Right before the NBA free agency negotiating period began, Richard Jefferson threw a wrench into the game by surprisingly opting out of his contract with the San Antonio Spurs. Jefferson would have made $15 million next season, but after a disappointing campaign (12.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg), word is he wants to be back in the New York area, either with the Knicks or Nets. (Although conflicting reports say the Spurs might just re-sign him for less money.)
But if in fact the Spurs did get some wiggle room salary-wise, can they become players in the free-agent bonanza? Yes. Actually, they could walk away with one of the most coveted players in the League. Here’s the trade that can get it done:
* SPURS get: Chris Bosh, Reggie Evans, Marco Belinelli
* RAPTORS get: Tony Parker, Antonio McDyess, DeJuan Blair
In a sign-and-trade scenario, the money works out. Now why would the Spurs make this trade?
Bosh and Tim Duncan can be the next set of Twin Towers, as Duncan (who is nearing the end of the line) can play the mentor role David Robinson played for him years ago. With Bosh taking some of the load off TD’s shoulders, he can prolong Duncan’s career a couple more years, after which Bosh would takeover as The Man when Duncan retires and passes him the torch. Plus Bosh can play in his native Texas, one of his desired destinations.
It’s no secret the Spurs are really high on George Hill at point guard, and with Parker’s contract expiring in 2011, he’s been mentioned in trade rumors already. Evans is another body to bang in the paint for San Antonio, and Belinelli provides outside shooting should he get decent minutes.
Why would the Raptors make this trade?
For starters, Parker is better than whoever you think is Toronto’s best player is right now (since Bosh is almost 100% leaving). He’s an immediate upgrade over defensively-challenged PG Jose Calderon, and with his expiring deal the Raptors can either keep Parker and use Calderon as trade bait, trade Parker before the deadline to bring in some young talent to rebuild their team, or let his salary come off the books next summer to use in free agency.
McDyess and Blair address one of Toronto’s biggest needs; toughness on the front line. Lottery pick Ed Davis is the future at power forward, along with re-signed free agent Amir Johnson, but Blair and McDyess will push them.
Also, if you’re the Raptors and you have to lose Bosh, wouldn’t you rather have Parker, McDyess and Blair instead of Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony, the pieces being mentioned in a rumored sign-and-trade proposal from Miami? I know I would.
Would you do this deal?