No matter how much you manage minutes and plan for back-to-back games, the grind of an 82 game schedule is bound to catch up to you. Except the injuries haven't occurred to who you normally expect. Duncan, Ginobili and Parker are relatively healthy, having played in 35 of the Spurs 38 games this season. (Quickly, knock on wood before anything happens to them.) It's the injuries to Green and Splitter that we should be fearful of.
Well, maybe not.
Even though the silver and black will be without Tiago Splitter or Danny Green for at least the next four weeks, there's no need to panic. Pop and R.C. have built their roster perfectly for this scenario. Not only can the Spurs rely on their "next man up" mentality, but they can do it without upsetting the rotation, while slightly showcasing their bench assets as possible trade bait.
Last year's playoff run for the Spurs displayed an array of talent outside of Duncan, Parker, and Ginboli. Kawhi Leonard, along with Splitter and Green, became go-to guys and household names at the end of last season. Teams saw, in great detail, what they were capable of.
Now, with two of their young starters out, the Spurs organization now has some minutes freed up to show off what else they can offer.
Jeff Ayers, Patty Mills, and Aron Baynes will all see a little more playing time come their way over the next few weeks, which could become a "trade asset showcase" of sorts.
The thought that any sane NBA front office would give up an impact player for the likes of Jeff Ayres or Aron Baynes is ridiculous and shouldn't leave the ESPN Trade Machine realm. But maybe within the next four weeks, Baynes or Ayres can impress the coaching staff and front office enough to feel comfortable with parting with the likes of Boris Diaw and/or Matt Bonner, who both have expiring contracts and would demand more value in return in any trade.
Or maybe the extended playing time for Baynes, Ayres and Mills will just continue to give us a preview of the not so distant future of the Spurs.
No way Boris is going any where. We need a roster spot open and a pick up like Hollis Thompson. Not that he is great, but can allow DG to be traded and not losing much D. The one thing DG does well that is hard to replace, is D against PG like CP3. We have no one who can slow him down, unless CJ proves he can make 3's consistently. We need some speed in the bench group, other than PM we everyone is slow or average.
@quixem Really don't like the idea of trading Diaw. His contributions to the team are pretty damn significant. Very underrated defender.
They don't need anyone. The Spurs are winning even with Green and Splitter hurt. When they come back, they will be even better.
I think Boris stays. He played excellent ball in the playoffs and Finals. The Moment wasn't too big for him. I don't see Pop giving up that kind of unflappable guy-and he ramped up defensively and on the boards. Even knocked down 3's. All the things Bonner should do as a stretch 4 and a 4/5 coming off the bench should do in the playoffs and Finals-Boris did. You don't ship that guy off.
Now sending off Bonner and his expiring contract with Danny Green and CoJo for perhaps a solid 3 or 3-4 and a draft pick? I'd like that. Get a solid vet who can hit the corner 3, play solid D, back up Kawhi and give the Spurs even more flexibility when they play small ball? That would be really nice.
Or, another 4/5 Pop could utilize in the playoffs would be nice. Barring injury, you know he'll roll with TD, Tiago and Boris. Even if Jeff and Aron played in every game the rest of the regular season, not sure Pop plays either of them much past the first round. I think that's another need-being truly 4 deep at the 4/5 so TD isn't worn down.
I like Ayres and I also like Baynes-both just need PT though and have to really stand out if Pop is going to use them in the playoffs. Both have predictably been good at times, average others, so so in other games. Pop showed 2 years ago he was losing his trust in Bonner deep in the playoffs and last year, no confidence. I think he's given up the hope regular season Bonner will ever show up in the playoffs. As such-his only real role now is 'give other 4/5's rest during long, boring regular season, guy.'
Those two needs-addressing either would be great. Danny is, in my opinion, a perfect piece to dangle. He can get hot. With Marco here, we don't need him any more. Danny failed to show up this season before injury anyway.
Selling points: Veteran leadership and great locker room guy and expiring contract (Bonner), younger vet with Finals experience who plays solid D and can get hot (Green), Young pg groomed by the Spurs (CoJo). I think you can get something solid and a pick for that.
I wanted to send Nando off but rumors from Hoops Hype are that he is the #1 choice for some team in Turkey and I can see Nando returning to play in Europe. If rumor is true, no team is going to want to trade for him if they think he's headed back overseas.
I just think this is the year the Spurs pull the trigger on a decent trade before the deadline, not that they DON'T try to make trades to improve each year, just seems more to offer this year. A lot of things seem to point toward that-both guys to offer and needs.