With an exploding clock set to go off in two weeks at the NBA trade deadline, the San Antonio Spurs are uncharacteristically looking to take on some salary.
San Antonio is making overtures to the Utah Jazz for low-post specialist Al Jefferson, according to SheridanHoops.com.
The Spurs could offer a package of center Tiago Splitter, Patrick Mills, Stephen Jackson, and the draft rights to European big man Erazem Lorbeck, the report also states. Teams have until Feb. 21 to complete trades.
The speculated deal could be a good fit for both teams, as they are swapping expiring contracts, with San Antonio getting back a skilled seven-footer that can help them make another championship push. The Spurs will have to pay Jefferson what's left on his $15 million salary this season, but that comes off the books at the year's conclusion.
Though the Spurs and head coach Gregg Popovich have won titles with defense, a quality Jefferson has lacked throughout his eight-year career, despite averaging almost a 1.5 blocks per game.
Utah has a bloated frontcourt with veterans Jefferson and Marvin Williams taking time from up-and-coming center Enes Kanter and power forward Derrick Favors. Forward Paul Milsap is another member of the Jazz that has been tied to trade rumors -- for his versatile skill set, as well as his $7.2 million expiring contract.
Moving Jefferson frees up minutes for Kanter and Favors, and adding Splitter makes up for the loss of Jefferson's size. Jackson is also on an expiring deal for just over $10 million, another plus for the Jazz, who also gain some youth, but not at the expense of their considerable cap room. Utah is on the hook for just $25 million in payroll next season.
Stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili make up the bulk of San Antonio’s cap, but each is at bargain-basement prices compared to the rest of the league. Ginobili is in the final year of his contract and makes $14 million this season, but he is not a part of the deal.
San Antonio also has sizeable cap space next season, with $41 million on the books. Earlier this season, the club was reportedly trying to move young forward DeJuan Blair for a draft pick or young asset, as they are not expected to re-sign him this summer.