Breaking just minutes ago, the San Antonio Spurs have agreed to send Bruce Bowen, Fabricio Oberto and Kurt Thomas to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Richard Jefferson. That’s all fine and dandy for the Spurs, who basically get exactly what they’ve needed and didn’t get last year from Michael Finley. And it’s clearly a money move for the floundering Bucks. I’ll have my thoughts on what this means for Portland in a few minutes.
The Blazers Perspective: Jefferson was due to earn $14.2 million next year, while the Spurs combo would’ve made $11.3 million combined in 2009/10, the final year of their contracts. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the money they’re saving will help them to keep one or both of Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions, and those players free-agent standings were probably the primary reason for the Bucks getting rid of Jefferson, who they almost dumped at the trade deadline this in February.
It was often and repeatedly reported that Portland was in talks to acquire Jefferson at the deadline for some sort of Outlaw/Sergio combo, so if that was a backup plan for the Blazers (and at this point I doubt it was) then it’s no longer in play. But now you have to also reduce the chances of Portland making a Paul Allen offer to Sessions that the Bucks wouldn’t be able to match. It’s still possible, yes, but it’s clear the Bucks aren’t going to let their guys go so easily. At the very least it might cost a bigger, longer deal to pry Sessions away. And league-wide, having one talented point-guard removed from the market is going to heighten the bidding war on the remaining points available, such as Jason Kidd or Andre Miller and maybe even create more competition for Kirk Hinrich.
UPDATE: Just saw that Bowen has a non-guaranteed contract, so the Bucks could cut him and all his $4 million as soon as they want, giving them a total of $7 million or so in savings to help sign Sessions and Villanueva.
And all the Tony Park trade talk that was going on out there in the Portland interwebs was silly to begin with, but it can officially die now. The Spurs are gearing up for another run, and the Blazers road to the Western Finals (preliminary goal for next year) just got much tougher (bet you won’t read that anywhere else, genius analysis over).
Sidenote: This is a fine example of consolidating talent when you have the financial advantage, something we’re all projecting KP to do this summer.