With a 102-85 win over the New Jersey Nets on Monday night, the San Antonio Spurs increased their league-leading win total to 46 while keeping the losses in single-digits at nine.
It was just the latest success in a season that has been full of them for this NBA regular-season juggernaut.
So, you may ask, why is a trade even necessary? To be perfectly frank, it's not necessary at all. But making a minor deal may make the difference when the Spurs attempt to make the difficult transition from regular-season power to postseason force.
After all, a team can never be too good.
So Spurs fans, a lot of you may not want to make some of these moves, and you've earned that right. But keep an open mind and think about how they may actually help your team.
As always, your comments are welcome.
Now in his fifth NBA season, Chris Quinn has only just become a part of the San Antonio Spurs. But his time in Texas may already be drawing to a close.
Quinn isn't exactly an integral part of the team's success. In fact, he's averaging just 6.2 minutes per game, a number which means he's getting less court time than ever before. Quinn's 1.9 points, 0.5 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game can be easily replaced.
The point guard is also the Spurs' easiest player to trade. His $804,131 salary allows San Antonio to receive a player in return, so long as that player's salary doesn't exceed $964,957. Otherwise, the Spurs wouldn't be allowed to make a trade in which Quinn was the only player involved on the Spurs' end.
No team is going to consider Quinn a steal at this point in his career, so he isn't really a prize to be fought over by the other 29 teams in the NBA. The Spurs are going to have to sweeten the deal. The easiest way to do this would be to include a first-round draft pick.
Normally that would be a good bit to give up, but with a potential work stoppage looming, many underclassmen may choose to return to school instead of entering the 2011 NBA Draft, so the talent pool will be significantly more shallow this season than normal. The Spurs are going to have a pick towards the tail end of the first round, so including the first-rounder won't be that much of a loss.
As for the player they'd get in this trade, San Antonio would love to employ Luc Richard Mbah a Moute for the remainder of the season. Very reminiscent of Bruce Bowen, Mbah a Moute is a versatile player that can be used on defense against four different positions.
He may be somewhat of a liability on offense at this point in his career, but the defense makes up for it. The current Milwaukee Bucks' salary is $854,389, so the math checks as well.
Even though he is receiving the exact same salary as Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Bill Walker is slightly less valuable to the San Antonio Spurs.
He's not as skilled defensively as his Milwaukee counterpart, but New York's reserve shooting guard can score much more easily. Walker is averaging 4.6 points per game in his limited 12.3 minutes per contest.
He does however have great touch from downtown. Walker is draining 41.2 percent of the three-pointers he's attempted thus far during the 2010-2011 NBA season.
It might not be as good for San Antonio as the previous deal, but this one would still be beneficial. It's also a little more likely as New York is supposedly interested in acquiring first round picks.
Playing for the Sacramento Kings this season, Donte Greene has received 16.7 minutes per game and has performed to the tune of 5.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 0.8 assists per contest.
The 6'11" small forward is in just his third season and has displayed a good bit of potential. He has a much higher upside than Chris Quinn, and he also has a greater ability to produce in the present.
Greene hasn't shown too much offensive talent yet, though. His three-point shot is decent, but his ball-handling is dreadful and he doesn't rebound quite as proficiently as one would expect, considering the fact that he's just an inch shy of seven feet.
Sacramento may be a little bit tired of waiting for him to fulfill its hopes and cut its losses, handing the extra minutes to Omri Casspi in the process.
In return for Greene and his $930,700 salary, the Kings would get Chris Quinn and a late first-round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
And now it gets even more intriguing.
Detroit is not a good basketball team right now and Tracy McGrady really only signed there to prove that he can still play basketball at the NBA level. He's done that and most likely has no intention of remaining a Piston after this year is up. If he can get out of the Motor City even earlier, that's even better.
McGrady is receiving just 23.1 minutes on average but he's posting 8.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. He's also proven multiple times that he can still score in bunches.
Detroit might as well accept the fact that McGrady will be leaving after this season, which is already doomed to fail. Why not get something now? Chris Quinn and the draft pick are surely better than nothing at all.
As for the Spurs, McGrady would be just another scorer and would be very useful in the playoffs when he can take a few days to rest his aged bones between games.
If you're curious, his salary this season is $854,389, which is well within what the Spurs can receive in return for Quinn.
This is the second trade that involves the Sacramento Kings and it won't be the last.
Omri Casspi is a better player than Donte Greene at this point in his career. He's receiving 25.3 minutes per game and is turning those opportunities into 9.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists per contest.
The small forward is rumored to be available and is the kind of player that Gregg Popovich would love to have around. He hustles as much as any other player in the league and has a good three-point shot.
But because he's a better player, the Kings would demand more in return. Even if they didn't feel the need to ask for more, Casspi's $1,254,480 salary falls well outside the range of prices that Chris Quinn could bring in.
