Let's just fast forward to the fourth quarter.
Aside from Tim Duncan recording his 3, 000th assist, all you need to know is the 76ers went on a 23-4 run in the fourth to beat the Spurs. Final score 106-94.
We were joined by two special guests last night as we recorded our first non-live podcast in a couple of weeks. With the trade deadline officially over, we discussed the trade/lack of trades with Tim Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell.
Tim gave us his thoughts on the trade, his outlook on the second half of the season and even looked into his crystal ball to tell us how the Spurs would fare in the second half.
We were also honored to have longtime Spurs Spanish play-by-play announcer Paul Castro join us and give us his view on the trade deadline from his perspective, since he is closer to the team and players. We also asked him what the rodeo road trip was like for him and he talked about the ins and outs of being a play-by -play announcer.
Thanks to Tim and Paul for taking the time out of their busy schedules to dedicate a few minutes to speaking with us.
Now that you have our trade recap, what were your thoughts? Feel free to give us your take in the comments.
The second round has been good to the San Antonio Spurs. In 1999 the Spurs drafted an unknown Argentinian with the 57th pick in the second round. You could say the rest is history.
It seems that a decade later the Spurs have done it again. Taken with the 37th pick of the 2009 draft, DeJuan Blair came to San Antonio with no ACLs and high expectations, and so far the 20-year-old Pittsburgh native has not disappointed.
In his first pre-season game, Blair finished with 16 points and a ridiculous 19 boards against the Houston Rockets. Granted, it was only preseason, but in his first professional game, and probably with butterflies in his stomach, Blair showed his God given ability for rebounding. And as we Spurs fans know, it takes defense and rebounding to win championships.
Blair kicked off his first professional season with a bang, and his first ever double-double, scoring 14 points on 7 of 10 from the field. My math could be a little off, but I'm pretty sure that's 70 percent from the field. He also finished with 11 rebounds. Not bad for a forward listed at 6'-7".
The Spurs have played 51 games so far this season, and Blair has played in every one. He's also started in 20 games this season averaging 8 points and 7.9 rebounds in those twenty games, which extremly consistent considering his season averages are 7.5 points and and 6.4 boards. One could argue that he is more productive as a starter then as a bench player.
But when it comes to Blair, production is not a question. He is ranked first in offensive rebounds per 48 minutes with 6.3 and eleventh in the league in defensive rebounds per 48 minutes with 10.7. Overall, Blair's 16.9 rebounds per 48 minutes is good for fifth best in the league. For an undersized forward who apparently has no knees, Blair collects rebounds like Meryl Streep collects Oscar nominations.
However, Blair has had his share of rookie woes. On February 6 against the Clippers, Blair shot 28 percent from the field, going two for seven from the floor. In a January loss to the Bulls, he went four for 13 shooting a dismal 30 percent in 30 minutes of play. But for every lackluster performance, Blair usually rebounds with a great game, literally. After only scoring two points in his start against the Lakers, Blair had 28 points, 21 rebounds and two blocked shots against the playoff hopeful Thunder. Not to mention he does committ silly fouls which gets him into early foul trouble but that's expected from a rookie.
Blair wasn't the only big man to come out of the Big East with high expectations. Hasheem Thabeet, who was named co-Big East Player of the Year along with Blair, was taken with the second overall pick in the 2009 draft, but looking at his stats, it seems Thabeet should have been taken in the second round. The 7"-3' Thabeet this season is averaging 2.6 points and and 3 rebounds a game. I think it's safe to say that the Spurs ended up with the better of the two bigs.
Blair came into his first NBA season coming off an All-American year at Pitt where he, along with Tyler Hansborough, were up for the AP College Player of the Year award. In his last season at Pitt, Blair averaged 15.7 points and 12.3 rebounds while shooting an outstanding 59 percent from the field, similar to the stats of another undersized forward who took the NBA by storm.
At Auburn University, the 6"-6' Charles Barkley averaged 14.8 points and 9.6 rebounds a game. Surprisingly similar to the collegiate stats of Blair, and like Blair, Barkely was drafted by a veteran team with future hall of famers including Julius Erving and Moses Malone. Barkley averaged 14 points and 8 rebounds his rookie season. A little better then Blair's averages but not by much. With Barkley under the guidance of Malone, he was able to keep his weight down and learn how to deal with the intense physical and mental pressures that come with a long NBA season.
