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News » NBA 2009-03-16

NBA 2009-03-16

NBA 2009-03-16
The fact the Spurs were willing to spend slightly more than $1.4 million to add power forward Drew Gooden to their roster for this season's playoff push was a sign ownership remains committed to the pursuit of championships.

That was good news for Spurs fans, who know the team faces an immediate future more uncertain than at any time since the team's Big Three first was brought together, in 2002, when Manu Ginobili joined Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.

At 26, Parker is at the prime of his career, but Duncan is 32, with creaky knees, and Ginobili's ankles seem to have aged twice as fast as the rest of his body, now 31.

At a time when major roster decisions loom in the next couple of summers, knowing that ownership is still willing to write a seven-figure check to give the Spurs a better shot against the Lakers this spring is cause for relief.

More troubling news, though, was wrapped inside an item in Wednesday's Express-News business section.

Holt Cat, the company Spurs majority owner Peter Holt serves as Chief Executive Officer, announced it was laying off about 12 percent of its work force.

Holt Cat, the largest Caterpillar equipment dealer in the U.S., has suffered along with the rest of the construction sector.

In his role as majority owner of the Spurs, Holt has supported every player personnel move Gregg Popovich has believed necessary to keep the Spurs a title contender. They have an understanding: Popovich doesn't spend money on players he doesn't believe in, and Holt backs Popovich when he thinks the Spurs need a player like Gooden.

But Holt is no Paul Allen, the mega-billionaire owner of the Trail Blazers. This week's layoff news underscores this truth.

Popovich and general manager R.C. Buford judiciously guard the team's player payroll. Avoiding the league's luxury tax threshold is a priority.

Meanwhile, a few hours north of the Alamo, the billionaire owner of the Mavericks told a Dallas radio audience this week that he is willing to spend money this summer to improve a team whose uneven effort a couple weeks ago prompted him to publicly threaten to ship out the entire roster.

"I think we've got the No. 1 trading asset available," Mark Cuban said on Michael Irvin's radio show. "It's not so much cap room. It's 'Are you willing to take back money from other teams, particularly in these times?'"

Others will be dumping money. Suns owner Robert Sarver, whose banks got $140 million in TARP funds from the federal government late last year, personally attempted to broker an Amare Stoudemire trade before the deadline. His motivation was clear: shedding future payroll.

The Kings' trade deadline deals were orchestrated to do the same, including the trade that brought them Gooden. His buyout then saved the Maloof Brothers about $780,000.

The Hornets traded Tyson Chandler to the Thunder in February because ownership deemed his future salary onerous. The Thunder nixed the deal because a doctor told them Chandler's turf toe could be a chronic problem.

If Chandler goes back on the market this summer, Cuban might be willing to take a chance on a rebounder and defender who has been a proven thorn in Tim Duncan's side.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: March 16, 2009


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