One player that the Spurs could dangle would be their 2010 first-round pick, James Anderson. The shooting guard from Oklahoma State has struggled through his rookie season, missing time with a stress fracture in his right foot. He was recently sent down to the Austin Toros of the NBA Developmental League.
Anderson will likely be a contributor for San Antonio in the future if he remains with the team, but Casspi gives the Spurs a better chance to win this season. And let's face it, the window is closing for San Antonio.
No player that the Spurs would be even slightly willing to trade has more potential than Tiago Splitter.
The 26-year-old seven-footer was drafted by San Antonio back in 2007, and the Spurs have been sitting around waiting for him to make his way to the NBA and provide a positive return on their investment.
Splitter hasn't exactly set the league on fire, though, scoring just 4.1 points, grabbing 2.7 rebounds and dishing out 0.4 assists per game so far this season. To be fair, he isn't getting much playing time. But Splitter is still very raw.
Grant Hill, on the other hand, is a proven NBA veteran. He'd give an immediate boost on defense and would undoubtedly help the team in the playoffs with his leadership.
Phoenix would love the prospect of having a developing seven-footer and a first round pick in exchange for an aging player that doesn't figure into its future plans.
As for the salaries, they do indeed check. Splitter is being paid $3,400,000 and Hill is receiving $3,240,000.
Minnesota would (and should) be very hesitant to accept a trade like this, but if it does, San Antonio shouldn't even think twice before pulling the trigger.
Corey Brewer is one of those players who plays his heart out each and every time he steps onto the court. Because of this, he's truly endeared himself to his fans in Minnesota.
Now that he's been on the Timberwolves for four years, he's been there longer than any other player currently rostered by David Kahn. It's time for a change of scenery.
Brewer is an excellent and versatile defender whose offensive game is gradually improving. But trust me, his lack of scoring touch isn't due to a lack in effort.
The shooting guard, if it's fair to limit him to just one position, would be a perfect role player for Gregg Popovich's team.
With Tim Duncan getting older, it's important that the Spurs find another player who can log some minutes throughout the regular season and the postseason in relief of the surefire Hall of Famer.
Jason Thompson could be that guy. He would immediately be the most athletic of the Spurs' big men and he'd definitely contribute in the future. The duo of Thompson and DeJuan Blair could be scary good in as few as five years.
So, you may ask, why am I saying all these good things about a player who's averaging just 8.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game so far this season? Well, Thompson has become the odd man out in the Kings' frontcourt rotation. Samuel Dalembert, DeMarcus Cousins and Carl Landry are all just getting more time.
The reality is, the Kings would really have no qualms giving him up.
But to do so, they'd have to get both Chris Quinn and James Anderson in return. That's the only way that the salaries would match up, seeing as Thompson is owed $2,178,000 this year and the Quinn-Anderson combination is worth $2,165,531. As for value, a first round pick would be thrown in from the Spurs' end in order to make the trade fair.
The second of the trades involving multiple players leaving San Antonio for less-green pastures is one where Kris Humphries ends up a Spur.
Because Humphries has an expiring contract, the New Jersey Nets will likely let him walk at the end of the 2010-2011 season. They do after all have Brook Lopez and Derrick Favors in their frontcourt already.
Basically, apply every skill that Thompson has and then add in a high level of basketball intelligence and a great work ethic. Then you'll have Humphries. The power forward is even averaging 8.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game this season.
He'd be the absolute perfect addition for San Antonio. There is no other player who could be involved in a minor trade that would do a better job in sealing the deal for a potential championship run.
To make this happen, the Spurs would likely have to give up the high potential of both James Anderson and Tiago Splitter. Then, to make the salaries balance, they'd also have to accept Stephen Graham in return.
Graham isn't exactly an asset, though, just a salary included to make the money stuff balance. In fact, in 17.4 minutes, the small forward is averaging a staggering 3.5 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.6 assists per game.
But with him included, the incoming salary for the Spurs is $4,192,680 while the outgoing salary is $4,761,400.
This true center can play defense and rebound with the best of them. It's that kind of player that the Spurs lack. However, Jeff Foster is nowhere near the perfect player.
He's an offensive liability and aging quickly. Still though, he could be a crucial part of an NBA Finals run.
For the Indiana Pacers this season, Foster is averaging just 3.7 points per game, but his 6.8 rebounds per contest make up for the lack of scoring.
The main problem with this trade is that Foster's salary is $6,655,000, significantly more than any other player mentioned thus far. To make the deal happen, the Spurs would have to give up Tiago Splitter, James Anderson and Chris Quinn, as their salaries add up to $5,565,531.
Now that is a high price to pay for a veteran center who doesn't contribute much to his current team, so I would expect for the Pacers to have to include a second-round pick in the deal.