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  1. #1
    5. timvp's Avatar
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    Although I haven't seen any official reports indicating the Spurs did not pick up the third year option of James Anderson's rookie contract, it's safe to assume that's indeed the case since the deadline to do so passed yesterday at midnight. As a result of the decision, Anderson will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

    The Spurs could have kept Anderson around for another season for approximately $1.57 million. By not doing so, the franchise dropped the first significant hint that this forthcoming offseason could be rather interesting. As Bruno pointed out in the Think Tank, due in large part to Tim Duncan's contract coming off the books, the Spurs could open up enough salary cap space to sign a free agent to a max contract. However, in such a scenario, Duncan would either have to retire or sign with another team for San Antonio to open up that much space.

    A more likely scenario is the front office will offer Duncan a below market value contract with the incentive being that the team will have enough salary cap space to sign a significant free agent. For example, if the Spurs can sell Duncan on the idea of taking a $5 million deal, they could have more than $11 million to offer a free agent.

    If you remember correctly, David Robinson's final contract with the Spurs was for $20 million over two years. If Duncan signs a similar deal, that would still give the Spurs the ability to open up enough space to outbid other teams who are only equipped with the mid-level exception.

    It makes little sense to not pick up Anderson's option unless the Spurs are valuing every potential dollar they can save against next year's salary cap. $1.57 million is simply not much money at all -- it's less than $700K more than the minimum salary. For example, it's not much more money than the Spurs will pay to keep Malcolm Thomas around for the duration of this season.

    If you go back to the beginning of last year, it looked like a 100% lock that the Spurs would pickup the option on Anderson. In the first six games of Anderson's rookie season, he was averaging seven points in 17.7 minutes per game, while draining 10-of-20 three-point attempts. Not only was he hitting his shots, he was playing well defensively and simply looked like a natural basketball player. Though a role player at the time, the fit was seamless and he flashed quite a bit of potential.

    Unfortunately, after feeling pain in his right foot, an MRI showed a stress fracture in his fifth metatarsal. Anderson had surgery to insert a pin to help stabilize the bone. A couple months later, he was back on the court -- but he hasn't been the same since.

    Shooting went from Anderson's biggest strength to his most glaring weakness. Last season, he hit just 8-of-26 three-pointers (30.8%) after his return. This year, he's even worse, having hit only 6-of-28 three-pointers (21.4%). For a player who hit 38% of his three-pointers in college and 50% of his three-pointers in the NBA, it's been a stunning drop.

    At first, I attributed Anderson's drop in shooting accuracy to a small sample size exacerbated by an inconsistent role. But after researching the history of players who suffered similar injuries, I now think it's his injury that has sidetracked his shooting.

    Travis Outlaw, Roddy Beaubois and Brandon Jennings all recently suffered similar injuries and underwent similar surgeries. Outlaw went from being one of the best bench forwards in the NBA to being literally the worst player in the NBA -- mostly due to a lost shooting touch. In his two years prior to his injury, Outlaw shot 39.6% and 37.8% on three-pointers, respectively. Last year, he shot 30.2% on threes. This season, the 27-year-old is shooting 14.3% from deep.

    Beaubois might have seen his stock drop even further. After his rookie season, the Mavericks went on record as saying they wouldn't trade him for anyone outside of the two best players in the NBA. That year, he shot 40.9% on three-pointers. But after his foot injury, he shot 30.1% on threes in his sophomore season. Currently, Beaubois has gone from a player the Mavs built their marketing campaign around to a guy with an uncertain future in the league.

    Jennings suffered his fifth metatarsal injury last season. Prior to his injury, he was shooting 36.7% on three-pointers (and he shot 37.4% the previous season). After getting the surgery and returning to action, Jennings was just 51-175 on three-pointers -- or just 29.1%.

    Going further back in history, George Lynch had the same procedure prior to the 2001-02 season. He was coming off a season in which he shot 44.5% from the field and made 15 three-pointers. But after returning to action, Lynch shot just 36.9% from the field and made just one three-pointer in 45 games.

    Bill Walton's career was derailed by a fifth metatarsal injury. Yao Ming injured his fifth metatarsal in 2006. Previously, Yao had only missed two games in his first three seasons in the NBA. After the injury, he was never healthy again.

    And let's not forget David Robinson. The injury that forced him to miss the entire 1996-97 season? A broken fifth metatarsal. And while Robinson was still a great player after returning to action, he never did reclaim all of his previous athleticism (thankfully, he had athleticism to burn).

