Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Watching the Rotation: The Tolliver Bell Tolls

Some San Antonio fans are scratching their heads over the Anthony Tolliver pink slip, but not this one. This was an obvious move. Let me count the ways:
  1. Tolliver was 31 different flavors of hustle, and a nifty passer, but his role on the team was to create space for Tim Duncan with his shooting. Too bad for Tolliver that he was shooting .292 from the field and .220 from the arc. It's not a matter of why the Spurs waived Tolliver, it's a question of why they kept him so long?
  2. Anthony Tolliver's contract would have become guaranteed as of 6 pm Wednesday. This is common knowledge, so I won't say more than the cut saves the Spurs money.
  3. Tolliver is a would be--if he hit his shots--roster redundancy.
  4. The extra roster spot is helpful:
  • The Spurs can now accommodate a two for one trade, if such a scenario presents itself
  • The Spurs are able to "interview" D-League talent on 10-day contracts
  • The Spurs can now sign a player that is waived, whether a young player for the Toros or a trade deadline buy out (see: Cassell, Sam)
Beyond these things, it's safe to assume Malik Hairston has impressed the Spurs. Ian Mahinmi remains injured, so Tolliver could have served the roll of emergency big. Meanwhile, the Spurs wings are healthy, so keeping Hairston is an indicator that the team sees him as more than a passing interest. The good folks at Draft Express are in agreement with 48M0H that Hairston has a chance to crack San Antonio's 2009/10 rotation.

Who could the Spurs bring in to replace Tolliver? Toro forward/centers Andre Brown and Charles Gaines are possibilities. Personally, I'd like to see the Spurs spend 10-day money on NBDL standout Courtney Sims. But they're pretty good at what they do, so I'm content to wait and see.