ian Mahinmi (who still never saw a foul he wouldn’t commit to),and his contract is going to be around 9 Million a year for the next 3. He is a dead man walking in Dallas.
Okafor again is giving solid production as a defensive big, and would be a wonderful fit (ask Tiago how he felt on that dunk attempt), but New Orleans is not a contender, and are they really looking to suck down two more years and $27 million for no good reason. If the league didn’t own the team he’d probably have got the bums rush already this sesason.
Where does all this lead to? I’m not sure. Things will move at an exponential rate once this season is done. There has been a somewhat artificial suppression of player movement with the accelerated pre season following the lockout, and there will be some real activity prior to kickoff next season.
There are opportunities developing that would allow the spurs front office to cash in on the careful management of contract extensions and D league signings, and continue the purposeful youth movement we have born witness to the past few seasons. There are some exciting prospects on the team right now. There are superb vets. There are Matt Bonners. It is a cup full of potential.
What do we do with Danny Green? How much are we willing to pay for a Manu protégé when we already have a Manu? Ditto Dejaun. Is he part of the future? At what cost? Can James Anderson find his feet again? Will Matt Bonner finally publish the photos of Pop & that Danish hostess that keep him swimming in playing time year after year? There are some sensational storylines developing, with some big chips to fall one way or the other.