Texas Trade off: Manu Ginobili in, Richard Jefferson out for San Antonio Spurs?
Does two months of stellar play warrant a three-year, $39 million extension?
The San Antonio Spurs think so, rewarding shooting guard Manu Ginobili, who over the last eight weeks has been arguably the NBA’s best player, with a lucrative contract.
It didn’t matter that before catching fire in mid-February Ginobili struggled with injury. It didn’t matter that $13 million per annum could be a hefty price tag for small market San Antonio, especially in the post recession NBA. It didn’t matter that Ginobili, like Spurs superstar Tim Duncan, is aging. And it didn’t matter that re-upping with Ginobili will make it difficult for the team to get younger and more athletic.
Ginobili, despite the risk, still got his money. And the Spurs could give him a new contract for one reason: they’ve already cut ties with Richard Jefferson, even though the disappointing swing has another year on his max’ contract.
Jefferson, who joined the Spurs last summer in a blockbuster trade, was supposed to be a difference maker. His athleticism, defence, and skill was supposed to vault the Spurs back up the Western Conference standings and give them the nucleus to compete with contenders like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers.
That plan has failed. Mightily.
Jefferson, from day one, has been an awkward fit. He hasn’t made an impact on either end of the floor. His confidence has suffered under the demands of Coach Gregg Popovich. And he looks nothing like the player who helped the New Jersey Nets make consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals.
So the team has simply moved on. They’ll keep Ginobili. And they’ll look to trade Jefferson this summer, who despite his poor play will have value because of his expiring contract.
For the Spurs, Ginobili is worth the money. Just expect his good fortune to come at Jefferson’s expense.
Does Manu’s extension spell the end for Jefferson in San Antonio? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts. Photo courtesy of The Brit2.