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San Antonio Spurs trade for Richard Jefferson

ESPN is reporting the following trade. Richard Jefferson for Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas, and Fabricio Oberto.

Holy cow. Well, that sure changes things.

Salary Implications

The Spurs, interestingly, took on a fair amount of salary in this trade. For 09-10, they went from $11.6 million to $14.2 million. Possibly, one of the reasons this happened today is because we are still in fiscal year '09 where the numbers were 13.2 to 11.8. Not sure if that was a factor or not in making the salaries work.

I suspect the Bucks will buy out both Bowen and Oberto to free up another $3.9 million on their books. The math there is that Bowen at $4 million and Oberto at $3.8 million are guaranteed half. The buyout money, all $3.9 million, would count against the Bucks salary cap for next year, but it still would give them extra room for resigning some of their players. I don't think they could buy them out now and have it count against their '09 numbers. That would be interesting, wouldn't it?

Enough about the Bucks, what about the Spurs? I think we are in an interesting position. Jefferson, needless to say, is a huge uprade over Michael Finley/Bruce Bowen on the wing. (For these purposes, I'm counting Manu as our two-guard). Jefferson shot 39.7% from 3-pt last year which is first and foremost what a wing player needs to provide to the Spurs offensively. He provides somebody that can run with Tony and Manu (and George). He HAS to be better off the dribble than Bruce and Michael. He is most assuredly a better defender than FinDog, and likely almost as good as Bruce at this stage of Bruce's career.

Probably my favorite aspect of this trade is that the Spurs brought in a guy who I believe can do more than just shoot. He's not a Ray Allen or Rashard Lewis who, to be effective, have to have plays run for them. He's also not a clear out his side of the court and let him work guy like say, um, Vince Carter or Allen Iverson. I think he is a guy who can produce by fitting into what the Spurs do. Not the other way around.

Roster Implications

Up front, we need some help. Right now, our front line looks like Tim, Matt, Ian. Phew!!! That's the good news. The bad news is that the Jefferson trade should put us OVER the luxury tax threshold for next season. My preliminary calculations have us at $69.5 million without Finley picking up his option and with only 8 roster spots filled.

Yet another thing to like about this trade is that we didn't give up any draft picks. Not any of our #2's this year. Not a future #1. Not the rights to any of our previous picks. I likey.

We have more moves in the works, or we are playing small ball. Really small.

Here is our current roster:

PG: Tony(12.6), George(1.1)

SG: Manu(10.7), Roger(3.8)

SF: Jefferson(14.2), Williams(.8)

PF: Bonner(3.0), Mahinmi(.9)

C: Duncan(22.2)

The Outlook

Yeah, 69.3 and Williams isn't even guaranteed. I know this sounds crazy, but the Spurs may be going OVER the luxury tax in an attempt to win a title in the next two years. Might as well bring in Rasheed at the MLE.

This almost certainly will energize the Spurs fan base and stimulate ticket sales. Sometimes it pays not to be boring. Right now, we aren't boring.

I'm going to have to buy Pop a bottle of wine while I'm in Vegas.