I know it sounds crazy to compare a young rookie to a hall of famer, but both entered the NBA in very similar situations after coming off a successful college career. If Blair can continue to work hard and learn from our own soon to be hall of famers in Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich, then there is no limit to what Blair is capable of doing. He's had his struggles but at only 20-years-old, he has shown he can play with the big boys. Even in this year's 2010 All-Star Rookie-Sophomore game he proved his worth and many felt he was robbed of the MVP trophy.
Ten years ago the Spurs drafted Manu in the second round, and helped lead the Spurs to three NBA titles. Hopefully, Blair can help lead the Spurs to another.
While a center seems to have been on the Spurs' wishlist all this week leading up to the trade deadline, it appears that the Spurs have decided to send away a center instead.
According to Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski, the Spurs are sending veteran journeyman center Theo Ratliff to Charlotte.
The Bobcats have been busy today working on a deal for Tyrus Thomas and a rumored deal that would send D.J. Augustin packing.
I can't see Ratliff sticking in Charlotte and the Spurs likely wanted to dump his $1.3 million contract. Through 26 games, Ratliff averaged 1.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and nearly one block in 8.7 minutes per game. We here at Project Spurs have wondered why Ratliff never saw an increase in minutes, when he seemed to be a shot blocking beast when he was given significant playing time.
Be sure to stay with us here as we'll update you with more details as they come in and all of the latest news. Be sure to also stay up to date with all of the trade rumors at Project Spurs Trade Central.
Update: The Spurs will not be taking a player back and instead were given a future conditional pick. Ratliff was making the league minimum $1.3 million, which lessens the Spurs’ luxury-tax bill.
Join Michael, Jeff and sever other bloggers from around the league for a live chat leading up to the trade deadline. We'll discuss all the latest rumors and confirmed trades. Thanks to Graham from Celtics 17 for hosting.
On the eve before trade deadline day, Michael De Leon and Jeff Garcia break down and list all of the latest Spurs trade rumors.
We also took your calls, got Celtics and Cavs fans' reactions on trades and recapped the Spurs-Pacers game.
MP3 version coming tonight
Updated 12:11 p.m. CST
With the NBA's trade deadline coming up today and with so many trade rumors swirling around, this will be our trade headquarters we'll update you with the links to the latest trade rumor posts on Project Spurs and around the web. We'll have a button up on our sidebar for easy access once another post pushes this below the fold.
• Spurs still trying to trade Mason
According to Adrian Wojnarowski's twitter page, the Spurs are still trying to move Mason, but nothing seems to be in the works.
Spurs still trying to trade Roger Mason but nothing imminent, source says. As for Richard Jefferson, forget it. They tried. No shot.
• Spurs lose out on Thomas
It looks like the Spurs' talks with the Bulls about Tyrus Thomas are officially over as it appears the Bulls will be sending Thomas to the Charlotte Bobcats for Flip Murray, Acie Law and a future first round pick.
• Spurs considered making bid for Stoudemire
Amare Stoudemire was mentioned in a trade rumor several weeks ago, and his name is being brought up again.
From Yahoo Sports:
Everyone keeps waiting for a sleeper to steal Amare Stoudemire in the last hours prior to the trade deadline. How about the San Antonio Spurs? After all, they had privately considered making a bid for Stoudemire.
Still, while the Spurs and Suns did have a cursory conversation in this process, discussions never got going because San Antonio is unwilling to move two of its best young players, guard George Hill and forward DeJuan Blair.
• Sixers inquired about Mason
Fox Sports reports that the Philadelphia 76ers contacted the Spurs about Roger Mason, but Mason will unlikely be packing his bags for the City of Brotherly Love anytime soon.
According to one source, the Sixers have inquired about San Antonio Spurs guard Roger Mason, as well as Golden State Warriors swingman Anthony Morrow. Neither player was available for the Sixers. In one case, the team wasn't willing to part with the player. In the other, the Sixers couldn't offer enough in return.
• Spurs had shot at Salmons
The Spurs and Bulls had been in discussions yesterday about a deal that would send Roger Mason and Matt Bonner to Chicago for Bulls' swingman John Salmons. It appears the Bulls instead took a trade offer from the Bucks that should be completed later today, reportedly for Kurt Thomas and Francisco Elson. Hakim Warrick and Joe Alexander have also been mentioned.
• Grizzlies interested in Mason
Adrian Wojnarowski said sources informed him that the Grizzlies were interested in Mason's services. While the Grizzlies have the cap space to absorb Mason's contract, there aren't many players in Mason's salary range on the Grizzlies roster that the Spurs could realistically get. Perhaps a combination of Sam Young and/or Darrell Arthur would pique the Spurs interest, but the latest is that talks between both parties have stopped.
