The Spurs are 27-12, a winning percentage of .692. They are in second place in the toughest division in basketball, the Southwest, and have the third best record in the NBA. Needless to say, they're in a full-blown panic mode.
Maggette rumors have been swirling around the Alamo for awhile, but after an admittedly ugly loss to the Bulls on Monday, Express-News Columnist Buck Harvey wrote a column with extensive quotes from unnamed Spurs sources. It is certainly true that after their big three, the Spurs are old (Finley, Bowen, Horry) or unathletic (Udrih, Bonner) or both (Barry). And the Spurs put Barry on the trading block every season about this time, whether they need to or not. I think Popovich just likes to screw with Brent.
When a talent the level of Corey is known to be available, of course the contending teams are going to take notice. And Corey is a young, athletic wing, which is pretty much what they're in the market for.
The most interesting thing is to see the perception of Corey that is out there. Interesting and of course sad. A Spurs staffer described him thus:
Fair enough. Of course, the same can be said for many, many other players.
The same staffer went on to say "the Clippers don't trust him on defense." Interesting wording. The Clippers don't trust him. I'm a staffer for the Spurs, I'm a basketball guy. I could say that I don't think he's a good defender, but instead I say that the Clippers don't trust him. Is he a bad defender or not? I really haven't made up my mind, but here's what the Clippers think. That's MDSr driving down Corey's trade value.
There are plenty of other misconceptions. Harvey writes "The Clippers were at their best last season when Maggette was injured" which is simply not true. They did surprisingly well when Maggette was injured, but the Clippers were at their best when they opened the season and in the playoffs, and Maggette was playing during those times.
Harvey opens the article by calling Maggette 'notoriously selfish.'
He wouldn't have turned the Spurs' loss in Chicago into a win. If he were traded here, he would become the only Spur to worry about or even use the word "touches." His basketball IQ would place him in remedial classes. And the Spurs would be lucky to get him.
Here's what I know about the possibility of a trade for Maggette going through:
After Monday, the odds went up
You think Tony Parker doesn't worry about touches? He doesn't use the word touches because he gets hundreds of them every game. Besides, I seem to recall Manu Ginobili being less than 100% pleased when he was a sixth man his first two seasons in San Antonio. Sure, it's just some columnist, and he's using hyperbole and juxtaposition to make a point about how the Spurs could really use this selfish idiot. But perception has a way of becoming reality.
Corey Maggette is not a selfish basketball player. He doesn't happen to be a good passer (all you have to do is watch him try to make a post entry pass to know that), but he's willing to pass. For every charging turnover he commits, he probably throws a ball away also. But he's not selfish. The 'Headless Horseman' line is pretty fitting. Corey gets focused on the basket, and goes towards it. Someone with a head might be afraid of getting hurt. So sure, he runs into a few charging fouls. He's also second in the league in FTM per 48 minutes (behind DWade, and of course Corey's reputation is working against him with refs, not for him as is the case with Wade). You can't have one without the other.
At any rate, I really don't see Corey going to the Spurs unless and until the Clippers give up on this season completely, and I don't think they're going to do that; not in February. Remember, as long as Minnesota is ahead of them in the standings, they have as much incentive to catch and pass the Wolves as they do to tank. But Corey for Brent Barry is not going to happen. Barry's 35 years old. Sure, he can shoot the three. Did I mention he's 35 years old? Barry is a terrific final piece to the puzzle. Corey is the Clippers second leading scorer DESPITE his lack of minutes. This is like a trade in a fantasy league. If someone came to me with Brent Barry for Corey Maggette, I'd counter with Corey for Ginobili. Really? You don't want Corey for Ginobili? Well I don't want Barry for Corey. Stop wasting my time.
I wish MDSr would just play the guy. If nothing else, maybe we could rehab his reputation and get full value in the off-season.