By Gregory Moore
While the season hasn’t ended exactly the way Spurs nation may have wanted, that doesn’t mean the work at 1 AT&T Parkway is over.
Not by a long shot.
Let’s put the playoffs behind us and not think of what should have happened. What is done is done.
What is in front of the organization now is how does it keep the window of opportunity at winning a title within an arm’s reach while protecting the purse strings so that in 2010 they could go after a serious free agent.
For Spurs fans, this isn’t your task today. R.C., Pop and company are required to keep reality in its perspective; we are allowed to dream and play the “what if” game.
So let’s play that game for a minute.
We know what the problems are. We know where the strengths lie. But there is definitely something missing. And so to kind of help heal some of the wounds of what has happened over the last 48 hours, let us look into the future and become the general manager for a minute.
With that said, I pose this question to everyone: If there was one player who you thought could take this team over the top next season and set them up for 2010, who would you get?
Before you begin thinking about that choice, let’s keep some things in mind because reality does play a part in the game. Keep in mind that the team does have a salary cap and that right now you don’t know what that cap is for next year. Also keep in mind that you just can’t pick any player. Seriously look at what is needed both from a financial standpoint and from a team standpoint.
Your role is that you will play two people in your choice selection: the agent of the player and the general manager of the new team.
Not so easy now is it. Shouldn’t be.
With that said, let me give you who I think would be instrumental in helping the team next season. That player is: Ron Artest.
Okay I know what you’re thinking but I’m looking at what this team needs.
Can you imagine what Artest would do for this team talent wise?
Financially he isn’t going to be able to command $8 million ever again. Those days are gone. But to entice him with the chance to end his career with the possibility of a ring and maybe a $5 million a year contract? Yeah it’s doable.
If there is one thing that this organization is good at, it is good at being able to reign in trouble makers. Lest us not forget Glenn Robinson and Damon Stoudamire; two players that had been known to be miscreants in their playing days and yet when they were here they were model players and citizens.
Under Pop Artest would be the same way.
But why Artest?
It makes both basketball sense and financial sense.
From the financial side Artest’s contract is up July 1st.
That means that the Spurs and his agent can go about trying to negotiate a ‘fair market’ deal for a couple of years. This also means that the Spurs need to seriously look at who they want to bring back on their roster.
That means that some fan favorites may have to leave. Guys like Bruce Bowen.
Look I don’t want to see Bruce become a casualty but this is a business and if there is a way to bring Bruce back at a reduced cost in order to afford maybe having Artest at $6 mil a year for two years, I say go for it.
I’m looking at my wish list and that is what I see.
Forget a big man right now. What this team needs right now is someone who can be an effective score and Artest can definitely be that.
It is what killed this team this year when Manu went down.
It is what was missing even when Roger and Matt tried to step in and do a little damage.
More importantly, a guy like Artest gives this team a defensive mindset that scares the begeezers out of the competition.
So that’s my wish pick.