The NBA trade deadline is Thursday, and the rumors are in full effect.
The Spurs currently sit atop the Western Conference, but the rumors are rampant with the Spurs trading for a big man.
Josh Smith and Al Jefferson are the two rumored targets, even though there has been no real talk from the Spurs about even shopping around. C
hances are the Spurs will run with the roster they have, since it has served them well this season, and hope for the best.
The Spurs are the deepest team in the NBA, with Tony Parker and Tim Duncan playing at an all-star level.
Last season, the Spurs lost in the Western Conference Finals and feel this team is improved enough to get over the hump. Tiago Splitter has emerged as a solid starter, Kawhi Leonard is much improved, and the Spurs (so far) have stayed healthy. Looks great for the Spurs, but I feel they should take a risk, and make a trade.
Like it or not, the NBA is a star-driven league. The Miami Heat are the favorites to win it all, and it's because they have the best player in the league, along with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. And if that's not enough star power, the Heat also added Ray Allen, just in case.
Now the Spurs do have two all stars, as mentioned above, but another near all-star would really put this team over the top. Adding Al Jefferson or Josh Smith gives the Spurs the best frontcourt in the NBA, and probably adds a few years to Tim Duncan's career. A trio of Parker, Duncan, and Jefferson/Smith would be able to withstand the onslaught of the Durant/Westbrook and the Heat's super friends. The Spurs certainly have the depth to trade for a big piece, with plenty to spare. Giving up an emerging Tiago Splitter, along with 1 or two more pieces should be enough to land a top player.
The question is, do the Spurs need to gamble? Perhaps the deep bench of the Spurs is enough to compliment Parker and Duncan, along with the best coach in all of sports. What if a trade disrupts the locker room and the chemistry that this team has, and the Spurs just aren't the same without as much depth? Also, most new players don't get acclimated with Coach Pop's system until year two. Would a trade even help the Spurs in 2013? Plenty of people are in the "if it aint broke don't fix it" boat, and I really do see their point.
Bottom line is this -- it has been six years since the Spurs last won an NBA title. This team and the franchise have been able to stay towards the top of the league, but they need a boost to get back to the Promised Land. Trading some of that amazing depth is the only way to do so, since top free agents aren't rushing to live in San Antonio, no matter how good the Tex Mex food is. Pulling the trigger now might not guarantee an NBA title this season, but it wouldn't hurt, and going into next season with three legitimate stars would certainly increase their odds in the 2013-2014 season.
John Dyer is a sports blogger for KSAT.com. He also owns a sports website, Texas Sports Junkie.