Richard Jefferson: Will He Jilt Gregg Popovich, Spurs?

Lake CruiseAnalyst IOctober 5, 2010

Gregg Popopvich and former NBA Steve Nash
Gregg Popopvich and former NBA Steve NashRonald Martinez/Getty Images

In “Reasoning on the San Antonio Riverwalk,” part I (copyright), I managed to overload the brains of several San Antonio Spurs fans who would like to divorce my writing from their lives.

I reasoned that the Spurs will have a rough ride in the Western Conference this season, and Spurs fans lost their minds as if I were their unfaithful spouse who got caught cheating at home.

Wonder what the reaction to this piece will be.

Like supportive spouses who steps in to defend the failures of his or her opposite half, Spurs supporters and head coach Gregg Popopvich insist Richard Jefferson will have a breakout season.

Same thing they hyped us with last year, folks.

I know a few Spurs fans who were hyped at the possibility that RJ would break out of the Alamo City and join another team, but they will never admit that, since Lake said it.

Some say I’m better than Nostradamus and Madam Cleo put together.  Either way, at least, I have the onions to say what I mean, and mean what I say, and I say this:

Never a great three-point shooter (2.0 attempts per game, 34.8% career averages), and losing lift like an overloaded jet, Jefferson is being set up to be traded to the highest bidder.

Why else would he be brought back, with a different contract, to a team whose fans and coaching staff called for his head to roll for most of last season? 

His scoring average per season has declined in five of the last six seasons.  His assists have declined every season since 2005-2006, and his free-throw percentage fell from 80 percent in Milwaukee to 70 percent with the Spurs.

Expect the decline to continue in the 2010-2011 season.

Popovich managed to get 40 blocked shots out of Jefferson, last season—RJ’s highest total since 2002-2003.  But expecting Jefferson to be a great shot blocker is like expecting Tony Parker to win an Oscar for Best Leading Actor.

According to a lead story by reporter, David Aldridge, via an ESPN blog by Henry Abbot, Popovich threatened to trade Jefferson before offering him a four-year $38.8 million dollar deal to replace the $15.2 million annual salary Jefferson had last season.

“I told him I would definitely go to work on getting his ass out of Dodge,” Pop was quoted as saying.  Jefferson is reportedly a Popovich favorite.

According to a report by Ken Rodriguez at, Jefferson responded by dumping baby fat and reporting to training camp more chiseled than a professional whittler’s wood cabin in the Wild West.

Which NBA Western Conference teams would be interested in Jefferson—who was a huge disappointment for Spurs Nation last season?  Good question.

Oklahoma City, Portland, Houston, Dallas, Denver, and Memphis may have interest.  They’ll take just about any player to help them dethrone the mighty Lakers.

Surrounded by a squadron of rookies and youth, Jefferson could be the first Spur to be gone in the impending implosion that this season has the potential for.

All the signs are there: a loaded Western Conference, an aging superstar (Tim Duncan), a star who sees this as his last chance to win with the Spurs (Tony Parker), and a gunner who cannot bear to lose (Ginobili) any games—period. 

I hope I’m wrong—period, but this is shaping up to be an ugly divorce settlement, without a prenup, between RJ and Popovich.

Don’t believe me? Take a look: