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Old 11-28-11, 07:03 PM
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More RJ anyone?

Why the Spurs shouldn’t use the amnesty clause on Richard Jefferson
by Timothy Varner

Read more: Why the Spurs won't use amnesty clause on Richard Jefferson


There are at least three arguments in favor of the Spurs severing ties with Richard Jefferson.

The first is money. The Spurs need more of it, and using the amnesty clause on Richard Jefferson is one way to create a little bit of room for themselves beneath the tax line. Unfortunately for the Spurs, that little bit really isn’t much. Depending on what happens with Antonio McDyess, the Spurs sans Jefferson will be over the cap and within a few million of the tax line. Breathing room, yes, but still uncomfortably tight.

My suspicion is the Spurs will accept that they’re tax payers this season and accept whatever that means in terms of tax.

The second reason the Spurs could use the amnesty clause on Richard Jefferson is Kawhi Leonard. As in, the Spurs traded away George Hill to draft an A-list small forward. It’s not the sort of move RC Buford makes unless the Spurs plan to use Leonard immediately. George Hill is too steep a price for bench fodder.

The final reason the Spurs could use the amnesty on Richard Jefferson is roster space. Assuming they have a reasonable amount of confidence in Kawhi Leonard and—don’t forget—James Anderson to absorb Jefferson’s minutes, the Spurs could opt to create roster space by losing RJ.

Let me explain.

The Spurs’ training camp should include James Anderson, DeJuan Blair, Matt Bonner, Da’Sean Butler, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Richard Jefferson, Cory Joseph, Kawhi Leonard, Antonio McDyess, Gary Neal, Tony Parker, and Tiago Splitter. Fourteen players in total. If Antonio McDyess retires, a minimum thirteen players are already locks for Spurs camp.

But notice that roster. The closest thing the Spurs have to a reserve point guard is Gary Neal. And the San Antonio Spurs who were abused by the Grizzlies frontline last April, still look thin up front, at least when compared to their likely postseason match-ups. DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner are situational players, and it’s difficult, for purposes of spacing, to play Splitter with Blair or Duncan for long stretches.

This is all to say the Spurs’ roster is already at a minimum of thirteen players and they need to add at least one point guard and a rotation quality big. Some might argue the Spurs could use a defensive combo forward (in addition to rookie Kawhi Leonard) and I wouldn’t argue with them. But again, where do they find the roster space and with what money?

Looking at the current roster, the Spurs are most intriguing at small forward. Without Richard Jefferson, the Spurs boast the dangerously inexperienced but potential-laden foursome of Kawhi Leonard, James Anderson, Danny Green, and Da’Sean Butler. I wouldn’t want to go into the postseason with that group, but it does give the Spurs something to think about in terms of Richard Jefferson.

Jefferson, you’ll remember, was benched at the very end of San Antonio’s series with Memphis.

Why the Spurs will keep Richard Jefferson
But still, having said all that, there are a number of considerations that make Jefferson’s situation more favorable than we might assume. In other words, there are a number of reasons the smart money says the Spurs will not use the amnesty clause on Richard Jefferson.

First, there is the issue of the short season, and, even more importantly, the short training camp.

Teams which are system-smart and feature low turnover will have an advantage over teams learning new systems or are trying to incorporate several new players. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Spurs jump out on the Western Conference because of this. Apart from Kawhi Leonard, their entire rotation knows their system right now. (We also await the new schedule, which, because of the Rodeo Road Trip, could feature a home court heavy first half of the season for San Antonio.)

Richard Jefferson’s system-smarts are enough of a reason to favor him over newcomer Kawhi Leonard and relative newcomer James Anderson.

Second, the Spurs’ projected rotation will feature Tiago Splitter, DeJuan Blair, and Kawhi Leonard. None of these players can shoot. Richard Jefferson, no matter how underwhelming he’s performed in San Antonio, still hit .440 from range last season.

Third, as we saw above, the Spurs actually don’t have a strong financial incentive to use the amnesty clause on RJ. A better scenario is to find a trade partner for his services and, in return, fill a need at point guard or power forward.

Richard Jefferson’s trade value under the previous CBA was low, but the new CBA provides more trade flexibility and incentive, which might change the market on RJ. In terms of salary match, teams under the cap can now take back 150% plus 100,000 in contracts. And the new minimum payroll floor is higher under this CBA. Some teams that are beneath the cap will have to scramble to meet minimum salary requirements (the requirement is up from 75 to 85% of the cap). Teams like the Nets and Kings have work to do on this front.

Fourth, if the Spurs are set on using the amnesty clause on Richard Jefferson, it makes more sense to wait until Tim Duncan’s current contract expires. Tim Duncan’s 21 million dollar contract expires at the end of this season and Richard Jefferson is set to make 10 million next year. Antonio McDyess is still a question mark for this season, but his expiring contract is slated for 5.2 million this season.

Add it up and the Spurs could clear as much as 36 million from their cap in 8 short months. This could make the Spurs big players in next summer’s free agent market. Plus, it gives the team a year to groom Kawhi Leonard and James Anderson, better assessing what they have in each player and identifying where they fit in the team’s future.

