Bring in an athletic, defensive-minded power forward to the Spurs. Erase the national debt, end all wars, and create perfect harmony in Washington, D.C. Do these all seem about the same likelihood of happening these days? Why couldn't we just trade all our less-than-essential pieces for Josh Smith this off-season, right?
Our own dear editor, the great J.R. Wilco himself, foresees a move during this season. So, he asked me to keep my bony finger as close to the pulse of the league as I can get it and to report on any remotely and/or reasonably potential trade targets.
We Spurs fans are delighted to see our boys 12-3 and already making history this season. It's a harbinger of good things to come, but what if we could hasten those things along by shoring up any weakness that may exist? What if we could make a reasonable move to acquire a big man that would bring strong defense and athleticism to our front court rotation? For this cause, I write on.
In this third installment of TTT, we take a look at Charlotte's Bismack Biyombo. He is a 6'9, 245 lb. power forward who has legit defensive ability, solid rebounding skills, but a limited offensive game, having scored double digits only once this season. On the Bobcats, he's currently running second at center behind our dear former Maverick friend Brendan Haywood, with Desagana Diop sharing Biyombo's minutes. Power forward really isn't an option for him in Charlotte, because the young and improving Byron Mullens is starting, with Hakim Warrick and the heavily-invested-in Tyrus Thomas spelling him. So, despite his shot-blocking and all-around defensive prowess, the Bobcats might be open to dealing the big man from Zaire, West Africa.
(I throw one out there each week. You feel free to shred it in the comments.)
Spurs send Stephen Jackson, Matt Bonner, and Cory Joseph for Bismack Biyombo, Ben Gordon, and Jeffery Taylor. Ben Gordon is Old Charlotte, if there is such a thing. He is one of the holdovers from how things used to be: throw big money at less-than-deserving talent. GM Rich Cho, one of the minds behind the Thunder's rise to prominence, would likely love to unload Gordon's 12.4 million over the next two years, especially if it meant renting Captain Jack for the remainder of the season, then wiping his 10 million off the books. The Charlotte front office might see Biyombo as expendable, and they may be open enough to such a salary clearing move to include a young and cheap talent like Jeffery Taylor. Taylor is a 23 year old Sweden-born, Vanderbilt-trained 6'7, 225 lb. rookie swingman who is signed for the next three years for under 600K. He is on a scoring streak of double figures in the last five games, which includes contests against winning teams such as Milwaukee, Atlanta, and OKC. He has been given the chance to start at SG since Gerald Henderson has been out, but with Henderson's return slated for another week or so, the Bobcats will have decisions to make about playing time, with Ben Gordon and his offensive game also in the mix. SF is a possibility for Taylor, but Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is the future there. Why would the Spurs do it? They get the athletic, defensive presence they could use in the front court, while adding a 29 year old gunner in Gordon for the next couple of years and a delightfully inexpensive but high-potential swingman to run behind Kawhi Leonard.
Draft Express had this to say about Taylor coming out of Vanderbilt:
Most notably, Taylor has turned into an excellent jump shooter, knocking down an outstanding 43.2% of his 5.3 attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted while ranking as one of the best perimeter shooters amongst small forwards in our database. To put this feat in perspective, he was making 9.1% of 0.5 attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted just two years ago. His form has improved significantly, far quicker and more fluid than in the past. Furthermore, though he is primarily a spot-up shooter at this stage in his career, his form stays relatively consistent with or without a hand in his face.
While Taylor's offensive game remains a work in progress, he is still an outstanding defender who should be able to contribute immediately in the NBA on that end of the floor. While his reported 6'6 wingspan is unimpressive to say the least, he has excellent lateral quickness to stay in front of all but the quickest point guards and the strength to guard four positions at the collegiate level. Furthermore, and as we have written before, his fundamentals are superb across the board, giving him the chance to be a real presence on this end of the floor at the next level.
Though he will be 23 years old on draft night, Taylor is one of the few players in this draft who should be ready to contribute immediately. At 6'7 with a solid 226-pound frame, a respectable perimeter jump shot, and lockdown defensive potential; Taylor has solidified his standing as a first round draft pick this season who could rise up draft boards in June if he strings together a solid NCAA Tournament run and strong individual workouts.
As to whom the Spurs are giving up, they trade Jackson, who would undoubtedly be the biggest loss in this scenario, before he becomes a free agent (forcing them to make a decision about retaining him) while getting young and cheap at his position. They unload Bonner to a team that could actually use his regular season perimeter shooting, while adding a big who plays defense the Red Rocket can only dream about when he's wearing his David Robinson pajamas. And they also lose Cory Joseph, a young and cheap PG who likely doesn't have much future in San Antonio but could find a niche on a less-talented team.
A Moment of Weakness:
(I pretend that PATFO has suddenly lost its collective mind. You wish that you'd never had the thought cross your mind.)
Spurs send Stephen Jackson, DeJuan Blair, Tiago Splitter, Cory Joseph, Nando De Colo, Gary Neal, and Matt Bonner to Charlotte for Bismack Biyombo, Byron Mullins, Gerald Henderson, Hakim Warrick, Jeffery Taylor, and Ben Gordon. By now you've learned to excuse my ravings in this section, right?
Tune in next week for more shocking and thought-provoking madness.
Qualification: I am well aware that PATFO shall likely never make any transaction such as I mention above, but if they do, I am entitled to months of gloating and preening over my lucky guess. Thank you for your understanding.