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NBA Trade Update – Spurs Get Jefferson, Bucks Shed Weight

6-23-09

The Skywalker has landed in San Antonio, and now the Spurs betting faithful have reason to believe that they can return back to form. Richard Jefferson, formerly of both the New Jersey Nets and Milwaukee Bucks, has been acquired by the Spurs in exchange for Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas and Fabricio Oberto. The Spurs now add a solid ironman to their injury-riddled roster, as Jefferson has missed zero games in the past two seasons.

The big acquisition from Milwaukee in this trade are the contracts of the three former Spurs. Come the summer of 2010 (yes, the summer everyone keeps yapping about), the Bucks will shed a cool $15 million from their salary cap. They may even get to save money by setting Oberto and Bowen free via release, which is also part of the NBA rumor mill. Not that it matters; neither of those guys hold much value in the open market.

The move is not surprising for Milwaukee which continues to lose its best players as Michael Redd nears a return to rehab after dismantling his knee last season. Jefferson scored 19.6 points per game last season, accompanied by 2.4 assists and 4.6 rebounds. More importantly, he shot a solid .397 percent from beyond the arc, and .439 percent from the field. Needless to say, he will be inserted in to the starting lineup to give the Spurs a fresh look this coming basketball betting season.

What does this mean for the Spurs? Simple – they’re not dead yet. I’ve written extensively on how the West is crumbling, and how the sudden and surprising rise of the Denver Nuggets who finished 54-28 SU and 45-36-1 ATS after grabbing Chauncey Billups. Aside from Portland, every other team in the West had massive question marks.

The big riddle for the Spurs is how they were going to insulate an aging Tim Duncan, who’s accumuloddated far too many miles on his knees, while also reducing the demand on Manu Ginobli. Like they did for Cleveland last year, the Bucks provided the Spurs an answer. Jefferson is a scorer by nature, and has averaged as high as 22 points per game when he was part of the razzle dazzle in New Jersey with Vince Carter.

Manu’s entire body has been breaking down at an alarming rate, and Tim Duncan’s knees are slowing him down. Both of these traumatic and terrifying catastrophe’s are happening in the midst of Tony Parker’s rise to elite status, as the French point man took on the brunt of scoring responsibilities last year. Manu has been at his best coming of the bench, and Jefferson’s presence will allow him to do just that, while reducing Manu’s risk of injury.

For Timmy Duncan, the message is loud and clear. The oddsmakers have pegged the Spurs at +1500 to win the NBA Championship in 2010. Those are far cry s for perhaps one of three teams that can contest the Lakers (Portland and Denver being the other two). Acquiring Jefferson has sent a loud message to an aging Duncan: “We are going to do whatever it takes to get you a fifth championship…Kobe Bryant be damned”.

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