Taken altogether, the Spurs are best served to either trade Richard Jefferson or wait until next summer to use the amnesty clause on his contract.
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Old 11-28-11, 07:13 PM
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This is good analysis.

Bottom line: just because a guy is overpaid, it doesn't mean it makes sense to use the amnesty clause to dump him.

A player under contract is worth three "possibilities" you could sign in his place.

As trade bait, I like RJ. Solid guy, good character, durable, shoots well, has some "flash" to please the home crowd. A lot of teams could do worse.

I just wish we had a full training camp to size up guys like Joseph and Leonard before hard decisions have to be made about guys like RJ. The compressed preseason really makes for potentially sub-optimal roster decisions.
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Old 11-28-11, 07:25 PM
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Bottom line they are looking ahead to 2012-2013 season. They will do what is best for that season. If RJ is gone, Duncan gone and others, they will have money freed up. Don't expect much this season. Having best record like last season not gonna happen. Was kind hoping this season wouldn't happen.
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Old 11-28-11, 07:43 PM
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I wouldn't go so far as that. They have veteran superstars and a stable of quality young talent that could well get them deep into the playoffs, if not a title, this year.

They are planning ahead for 2012-2013, sure, but not at all at the expense of this year. If they were, they wouldn't have been trying at all to get McDyess to come back.

This is just the last shot for Duncan, and they're taking that seriously, but not betting the farm on it.
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Old 11-28-11, 11:31 PM
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For whatever it's worth Danny Green is not a NBA SF! He is way too short. Plus how many airballs did he have against Memphis? I like Butler out of college BEFORE he ripped up his knee. First round grade no doubt. I like his feel for the court. I don't see him as a starter though anytime soon. People forget how good James Anderson was the first seven games of the year last year. I mean what a steal but then........he got hurt and was out of shape big time. RJ was smoken in the preseason last year and the start of the year but faded so fast. I would trade him and Bonner no doubt. Dice could be moved too. I doubt he would retire. Leonard is the wild card at SF. To me he plays more like a power forward but the talent is there. I will miss George Hill but he regressed in the playoffs and was looking for a big pay day. I think the Spurs moving him for a almost lottery pick was a good move. It's a gamble but Hill was no future Mitch Richmond or anything. Kawhi has tons of upside. I liked the trade.
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Old 11-29-11, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Fanatico View Post
.......The Spurs’ training camp should include James Anderson, DeJuan Blair, Matt Bonner, Da’Sean Butler, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Richard Jefferson, Cory Joseph, Kawhi Leonard, Antonio McDyess, Gary Neal, Tony Parker, and Tiago Splitter. Fourteen players in total. If Antonio McDyess retires, a minimum thirteen players are already locks for Spurs camp.
I look at this squad and I have to cringe. I think any addition to the Spurs lineup has to be in the form of either another productive big man or possibly another point guard. If Duncan has to sit, there’s no consistency coming from the likes of Bonner, Splitter, McDyess(?), Blair at the bigs. At point guard, Joseph will have to become a quick study and hit the ground running like George Hill had to do when Parker went down. The only other guard types who can fill in would be Neal or possibly, Ginobili (in a pinch). The Spurs need to make a trade or get lucky in free agency if they hope to make a dent in the playoffs.
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Old 11-29-11, 11:29 AM
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I would envision Ginobili coming off the bench again this year and basically running the 2nd team offense so that all Joseph has to do is play defense and hit 3's. If he has to run the show for the 2nd unit he will have a steep learning curve because he wasn't even the full-time PG for Texas last year as a freshman.

That would make the best use of our depth, allowing us to have either D'Sean Butler or Anderson start, both of whom are good shooters and would complement TP well.
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Old 11-29-11, 01:21 PM
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Manu will be a starter for at least ten to twenty games. Then Pop may do some changes, but I don´t see that happening from the get go. After all, Manu as a starter meant best record in the West. Problem was the playoffs and the injuries.
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Old 11-29-11, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzly_bexar View Post
I would envision Ginobili coming off the bench again this year and basically running the 2nd team offense so that all Joseph has to do is play defense and hit 3's. If he has to run the show for the 2nd unit he will have a steep learning curve because he wasn't even the full-time PG for Texas last year as a freshman.

