Hold off on burying the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs' pending trade with money-saving Milwaukee for
In exchange for
With this move, the Spurs have addressed their need for more athleticism and playmaking on the wing.
"This is a great trade for San Antonio," a Western Conference scout said. "[Jefferson] gives them another reliable scorer. He thrives in open-court settings, and with Parker and [backup point guard]
Equally important for the Spurs is that they did not have to break apart their core to make the deal, which was awaiting league approval late Tuesday. Bowen was a key contributor to three title teams, but his playing time declined sharply last season as he played a reserve role for the first time in his eight-year tenure in San Antonio. Oberto and Thomas were valuable role players who protected Duncan by defending the top frontcourt players early in games, but neither was considered indispensable. The Spurs also were able to keep young prospects Hill and power forward
The trade, however, leaves the Spurs thin in the frontcourt and pushes them over the luxury-tax threshold, a rarity for them. (Jefferson is owed $14.2 million next season and $15 million in 2010-11, while the three players going to Milwaukee have one year left on their deals.) San Antonio has three second-round picks (Nos. 37, 51 and 53) in Thursday's draft. The Spurs also have their mid-level exception available in a free-agent market that includes big men
Even with a few roster moves still to be determined, the Jefferson trade has catapulted the Spurs back into competition with the Lakers for next season's Western Conference title.