There is no way to sugarcoat it— Richard Jefferson’s two years in San Antonio have been underwhelming to say the least. Spurs’ General Manager, R.C. Buford, will most likely attempt to trade him this offseason for players who will have more impact.
Two years ago, the move for Jefferson appeared to be the impact move the Spurs needed. On paper, he was another perimeter player with the ability to create his own shot and get to the free-throw line. The Spurs relied too heavily on Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili in the past to do the heavy lifting on offense.
With Jefferson on board, the assumption was that he would pick up the scoring slack in the event that one of the big three had a bad night on offense.
Yet, Jefferson fell drastically short of expectations. He has looked passive, timid and quite frankly, on the decline.
It seemed as though finally Jefferson found his niche in the Spurs offense at the start of the 2010-2011 season, but his production waned as the season went on. Eventually, he regressed to the same passive player that he was last year.
The final straw was in Game 6 of the Spurs-Grizzlies game. Jefferson registered just 10 minutes of playing time. With the season on the line, Popovich benched Jefferson in favor of a three-guard lineup that included Tony Parker, George Hill and Manu Ginobili.
Two of the guards were physically overmatched in their matchups. On offense, Hill is basically exclusively a spot-up shooter when playing with Parker and Ginobili. Jefferson has been the better three-point shooter all season and physically, unlike Hill, he's capable of matching up with Sam Young and Shane Battier.
Yet, despite the fact that these two players physically overwhelmed Hill and Ginobili, Popovich still stuck with them over Jefferson. That should show you how much confidence they lost in him.
Trading Jefferson will most likely be a priority this offseason. However, Jefferson is owed $30.5 million over the next three years. Moving a declining perimeter player reliant on athleticism with a horrendous contract will present R.C. Buford with one of his biggest challenges yet.
In fact, in order to move Jefferson, San Antonio is going to have to take on another bad contract in return.
Here are some realistic and close to realistic scenarios that R.C. Buford might consider this offseason.