You know, I was thinking the other day that maybe the Spurs COULD hire some random web site writer to be their GM just like Bill Simmons has been lobbying. Of course, if they did their research, they would immediately rule out Simmons for being a dumb ass based on his "We'll give you Foye, our No. 6 pick and Brian Cardinal's 2010 expiring contract for Parker."
Let's see, the Wolves turned Foye and Miller into a #5 pick and some expiring contracts. You mean for Parker we could have gotten the #6, Foye, and Brian Cardinal? Awesome.
Follow me in, the Spurs just hired me, ATS, as their GM and I'm building a championship team. Let's start some internet rumors together. It will be fun and feel dirty, and you can't ask any more from life than that.
ATS, you high, nobody would hire you.
That's true. I'm pretty much unemployable in any field, but definitely in the NBA genius realm. Never stopped me from having an opinion though. Or saying said opinion out loud. Several separate discussions and news items have set off a firestorm of roster building ideas in this wee noggin of mine. It hurts, it's distracting, and I feel the need to share.
First and foremost of the items that brought me to my current A.D.D. state, the Spurs front office declared loudly last week with the Jefferson trade that they are willing to go into luxury tax range to win NOW. Other things that got me going were posts by Jaceman and Rikiddo, and an email exchange with Timothy Varner from 48MoH. Not everything I have is original. But, hey, there are great covers tunes out there. Like this one of Bob Dylan's 'Maggie's Farm' and this one of Bruce Springsteen's 'The Ghost of Tom Joad' by Rage Against The Machine (an awesome live version but the volume is too low, so if you like volume, listen to this one). 'The Ghost of Tom Joad' started to have a lot of meaning for me when I learned a couple years ago that my mom left home in 1955 at the age of 15 and worked as a migrant worker through the Southwest and West coast. It gives you a little extra something when you think about somebody sleeping under an underpass and that somebody may be your mom.
Let's not just win this year, let's win every year.
I don't want to mortgage the future for 1or 2 years of contenders. I want to build a team that will win a couple more titles for TIm AND be in a good position to compete 4 or 5 years down the road. I'm not a dreamer though. I don't expect the Mavs to trade us Dirk for expiring contracts, George Hill, and the rights to Tiago Splitter because they need to start over and Dirk needs to win a championship because he is such a great guy. I may not be able to get trades and signings done, but I think they are reasonable things to expect.
What is the budget?
This is the real wildcard for what I can do in my new role as GM. Right now (based on numbers from ShamSports), the Spurs are at $72 million for this year and appear willing to give Rasheed Wallace the MLE which would push us up to $77.5 million. I'm going to give myself another $5 million to play with (the Spurs still have to fill out there roster with vets and rookies at about $1 million a player) and cap us out at $82.5 million. You know why I can do this? Because I'm giving them HUGE savings in the front office where they hired me for $20 and canned RC.
What do we need?
A dominant front court. Our back court, as Rikiddo points out, is in good shape. It is certainly one of the top backcourts in the league. Tony and Manu are all-star caliber players. Roger, George, and FinDog provide a variety of great qualities off the bench. Shooting, defense, clutchness, athleticism, age, and veteran savvy. Richard Jefferson looks like a hell of a fourth wheel to me at the small forward. We are set there for the next two years.
My goal, as GM, is to get us a dominant front court without moving Tim, obviously, or any of Manu, Tony, and Richard either.
What about Manu after this year?
Yes, he could be considered a tradeable asset. Not by me though. I consider him a Spur. As the new GM of the Spurs, I plan on resigning him next season on a 3-year deal at $7 million/year. I'd sign him this offseason Right Here, Right Now (watch out, it's a Jesus Jones reference) to a 3-year extension. However, I wouldn't do it until all the other roster moves have been finalized. I could write an entire article justifying this value for Manu. Let's just say this is what I think he will be worth for the next three years. If he won't resign for this value, then I am going to let him play out his contract and see what the market bears for next year. I will NOT trade him. He's an extraordinary competitor and there is no WAY I am trying to get something else for him. I'm hoping I can resign him and I want to maintain the trust and camaraderie on the team and in the organization. Plus, my good friend Bellasa would shiv me, curb stomp me, throw me into the SA river, and set me on fire if I traded him. Not only would it be justified, I would deserve no less.