    In researching fifth metatarsal injuries, the main reason why this injury is so damning is because the foot never regains complete mobility or stability. In fact, I read a study that shows that up to 40% of athletes will require further surgery after the initial procedure. Of the players I listed, Beaubois, Walton and Yao needed multiple surgeries.

    Another player, Damion James for the Nets, injured his fifth metatarsal last season and underwent surgery. This year, he experienced more pain in his foot and tests showed he needed a second surgery and is now out for the season. (By the way, he too saw a drop in performance following the injury. The second-year forward shot 44.7% as a rookie but only 37.1% from the field this year.)

    Could the Spurs have decided to not pick up Anderson because they don't think he'll fully recover? It's possible -- and the above examples show their skepticism may be valid. Even worse for Anderson is the fact that he suffered a fifth metatarsal injury to his left foot when he was in high school. I couldn't find an example of a player who had a successful career after injuring their fifth metatarsals in both feet.

    That said, despite those valid injury concerns, I can't say that I agree with San Antonio's decision. Even though he's in the middle of his second season in the NBA, he's never had a full training camp (he had a hamstring injury last year) and has never had the opportunity to play in summer league. With as small as his third year salary would have been, I believe the right move was to allow him to play in summer league, put him through a full training camp and then decide his future.

    During the lockout, Anderson was getting rave reviews everywhere he was working out. Jared Dudley of the Suns specifically named Anderson and called him a "great young prospect". In the abbreviated training camp after the lockout, Tony Parker said that Anderson was the most impressive young player in the practices. During preseason, though he was missing most of his shots, he showed quite a bit of skill.

    While it's true that I don't know the full specifics of Anderson's foot injuries, and while it may be prudent for the Spurs to keep money off the books heading into a potentially busy offseason, this decision is questionable at best. Not that long ago, Anderson was considered a potential steal in the draft. Add in a very good start to his career and some rave reviews by fellow players -- and I just don't agree with cutting bait so soon.

    Even if we just consider the injury angle, fifth metatarsal injuries may be career-altering in most cases, but they aren't usually career-ending. Jennings, for example, is now playing better than ever. Lynch was able to regain his previous form. Robinson, as we know, didn't let the injury derail his career. And though most athletes who've had the injury complain of pain in their foot even after the surgery, a few studies I read indicated that the pain tends to go away in 12 to 18 months. It's been less than 15 months since Anderson's surgery.

    During the reign of Gregg Popovich and RC Buford, the Spurs have been amazing when it comes to the draft. It's been perhaps the best stretch of drafting prowess in the history of the game. But their one glaring weakness has been giving up on prospects too soon. Anderson was picked with the 20th overall selection, and though historically less than half of players picked in that area of the draft end up sticking in the league, I believe Pop and RC should have trusted more in their own ability to draft well. Keeping the book open on Anderson would have been a low-risk move with a potential sizable reward. Closing the book prematurely, in my view at least, is a much larger risk.
    Last edited by timvp; 01-26-2012 at 11:56 AM.

  2. #2
    PRICELESS SPURS FAN polandprzem's Avatar
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    How much longer would you like spurs to keep Anderson?
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  3. #3
    5. timvp's Avatar
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    How much longer would you like spurs to keep Anderson?
    One season, as stated.

  4. #4
    Hello Moto elemento's Avatar
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    As a Spur fan i want our team to succeed so it's sad news to me if it's true. To me JA would be at least a solid SG in the NBA. Not a star, a solid player.

    As i said in the previous debate about JA, not picking his option only makes sense if his injury is really serious, otherwise it doesn't.

    Anyway, we don't have an official report yet. Still, it's sad to see how many talented players got a lot worse after this type of injury. I just hope it's not Anderson's case
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  5. #5
    Ghost of Mr. K SenorSpur's Avatar
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    During the rein of Gregg Popovich and RC Buford, the Spurs have been amazing when it comes to the draft. It's been perhaps the best stretch of drafting prowess in the history of the game. But their one glaring weakness has been giving up on prospects too soon. Anderson was picked with the 20th overall selection, and though historically less than half of players picked in that area of the draft end up sticking in the league, I believe Pop and RC should have trusted more in their own ability to draft well. Keeping the book open on Anderson would have been a low-risk move with a potential sizable reward. Closing the book prematurely, in my view at least, is a much larger risk.
    There it is.

