It’s not often you mix politics and sports, at least unless you’re looking to pick a fight. However, in some cases, some political theories can lend themselves well to sports hypotheticals.
There are a couple of different theories that you can use in sports. Many realists (Nixon Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former German Empire Architect Otto von Bismarck being the two most famous through out history) believe geo-politics is a zero sum game. There is only one winner and if you haven’t won, you’ve lost. Sports in its rawest form is a zero sum game. If you’re the runner up, you’re the first place loser. San Antonio Spurs fans, I think can relate to this. If the Spurs don’t win the title, the season is considered a failure.
Idealists (leaders like former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson), on the other hand, feel there can be something other than a zero sum game. They think political moves can be made for the benefit of multiple parties. General Managers are idealists. When they make a trade, there has to be something in it for all parties involved. With this system in mind, we’re now going to find some ideal fits via the trade route for your San Antonio Spurs.
In addition to finding a trade that’s beneficial for both parties, the other rule I’m going to invoke is we can’t trade Tony Parker or Richard Jefferson because frankly we’ve gone down that path before. We’re looking for pieces for the future or a piece that will lead to a piece for the future (like an expiring contract). The list has been narrowed down to three players who would be ideal fits for next season’s San Antonio Spurs.
3. Gilbert Arenas – Just kidding.
3. Larry Sanders and Shaun Livingston – We’re cheating a little bit, but I think both of these guys would be good fits.
Here’s how you do it:
Trade Gary Neal, Matt Bonner and either Danny Green or a pick or something that makes the numbers work. Why this works for Milwaukee: The Bucks trading for Beno Udrih and Stephen Jackson implies they’re in win now mode. Sanders is a very promising prospect, but will probably get lost in the shuffle of Milwaukee’s veteran front line. Livingston is now definitely the third point guard behind Brandon Jennings and Beno. Give them Neal and Bonner and you have some instant offense off the bench for a team that was woeful on offense. Both are great locker room guys and both have decent to good contracts. The Spurs get a back up point guard who can be a menace on defense and a big man that can come in, hit and outside shot and grab some rebounds. You also have his rookie contract for three more years, so you can really allow his raw talent to turn in to a productive NBA player. Maybe you ask Milwaukee for a first round pick to. Remember, we’re adding ideal fits for next season and/or future ideal fits.
2. Kirk Hinrich– Another way to plan for next season and beyond. Hinrich is the perfect back up point guard for the Spurs. He doesn’t need to play starter minutes anymore, but he’s an ideal back up at this stage in his career. He can play both on and off the ball and is still a gritty defender. Here’s possibly the best part of all, his $8.1 million comes off the books after this season, which will help the Spurs in what looks to be a loaded 2012 free agency field.
Here’s how you do it: You take Neal, Bonner and Antonio McDyess’ partially guaranteed contract for Hinrich and $700k of the Josh Childress trade exception. Why this works for Atlanta: Look, they have to find a way to clear some money off their books. If you waive McDyess, you clear over $5 million in cap space, giving you more money to resign Jamal Crawford and you get a couple of guys to strengthen your bench. You could also offer Tony Parker and DeJuan Blair for Josh Smith and Jeff Teague, but we said we weren’t going to talk about that.
1. Darrell Arthur – Yes! Something for you to get excited about Spurs fans. Here’s what we know about Darrell Arthur. He’s got what I call “The Bonner Buster”, this turnaround jumper from the baseline that is close to impossible to stop, especially for Matt Bonner. He also had a slew of athletic dunks and blocks against the Spurs in last April’s first round playoff series. I needed more info on Arthur so I asked Hardwood Paroxysm’s Matt Moore, who has watched all but like 3 of the Grizzlies game in the last two seasons. Moore told me that Arthur’s ability to nail the pick and pop jumper has been crucial to his development. He added that he has good awareness and touch and has started to attack the rim in an effort to pull down more defensive rebounds. In fact, if you look at his per 36 minutes numbers, Arthur averaged 16.3 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game last season. This guy would be the perfect big man to put along either Tim Duncan or Tiago Splitter. An athletic big who can cover the pick and roll and recover to defend his own man.
Here’s how you do it: Neal and Blair for Arthur. Why this works for Memphis: Make Neal and O.J. Mayo your back up guards and you have quite the potent duo. Memphis’ offense, especially their outside shooting, wasn’t great last season and Neal would bring a consistency to this team they didn’t really have last season. Blair would make the Grizzlies a little worse on defense, but would pretty much make them the best rebounding team in the league. Another item to consider. The Spurs traded George Hill in June in part because he was due for a contract extension this coming season and the Spurs weren’t sure how much they were willing to give him. Arthur (who taken one pick after Hill) is in the same situation in Memphis. If the Grizzlies do sign Marc Gasol to a big extension, how much money will they realistically have to resign Arthur? Instead, wouldn’t it make sense to have control of a couple of guys who make under $1 million a year each? This is absolutely a win-win for both franchises.
The thing about trades are you can’t go into them thinking it’s a zero sum game. There has to be some fairness to trading (unless you’re trading Pau Gasol to the Lakers). These aren’t home run moves we’ve talked about in the past for the Spurs, but all of these moves, especially picking up Arthur, would improve the Spurs immediately and set them up nicely for the future and really, you’re not giving up a ton.
What do you think Spurs fans? Who’s a guy you think would be perfect for the Spurs and who would you trade to get him? And remember, you have to give up something good to get something good back.