Ok, ok. Enough with this crap. Build us a contender. What are YOU going to DO?
Goody, goody. We are into the nitty gritty.
First, I'm signing Rasheed Wallace. Period. I want him for the mid-level exception for three years. That's probably one more year than he's got in him, but if that's what it takes to get him. I'm doing it. I would possibly be willing to pay more for him on a 2-year deal, say $7 milllion/year. I'll explain how shortly, but I don't think I will have to go there. Because before I sign him, I want to prove to him that he's coming to a winner.
You're a winner ATS? How so?
Because I'm a crafty mofo, that's how so.
Well, before I sign Rasheed, I'm getting myself another quality big man. What, that can't be you say? I say it can be. Here's how. I'm going after one of the young big men on the free agent market, and I'm doing a sign-and-trade.
I have some assets I can trade. Bonner has an expiring contract and is a semi-decent situational player. Roger Mason has an expiring contract, is a good shooter, and is clutch. FinDog has an expiring contract and can be bought out. Marcus Williams has an un-guaranteed contract and can be cut, OR, crazy as it seems, is maybe a good value at $800K. We also have Ian and the rights to Tiago. Oh, and a first round picks in 2010 and in 2012 (I have 2011, but I can't trade it with 2010 or 2012).
Yes, the sign-and-trade.
I, if I can make the right deal, can go out and get a $8 million/year big man with a sign-and-trade. Consider the following contracts:
- Matt Bonner - $3.26 million
- Roger Mason - $3.78 million
- Michael Finley - $2.5 million
- Marcus Williams - $0.83 million
Since the I'm over the cap, in order to pull off a trade, the salaries involved have to be within 25%. For instance, in order to trade for a player making $10 million, I have to give up $8 million in salaries. To trade for $7 million, the Spurs have to give up $5.6 million. Read that again, $5.6 million. Ok, read it again, $5.6 million. Do you know that Bonner plus Finley equals $5.7 million? If I throw Marcus Williams into the deal, I go to $6.53 million which means I could trade for a salary of (6.53 * 1.25) $8.125 million. So, I can add an $8.125 million free agent in a sign-and-trade by increasing our salary by $1.63 million.
Oh, ATS, I'm all excited. Tell me more.
At the top of my list is Anderson Varejao because of a combination of skill, youth, and availability. He's not my favorite, as I'll explain later, but he's who I think I have the best chance of getting. Nobody out there is going pay him $8.125 million. I can. Now, I have to convince Cleveland to accomodate the deal. You can convince a team to accomodate a sign-in-trade by making it worth their while. How can I make it worth Cleveland's while?
Well, I have to give them something. Expiring contracts aren't as enticing in a sign-and-trade (because they weren't going to have Varejao's contract anyway. If they wanted that much money on the books they'd sign Varejao themselves) so I have to give them something they want, not something they can get rid of. In Cleveland's case, I think Bonner is actually a decent fit and they might like him. He's somebody that can spread the floor for LeBron and Shaq. That's not enough though for them. If I kick in next year's #1 pick though, that might be enough value. Remember, they aren't getting anything for Varejao anyway if they let him walk. So, let's say I can agree to terms with big AV for a 5-year deal at $7 million per year (which is more than just about anybody can offer him and I'd go up to $8 million/year), I can give them Bonner, Finley, and a first round pick. They buy out FinDog for about $1.2. They have a rather reasonably priced 4th or 5th big, and a first round pick. Is it enough? I don't know. I could throw in the rights to Tiago, Ian, Marcus, or other parts. You know, I'm thinking, Roger Mason would be a really good fit for them. A clutch shooter, keeps Gibson on the bench, hmmm, what about Bonner and Mason for Varejao? No, ok, I still might throw that #1 pick in there. The upshot is, the Cavs have to get something they want. I think I can make it happen.
