The dust has finally settled in the NBA after the frenzy that is the NBA trade deadline. That day, and the week leading up to it, has come to be the time of the year when top teams are vying for that final piece of the puzzle, and weaker squads are trying to decide whether to try to improve by adding a player to their roster, of if they should have a fire sale and build for the future by stacking draft picks. The rumor mill churns non-stop, and everyone is hustling to make the execution of their plans a little bit easier.
Last year at the deadline, the Spurs traded their underwhelming small forward, Richard Jefferson (along with a first round pick), to Golden State to bring back fan favorite, Stephen Jackson. This proved to be a successful deal as Jackson played a key part in San Antonio’s run to the Western Conference Finals in the playoffs. Jackson gave a certain toughness to a team that was more about out-smarting the opponent than being more physical. He also provided some nice spot up shooting, and when the spotlight was on, he did what he had always don best for the Spurs: Make love to pressure.
This year, coming into the week of the deadline, there wasn’t much of a story for the Spurs. There was the third straight year of letting DeJuan Blair go out and lay one game to show off his assets for a potential second rounder, but nothing more than that.
That changed quickly when word surfaced from ESPN’s Marc Stein that the Spurs were among the teams pushing hard for J.J. Redick. Redick is a lights-out shooter, and one of the best in the league at coming off screen action, as well as very underrated defensively. Redick would fit the Spurs’ style of play extremely well, and in the right deal he could have bolstered the San Antonio backcourt to heights unknown.
Early on in the day, it was reported by Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the Spurs were not only pushing hard for Redick, but they were among the top options for the Orlando Magic to trade him to. This caused excitement among the fan community, and that excitement festered with every moment that ticked off the clock towards 3:00 PM, the official deadline for all deals.
Unfortunately for the Spurs, it was reported by Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick that San Antonio had fallen behind in the Redick sweepstakes, which was later confirmed by Wojnarowski. These reports proved to be accurate, as Redick was later sent to the Milwaukee Bucks in a deal for Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb, and Beno Udrih.
The only other rumor that was floated around involving the Spurs was that DeJuan Blair was again being shopped for a second roud pick. Although Blair has been on the block for a long time, and he has proven that he can be a decent role player in this league, Blair again went without being dealt for, leading to the thinking that he will eventually leave in free-agency at the end of the season.
Even though there were no deals made, Spurs fans should not be upset. The Redick deal was a long shot from the beginning, and although he would have been a nice upgrade, the Spurs’ wing players are above average for their position group. Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Jackson, and even Gary Neal have all proven their worth at some point. And, although some of their worth may be declining (looking at you Manu. LOOKING VERY HARD AT YOU GARY NEAL), they have proven that they are more than capable of shooting well for this team.
And as for Blair, he usually resides in Coach Pop’s doghouse, and as a result doesn’t get much playing time anyways. It’s hard tom imagine that anyone would have even given up a second round pick for a guy they could have just as easily picked up in free agency on a small contract in the next summer.
All in all, the Spurs are going to be ok. They had the best record in the NBA coming into the deadline, and even with no acquisitions, they still look to be a contender for the championship come playoff time.