    Again, as I've mentioned in another thread, with RJ destined for a trip down Amnesty Road, it makes no sense to create YET another opening at the wing spot by allowing Anderson to walk. Another year invested in him would've helped. As it stands now, the Spurs will be down 2 players at that spot, instead of 1.

  6. #6
    Believe. SpursRock20's Avatar
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    Another problem that Anderson faces is the severe lack of playing time. He has now regressed to the second-to-last bench spot just ahead of Thomas. When Manu comes back in the coming month, he'll have even less playing time. It seems as if Pop won't even give him a chance to make a come back this season and he has already given up on him. I know he has had a slow start but we are only 1 month through the season.

  7. #7
    PRICELESS SPURS FAN polandprzem's Avatar
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    One season, as stated.
    Do you think he is still capable of being a good bench player?

    He looks slow, unathletic with no confidence.

    Probably health issues were too big and the spurs needs a much cap room as possible.

  8. #8
    Realistic Spurs Fan Amuseddaysleeper's Avatar
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    With all this info in mind, how badly will this affect the Spurs looking to make a trade to grab a solid big by the trade deadline? I assume if they're saving up to sign a marquee free agent this offseason they probably don't want to take back contracts that would eat up cap space unless they can offload Jefferson? (though they'll amnesty him anyway I suppose)
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  9. #9
    Believe.
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    Even if we just consider the injury angle, fifth metatarsal injuries may be career-altering in most cases, but they aren't usually career-ending. Jennings, for example, is now playing better than ever. Lynch was able to regain his previous form. Robinson, as we know, didn't let the injury derail his career. And though most athletes who've had the injury complain of pain in their foot even after the surgery, a few studies I read indicated that the pain tends to go away in 12 to 18 months. It's been less than 15 months since Anderson's surgery.

    During the reign of Gregg Popovich and RC Buford, the Spurs have been amazing when it comes to the draft. It's been perhaps the best stretch of drafting prowess in the history of the game. But their one glaring weakness has been giving up on prospects too soon. Anderson was picked with the 20th overall selection, and though historically less than half of players picked in that area of the draft end up sticking in the league, I believe Pop and RC should have trusted more in their own ability to draft well. Keeping the book open on Anderson would have been a low-risk move with a potential sizable reward. Closing the book prematurely, in my view at least, is a much larger risk.
    Spurs are seven players deep at the 1 and 2 position; Parker, Manu, Ford, Neal, Joseph, Green and Leonard to some extent. I dont see Anderson getting any playing time in front of those guys which says a lot since we all thought Anderson came in with a lot more potential. Can we honestly say that Anderson should be playing in front of Neal or Green? No, and both these guys came in same time or later as Anderson.
    Anderson may do well on some other team down the road but as of now and the near future he does not warrant his option being picked up and the Spurs investing more money on him when other players are playing much better.

  10. #10
    Believe. ThaBigFundamental21's Avatar
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    I don't know why everyone keeps saying Anderson is slow and unathletic. When we drafted him a year ago all you heard was how athletic he was, bigger than Hill, and a true SG who could play D and score points. Try to make up your mind people. I still think he has a lot of upside. Remember he has been hurt and hasn't had a lot of playing time. I guess you would all rather have Neal? Smaller, less athletic, and older. What a great combination and true asset to this team lol. Before you sour on Anderson maybe he should get a chance.

  11. #11
    Lol Crews jjktkk's Avatar
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    It might be a different story is the Spurs wern't stacked at the 2, and 3 position. Still I too do not like giving up on a player so soon.

  12. #12
    Five. DesignatedT's Avatar
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    Another bad move by the fo.
    lol way too early to claim that. Won't really be able to understand this move until the off-season is here.

  13. #13
    Lol Crews jjktkk's Avatar
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    With all this info in mind, how badly will this affect the Spurs looking to make a trade to grab a solid big by the trade deadline? I assume if they're saving up to sign a marquee free agent this offseason they probably don't want to take back contracts that would eat up cap space unless they can offload Jefferson? (though they'll amnesty him anyway I suppose)
    Anderson wasn't really showing anything, as far as showcasing himself for a potential trade.

  14. #14
    Realistic Spurs Fan Amuseddaysleeper's Avatar
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    Anderson wasn't really showing anything, as far as showcasing himself for a potential trade.
    I was talking more about the Spurs trading for a big in general. Assuming they want to save their cap space for the summer, I can't see them taking on longer contracts than the ones they give out unless it was an absolute steal, or involved offloading Jefferson.