• Mason to Heat falls through
ESPN's Marc Stein reported that trade talks about sending Roger Mason to Miami for a second round pick have ceased.
• Pop says "don't expect a trade"
Before tonight's game against the Pacers, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich spoke to the media. When questions came up about trade rumors, Pop confirmed that the Spurs had been in contact with several teams.
“We've talked to teams, teams have talked to us,” Popovich, who doubles as the Spurs' president, said before Thursday's 90-87 victory at Indiana. “That goes on all year long. It just intensifies come trade deadline. As we all know, very few things happen at the trade deadline, and I wouldn't expect anything to happen for us, either.”
According to an article from SI.com, the Spurs are aggressively shopping Richard Jefferson and his $15 million contract, but they may be hard-pressed to find any takers.
Jefferson was touted as the missing piece for the Spurs to bring them back to the NBA Finals when he was acquired via trade from the Milwaukee Bucks this past summer. However, it has not worked out and has drawn the ire from fans and has even ran out the patience of the Spurs themselves. Not to mention he is having his lowest production since he was a rookie averaging 12.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
• Spurs looking to trade McDyess? Maybe not
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported that the Spurs were looking to swap McDyess for the Bull's Tyrus Thomas. McDyess' three-year deal never made any sense to me and according to this article, perhaps the Spurs front office realized it was a mistake as well. This is definitely one deal I would complete without hesitation, but according to a report in the San Antonio Express-News, a league source told the paper McDyess had not been mentioned by the Spurs in any trade talks.
• Mason eyes New York as possible trade destination
Howard Beck of the New York times on twitter said he had been informed that New York was a preferred destination of Mason if he does get traded. So far there have been no rumblings of interest from the Knicks.
Roger Mason seems to be the one player getting the most interest, likely due to his play last season and the fact that he has an expiring contract. Yahoo Sports originally reported that Mason demanded a trade, but his agent, Mark Bartelstein, told the Express-News it is simply a matter of trying to see if he can get more minutes elsewhere. The latest is that the Spurs are expected to contact the Heat about Mason with hopes of acquiring either Udonis Haslem or Dorell Wright.
In my opinion, trading Mason is a mistake, and with all of the struggles Jefferson has been going through, I though Mason should have been inserted into the lineup a month ago. We've seen that he can be productive with the starting five, and Jefferson might benefit from being the first or second option with the second unit instead of being fourth option in the starting lineup.
According to Chris Sheridan of ESPN, prior to being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs had a deal to send John Salmons to the Spurs in exchange for Roger Mason and Matt Bonner.
The Bulls had been in discussions with the Spurs on a deal that would have sent Salmons to San Antonio for Roger Mason and Matt Bonner, but those talks died.
Salmons was told yesterday to stay at the team hotel, which signaled a trade in the works.
Salmons was never seen as a legitimate starter until he made a name for himself in last season's playoffs. He defended Paul Pierce well and he showed that he could be a threat on the offensive end, averaging 18.1 points per game in the thrilling opening round series against the Celtics.
Salmons, once drafted by the Spurs, would have provided some perimeter defense and offense to the Spurs, but in the end, the Spurs were still not addressing a glaring need -- a legit big man.
Stay with Project Spurs as the trade deadline nears at 3 P.M. EST today ands be sure to come back at noon CST for a trade deadline live chat. To stay up to date with all of the latest trade rumors, be sure to check out Project Spurs Trade Central.
Michael De Leon contributed to this post.
The latest in the Roger Mason sweepstakes is that the Grizzlies are interested in his services, according to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Around the NBA, some team officials are privately wondering: After listening to San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich disparage them over Pau Gasol’s trade to the Los Angeles Lakers, would the Memphis Grizzlies be hesitant on making a deal with the Spurs?
After all, veteran shooter Roger Mason is available in San Antonio and Memphis needs some scoring off its bench. Yes, sources say, the Grizzlies do have an interest with Mason and have the cap space to absorb much of his $3.7 million salary. But a league source says Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace still needs the OK from owner Michael Heisley to take on the contract.
While there are players on the Grizzlies roster that make around the same that Mason makes like Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol, Memphis would be crazy to give either up in return for Mason. Although, Chris Wallace is the GM.
Journeyman center Steven Hunter might be a more realistic trade acquisition, especially because he has an expiring contract. But for Mason, I'd want at least Darrell Arthur or Sam Young, but Memphis would have to give up a lot or take on a lot more salary to make that happen.
Be sure to visit the Project Spurs Trade Central for all the latest trade rumors.