Welcome to our second official Asinine Trade Thread! (H/T Sactown Royalty). With the sad news about Splitter, I though we could use the distraction. In case you are not familiar with ATTs, everything here is made up and the points don't matter. Feel free to post your trade ideas that will never happen in the comments section. I will mostly focus on big men, with a special emphasis on centers.
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With Splitter down, the Spurs still have six bigs. Tim Duncan, Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner, Aron Baynes, Jeff Ayres and Malcolm Thomas are all certainly NBA-caliber players and could fill in well for the Brazilian as he recovers from the shoulder sprain that will keep him out 3-5 weeks. But with the Spurs seemingly having a set rotation already and some players that are not normally part of it, could this be the time to make a move to shore up the inside defense?
To keep is at least moderately realistic, let's use bigs that have at least been rumored to be available or are not playing much for their teams.
Under different circumstances
The Spurs don't have the big contracts needed to make a deal for Gasol. They would have to include Diaw, Bonner, Belinelli and Green to make the contracts match. The only other way to get Pau would be to include one of the Big Three (nope) or Tiago himself. The Lakers are looking to make a splash in free agency, so adding salary is out of the question. So there really is no way the Spurs could get Pau unless they make a huge, huge roster shake up. I love Gasol's play but at this point in his career, he is not worth it.
The Spurs could match salaries more easily here but it's doubtful the Rockets would want a package of say, Bonner, Ayres and Joseph. Even if the Spurs throw in Green, the Rockets would probably not be interested. They have shooters galore and guard depth, so there's really no reason for them to make a trade that could make a division rival better. And while Asik will only count against the cap for $8 million next season, he will get paid $15 million. I don't see any way it happens.
The "maybe, but they don't really replace Splitter" guys
The Celtics are likely looking to shed the next two years of Bass' contract and matching salaries is easy. Bonner and a young player could be enough, as long as the Cs don't get greedy. There is really no reason for them to keep Bass the way their season is going and getting a guy like Baynes or Joseph while simultaneously taking a step to get below the tax line might be enticing.
I do believe Bass is an upgrade over what the Spurs have on their bench but I worry about fit. Bass is not a bad defender but he is far from the rim protector Splitter is. His pick and pop jumper alone makes him an interesting option on offense but it's hard to envision him thriving in the Spurs defense. At least Diaw can guard some small forwards.
I'm not sure a guy like Big Baby is someone Pop would feel comfortable with but just like Bass, Davis fits offensively and is an upgrade over what the Spurs have. His team would also probably have no problem trading him if he brings back a young player and/or a pick, both of which the Spurs have. The former Celtic is deceptively quick and an underrated defender but doesn't seem like the type of player the Spurs need in Tiago's absence.
Both Bass and Davis replicate a lot of what Diaw does while still having another year left on contracts that would pay them over $6 million. In a vacuum, both seem like upgrades over the Spurs' non-French back-up bigs. But they don't replace Splitter's defensive production, are a bit superfluous, skill-set wise, and could cost more than they're worth.
Something similar happens with Spencer Hawes. I'm not a fan of his but even I have to admit that his combination of outside shooting and rebounding is beyond intriguing. The problem is Hawes is strictly a center -- and a slow footed one at that -- who doesn't excel on defense. That makes him a weird fit next to everyone on the Spurs' roster but Tiago Splitter, the guy he would be ostensibly replacing.
For the Sixers, what can the Spurs offer that might be appealing? They don't need cap relief. They don't need players that can contribute now. They don't need middling young talent. They don't really need a low pick, although they'd surely take one. The Spurs might need to throw in a lot of assets to get the Sixers to bite and I'm not sure Hawes is worth that.
The "are they better than what we have?" moves
These two guys are not in their coaches' good graces, mostly because they are not that good. But they are the type of role playing bigs that the Spurs seem to have always struggled finding: athletic defenders and rebounders. It really shouldn't take much to get either, which should be a sign that the Spurs maybe shouldn't even try.
They are very similar players to Ayres and Baynes, so it might not make a lot of sense targeting them. But if the guys currently on the roster are not getting it done, this is the type of low cost move that could give the Spurs a suitable plug-in replacement for Splitter that would not hurt their future flexibility or this year's potential ceiling.
Crazy J's super fun time small-ball scenario
This one comes courtesy of SpursFanSteve, who suggested to me on Twitter that the Spurs should trade Green for Singler (after getting mad at me all off season long for coming up with Green trades!). But I wouldn't stop at Singler, no. By targeting a couple of Pistons' forwards, the Spurs could simply weather the storm by playing small more often. Singler and Datome are 6-8, can hit the three and defend a bit. Their rebounding is suspect but Kawhi would take care of that. Both are on good value contracts so it does seem like Green would have to be involved, which complicates things. But I'm assuming one of them could be had.
If the Spurs manage to get one of those two plus Jonas Jerebko, that would give them a much more versatile roster. Say the Spurs trade Bonner and Green for Singler and Jonas. They would have enough forwards to be able to rest Kawhi and match up with teams that have wing length. But more importantly, they'd finally be able to field my dream lineup of five players between 6-6 and 6-10 that can shoot and switch on defense. Only through Nellie-ball can true enlightenment be achieved, after all. So get it done R.C.!
It's your turn. Is there a trade out the the Spurs could make that could help them handle Splitter's injury better? Should they stay the course? Use this thread to wow us with your Trade Machine prowess.