  15. #15
    Believe. smrattler's Avatar
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    I agree with anyone that says his confidence is shot. I think it starts there. Everything else could be a result. Some guys feel pressure to get out of the slump, and the longer it takes, the less confident they get and miss more shots because of it. Next thing you know, you flat out can't shoot and start looking over your shoulder.

    Look what a little boost of confidence has done for Tiago. All of a sudden he's showing moves I had no idea he had in his bag of tricks. And his defense cranked up too.

    Some guys, like Neal for example, don't seem affected by misses. Anderson seems like the opposite. The stories about camp and summer games indicate he was on a roll and playing with confidence. I bet his shot was working then.

  16. #16
    I'm poplovin' it! TJastal's Avatar
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    Spurs are seven players deep at the 1 and 2 position; Parker, Manu, Ford, Neal, Joseph, Green and Leonard to some extent. I dont see Anderson getting any playing time in front of those guys which says a lot since we all thought Anderson came in with a lot more potential. Can we honestly say that Anderson should be playing in front of Neal or Green? No, and both these guys came in same time or later as Anderson.
    Anderson may do well on some other team down the road but as of now and the near future he does not warrant his option being picked up and the Spurs investing more money on him when other players are playing much better.
    This. And tossing 1.6 mil Anderson's way is 1.6 mil less the spurs will have to offer a potential FA big next year which is what they really need to focus in on. And for what? So the guy can sit on the bench and not even get the PT and chances to develop into anything? Do you people who regret this move think he's just suddenly going to suddenly blossom into a 22 point/gm scorer watching the games from the bench or at the very most playing a couple minutes of garbage time every 5 or 6 games?

  17. #17
    Believe.
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    It could be simply a playing time issue. When Manu is back, we will have 3 guards that go ahead of him. Is it fair to Anderson to keep him on the bench for another year? I think they still like him but we have a crowded back court and someone has to go. Between Manu, Neal & Green, it's clear that Anderson is the odd man out.

  18. #18
    The Great Unknown yavozerb's Avatar
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    Is JA restricted or unrestricted? SG is the deepest position on this roster and if takes an extra 1.5 mil this offseason to sign a RFA at a position in need (pf or c)then the loss of a3rd string SG is no brainer . There is always risks in not resigning younger players but I for one do not feel the loss of JA this offseason will hurt this team in the future..Good move in my opinion by the front office..
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  19. #19
    I'm poplovin' it! TJastal's Avatar
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    I don't know why everyone keeps saying Anderson is slow and unathletic. When we drafted him a year ago all you heard was how athletic he was, bigger than Hill, and a true SG who could play D and score points. Try to make up your mind people. I still think he has a lot of upside. Remember he has been hurt and hasn't had a lot of playing time. I guess you would all rather have Neal? Smaller, less athletic, and older. What a great combination and true asset to this team lol. Before you sour on Anderson maybe he should get a chance.
    He's had several chances to impress and hasn't done much and got passed on the depth chart by a much better player (Green).

    Adios, muchacho.

  20. #20
    Out of the shadows lurker23's Avatar
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    I agree that I would have picked up his $1.5m and given him another season. At that salary, it's a pretty low-risk proposition.

    However, this thought occurred to me: as an UFA, what kind of offers would you expect JA to get on the open market? Assuming he doesn't get any playing time this season, would anyone be willing to give him a fully guaranteed season?

    Even as a free agent, the Spurs might be able to snag him toward the end of the FA period with an offer of a fully guaranteed season at the minimum and an unguaranteed second year. Of course, you don't take the risk of him going elsewhere if you're truly high on the guy, but a second look by the Spurs after all is said and done isn't out of the question.
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  21. #21
    Believe.
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    The funny thing about this argument is that the people saying he is no good now will be complaining 2 years down the line if Anderson is tearing up the league. I don't know if Anderson will ever be better than our current crop of guards but based on this small sample, he hasn't impressed and even given another year, I don't think we will know. I just can't see him getting enough playing time on the court to have an impact.

  22. #22
    Believe.
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    We're not really 7 deep at the one and two position...after this season, both Neal and Green will be free agents...and both showed something that is worth more than a minimum contract (that's currently what they are being payied).
    For this and all the reasons others fans have already written, having still 2 more years in a rookie contract of a so good prospect was worth the risk and the money.