That would make the best use of our depth, allowing us to have either D'Sean Butler or Anderson start, both of whom are good shooters and would complement TP well.
agreed. Pop needs to forget the idiotic "play ur 5 best players" mentality. that only works when we have a really good bench with an Horry and Barry coming off of it who can play multiple positions naturally. it didn't work with Hill/Bonner/Blair because Hill is a 2 who's being forced to play the 1 (Roger Mason anyone?) and the other 2 together were a cluster of a mess. in every championship, we had balance. in 2005 Manu started the majority of the series but we needed balance (i.e. his energy off the bench) vs. the Nuggets. starting then benching Manu only works if we have a team like we used to, where guys are comfortable switching positions. if Manu is benched early and we run our usual Spurs set offense with 5 balanced starters, it can only create consistency (like we had last year before Pop decided to switch everything up).

by the looks of it, Leonard and Anderson compliment Parker well (they both don't need to dominate the ball or have plays drawn up for them because they can spot up shoot like RJ). Splitter also fits in well with Parker because he can set picks for Parker to drive (unlike Blair who sets picks for Parker to drive along for a pass to him which Parker isn't really used to). those 2 can play good man defense and Duncan/Splitter's good help D will only help their defensive confidence. before anyone says "______ isn't a SF", remember RJ is a SF who play decent defense. the problem we had was help defense (the guys either play back because they don't trust Blair/Bonner's help D and give a wide open 3 or they think one of those 2 will be back there and they get burned to the basket playing close). we don't need height, just overall good man and team defense together.

the positive of that lineup (Parker/Anderson/Leonard/Duncan/Splitter) not only benefits Parker's strengths but the bench would then be Ginobili/RJ/Neal who will be looking to run and spread the floor (Neal can play the 1 on D, the 2 on O) which suits RJ best especially if Bonner makes 3's (hopeless but still praying on it) and Blair setting picks for numerous guys and then moving with his energy (that's where he fits best if his energy is his greatest attribute). Bonner/Blair off the bench is 10000000000000000x's (times one billion) better with RJ/Manu than with Hill/Neal because our offense wouldn't be stagnant which also helps our defense (the flow of the game being faster). double teams for Blair/Bonner and quicker help defense would be easier to give them than with last year's playoff bench.
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Old 11-29-11, 06:48 PM
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i think i know whats going to happen here. some of you wont like it.

it will be small ball.

it may not be the starting lineup, but this will likely be hte most consistint (bigest minutes) lineup:
ummm.... think back, remember when Jokerson would play PF??? yup. its baaaaaaack


Tony Parker
Manu Ginobili
Kawhi Leonard
Richard Jokerson
Timothy Duncan

of course for reasons to keep TD as PF, maybe the starting lineup will include Splitter or Blair as C in for Leonard.. but basically leonard will get subbed in w/in minutes and that will be how we play.

run n gun

hopefully gary neal will only be more improved and continue to tear it up , more consistently this year?...
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Old 11-29-11, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spursfan9 View Post
i think i know whats going to happen here. some of you wont like it.

it will be small ball.

it may not be the starting lineup, but this will likely be hte most consistint (bigest minutes) lineup:
ummm.... think back, remember when Jokerson would play PF??? yup. its baaaaaaack


Tony Parker
Manu Ginobili
Kawhi Leonard
Richard Jokerson
Timothy Duncan

of course for reasons to keep TD as PF, maybe the starting lineup will include Splitter or Blair as C in for Leonard.. but basically leonard will get subbed in w/in minutes and that will be how we play.

run n gun

hopefully gary neal will only be more improved and continue to tear it up , more consistently this year?...
well we ran small ball last year effectively with Blair (keep in mind he's not a Power Forward, he's just a small SG in height who isn't athletic). what is going to be interesting is we can still run if Parker takes up that mentality of being a balanced passing/scoring point over normally being a scoring point. put Anderson/Leonard in the starting lineup with Blair and we can run with Parker/Duncan because that's what Blair helps this team do. we cannot run with Duncan and Splitter unless Duncan picks up a jump shot.

IF Bonner can make 3's, then you can run with Ginobili/Jefferson/Splitter/Neal/Bonner off the bench. if Duncan gets that jump shot, then he can also play along with Splitter (and you can run with Splitter starting but only if Duncan takes up the jump shooting mindset). in theory, we have a BUNCH of options to succeed with this team, it's just that Pop has to change his mindset on the game. last year we weren't a dead horrible defensive team. this is a fact:

when you run and gun, you're not a great defensive team. you're trying to outscore them and not "locking them down", you just want them to throw up a shot so you can get a rebound then throw up a shot yourself. the thing people at times forget with late wins we had last year is we played enough defense to win games and we won't know if we would've been actual title contenders keeping that pace. we had different defensive schemes. when Bonner was in there off the bench, we didn't play man like with the starting lineup, we ran a blitz double team because Hill's long arms, Manu's long arms, and Jefferson's height/arms played a zone after the double to try to pick off passes which helped us run too

i don't mind running and gunning, i think our Big 3 can do that effectively like last year and that's honestly RJ's strength. he can't be Bowen so we need to play in a system he can succeed in and our guys can do that. small ball isn't too bad depending on the opponent either, it has to start with Coach Pop realizing what team we have and what works first and with that realizing that the Spurs system of old is irrelevant now.
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Old 12-04-11, 03:30 PM
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Please explain:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose_TheGenius View Post
put Anderson/Leonard in the starting lineup with Blair and we can run with Parker/Duncan because that's what Blair helps this team do. we cannot run with Duncan and Splitter unless Duncan picks up a jump shot.
Why can the Spurs run with Blair but not with Splitter? Neither has a jump shot and Splitter seemed just at fast to me as Blair did. Why does Blair help the team run but not Splitter?
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