Just to give you something solid. I'm saying Bonner, Mason, Marcus Williams, and the #1 pick.
But what if you can't get Cleveland to do the deal?
Well, there are other teams with young big men I can target with a deal that have the same parameters. Marvin Williams comes to mind. I'd sign him to a 5-year deal at $8 million/year. I think Atlanta might take a first round pick, Matt Bonner, Roger Mason, and FinDog -- as a buyout -- for him. It just depends on whether they want to invest long-term in him given they have Pachulia and Childess to sign, and Horford who's really a 4.
Why Marvin ATS? Why?
Marvin, or somebody like him, as an athletic 4 is who I actually prefer. Why, because if I am signing Rasheed I want somebody who can play better on the perimeter defensively. Tim's days of being a real 4 are over. With Rasheed, Anderson, and Tim I would have three post defenders. None of whom are good perimeter defenders. I want a Marvin Williams-type to guard the Dirks and Amares. In addition, I still want to bring Tiago over next year. Now, I would have four true centers.
Ok, Atlanta doesn't bite. You didn't get Marvin, ATS. Well?
I go after Paul Millsap. Especially if I think I can get him at about the full MLE. If I can get him with the MLE, then I'd be willing to do a sign-and-trade with the Pistons for Rasheed if I can pay Rasheed a little more to convince him to come to San Antonio. Maybe I get Sheed at $6.5 million for 2 years.
If I can't get Millsap, then I will explore obtaining a young power forward who is not a free agent from a team looking to salary dump. If that fails, I go to signing a veteran guy like Marion or Gooden on a 2-year deal in the 3-4 million range. What I WILL NOT do is go out on a limb to gt an older guy. If he wants to play for a chance at a ring for two years on the cheap, I'll take him.
Ok ATS, we have Rasheed and Marvin, where does that leave us for 2010?
Let's assume I gave up Bonner, Mason, Marcus, and a #1 for Marvin. I'd be willing to throw Tiago or DeJuan in to this deal to make it work. I'd have to be bowled over with Marvin to put George in it. Our 2010 roster is:
- Tony Parker
- Richard Jefferson
- Rasheed Wallace
- Marvin Williams
- George Hill
- Michael Finley
- Ian Mahinmi
James Gist (at 800K)
DeJuan Blair(at 800K)
Jack McClinton (if he can make the team at 800K)
Bruce Bowen (or other small forward) at the vet min
I like my chances with that line up. For about $81.3 million, with two roster spots open. I'll take it. I don't have to sign all of those young guys, but I do have the option. That last roster spot, if I traded Mason, will have to go to a third point guard or ball handler. Maybe Marcus Williams, if as the 48MoH guys, he is really a point-forward.
Sounds good ATS, but what about our future?
Assuming Manu at 7 per, Marvin at 8 per, and Sheed on a 3-year deal for the MLE, this is what we have for 2011:
Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Jefferson, Wallace, Williams, Hill, Mahinmi(assuming I exercise his option for 2011 at $1.6, which isn't a gimme), Gist, Blair, McClinton for $73.9 million. If I still have the rights to Tiago, I'm trying to bring him over on a 3-year $3-million-per deal. And, I still have the rights to SpurNando.
After 2011, Tony's and Richard's contracts are up. Tim and Sheed are in their last year. I have Manu with two years left on his deal. I have a bunch of young guys I'm very high on in Blair, Gist, Ian, George, and Tiago. The only player I have with a long-term commitment of big money is a 25-year old Marvin Williams.
ATS, you still high.
Yeah, but that's what I would be trying to do if I reigned over the kingdom. This is my team. Six studs and a bunch of potential. Has a little bit nicer ring to it, doesn't it?