  23. #23
    5 Rings, Faggot baseline bum's Avatar
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    At his age I'm sure Anderson could get $1.5 million on the market. Maybe all the hype about RC being in love with him this summer was just a smokescreen to up his trade value?

  24. #24
    Hello Moto elemento's Avatar
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    I agree that I would have picked up his $1.5m and given him another season. At that salary, it's a pretty low-risk proposition.

    However, this thought occurred to me: as an UFA, what kind of offers would you expect JA to get on the open market? Assuming he doesn't get any playing time this season, would anyone be willing to give him a fully guaranteed season?

    Even as a free agent, the Spurs might be able to snag him toward the end of the FA period with an offer of a fully guaranteed season at the minimum and an unguaranteed second year. Of course, you don't take the risk of him going elsewhere if you're truly high on the guy, but a second look by the Spurs after all is said and done isn't out of the question.
    Yeah, that could happen. The Magic did it with Earl Clark. Refused his option and then signed him in the free agency for a smaller amount (2.4m/2y).
    But if the problem is a medical one, i don't see that happening.

  25. #25
    Out of the shadows lurker23's Avatar
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    We're not really 7 deep at the one and two position...after this season, both Neal and Green will be free agents...and both showed something that is worth more than a minimum contract (that's currently what they are being payied).
    Neal is under contract for next year, and then has a qualifying offer for 2013-14.

    Green has a qualifying offer for next summer, so if the Spurs are really high on him, he's a restricted free agent at worst.

  26. #26
    uups stups! Cant_Be_Faded's Avatar
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    From a roster management perspective I just don't get it. Even if we let him walk, sign a free agent, are e assuming we will sign a free agent wing? Cuz if its an extra big, we will still need another wing, which will still cost money. The only free agent name these guys have signed recently is RJ. that trend prob won't change, and for a team that tries to get the best bang for its buck, we could end up with a Finley 2010esque player instead of a prospect that'd be in the system his thirds year, that had upside potential, with peanuts in overall money difference. I was high on Anderson too, so this sucks.
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  27. #27
    I'm poplovin' it! TJastal's Avatar
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    Neal is under contract for next year, and then has a qualifying offer for 2013-14.

    Green has a qualifying offer for next summer, so if the Spurs are really high on him, he's a restricted free agent at worst.
    Sorry JA fanboys. Facts suck, huh?

  28. #28
    I'm poplovin' it! TJastal's Avatar
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    From a roster management perspective I just don't get it. Even if we let him walk, sign a free agent, are e assuming we will sign a free agent wing? Cuz if its an extra big, we will still need another wing, which will still cost money. The only free agent name these guys have signed recently is RJ. that trend prob won't change, and for a team that tries to get the best bang for its buck, we could end up with a Finley 2010esque player instead of a prospect that'd be in the system his thirds year, that had upside potential, with peanuts in overall money difference. I was high on Anderson too, so this sucks.
    FA wings are a dime a dozen. Spurs will have no problems getting a cheap min salary one via FA who can provide insurance for KL, DG, GN, MG.

  29. #29
    Bruce Almighty Bruno's Avatar
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    While I agree on most of the OP and I too don't like this move, I somewhat disagree with the following:

    But their one glaring weakness has been giving up on prospects too soon.
    Spurs have been very quick at giving up on some players (Marcus Williams ) but when you look with hindsight at it, they have been almost always right at doing it. Their track record speak for itself.

  30. #30
    Danger Will Robinson! GSH's Avatar
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    If it's a choice between Anderson and the ability to pick up, say, Batum? Not even close.

    I like the guy, and I really feel for him. But being considered a potential steal in the draft doesn't do anything for the team. I remember reading articles that said Jackie Butler was one of the best signings of that offseason. The only real value is on the court. If the Spurs picked up Anderson's option, I would have been at best indifferent. I can't be too upset that they didn't, unless you count feeling sorry for the guy.

    As of this moment, Anderson is about potential without much in the way of evidence. Six games and offseason play. Throw in a known injury, and I doubt that there will be a flood of other teams making offers, and there is nothing preventing the Spurs from signing him again, if he still looks good.

    James Gist looked promising. So did Ian Mahinmi. They're both gone. The chance that the Spurs are losing a gem, if they let him go, are pretty slim. There are players hitting free agency that we know can play in the NBA on a consistent basis. It would be nice to be able to afford one of them - for a change.

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