By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Spurs Would Fit Nicely In Malone’s Plans…And He Would Fit In The Spurs Plans
SAN ANTONIO– Karl Malone would work very well in the plans the San Antonio Spurs currently have. The Mailman could deliver what the Spurs are lacking defensively in the middle. Malone would be able to do what Kevin Willis did and more. Now the only problem is whether the Spurs are willing to get on the same page that Malone is reading right now. Is Malone worth the wait Spurs fans? Yes he is and there’s only one word you need to know that he truly believes in: commitment.
I’m sure a lot of fans would think that Malone is the Anti-Christ of basketball but they have to get over the incident that happened six years ago. I’m sure David Robinson has. Yet Spurs fans are definitely a finicky bunch. Let them tell it and they will say that Malone was the reason why they never succeeded in the playoffs until Tim Duncan arrived. However let’s be real about the situation. The reason why the Spurs never could beat those Utah Jazz teams had nothing to do with how Malone beat them but how the Spurs played during that time period. If there was one weakness that this franchise has lacked it has been a solid post up player on both ends of the floor. Currently this franchise is having the same issues they had in the early 1990s and that is why you want Malone on this team. You don’t need Sean Marks. You already have two seven footers on the roster and Marks is no Willis. Yet with Malone, this team could do some things that the coaching staff would only be dreaming of right now. Because Malone would be committed to winning, you can have a strong defensive presence out there with Tim Duncan in the later minutes of the game. Let’s face it folks, if you understand basketball who would you want out there with Duncan: Malone or Rasho Nesterovic?
Would Malone bring baggage to a team that seems to have a very good chemistry right now? If you’re a fan of the Spurs you are saying yes. You are reading, hearing and watching the drama that is being played out right now in Los Angeles. Right now you are wondering why Malone is sitting out if he says he’s healthy? Why would he not want to go ahead and play right now? Well let me try and answer a few of those questions that I’m sure have been asked around the water cooler these days. First of all of the drama that is being played out is grotesquely one-sided. We all know that this drama scene has been picked apart by talking heads but I want to drop a few more tidbits into that kettle of nonsense. First off I don’t buy the act that Kobe’s wife was offended by what Malone did. Any woman that says “Hey Cowboy what you hunting” and she knows he’s married is up to something. She wanted a reaction and she got it. Secondly I don’t believe a word that Bryant says. His honesty card has been permanently revoked for this reporter because he wasn’t truthful during his little fly by jaunts last season. Thirdly let’s just consider the source for most of this if you will. All of the “B” parties that have been affected by Bryant’s tirades have not said anything that would be contrary to them being just caught up in that web of deceit. Now with that said let me also say that Malone’s actions were indeed wrong and definitely disrespectful. As much as he would like to get up under Bryant’s skin, he should have said nothing in response to Vanessa Bryant’s question. So with Malone gone from Newport Beach, that question of baggage would be null and void.
Many fans are questioning why is Malone sitting if he is completely healed from his knee surgery. What fans don’t know is that there is a calendar that everyone is looking at as a timeframe and that deadline date is January 10, 2005. Why is that date significant? In the NBA that date is the magical guaranteed contract date. For players trying to make rosters this late in the season, they want to be around on that date because they are then given a prorated contract that’s slotted based upon how many years they have been in the league. For a team like San Antonio who is hoping that a big time player like Malone signs with them, that date means that they will not have to pay as much of the salary. If my prognostication skills are correct on this matter, Malone would get a prorated salary of about $500,000 with the league picking up a sizeable chunk of that for the Spurs. And with him signing on that date, he’s fresh and has time to learn the system that Pop has in enough time for the playoffs.
So just what would the benefits be for Spurs fans if Malone decided that the Alamo City was the place to end his 20th season? Like I said earlier, Malone’s commitment to this organization would be phenomenal. He had already decided last year what teams he wanted to play for but chose the Los Angeles Lakers because they were the team closest to being able to use his services. Now this year it just may be San Antonio with Miami having an outside chance. The determining factor would have to come from whatever sit-down meeting him and Popovich had about his role on the team. Pop has always been a straight shooter with players and this should be no different. Malone already knows the score on who’s team this is and if he’s willing to accept the small bit of a role player, he would most likely win a ring just like Kevin Willis and Steve Smith did two seasons ago.
Would Spurs fans be receptive to the situation? That’s a hard question to ask because the opinions on this situation vary. Some fans may think that the Spurs don’t need Malone and some barely understand why Big Shot Bob is on the roster. However, some fans also know the importance of having a veteran guy who can help the younger ones get over that hump. Malone can help a Tony Massenburg get over the hump. Malone can push Tim in practice to be better on the post. Malone can toughen up Rasho better than any drill during the off-season ever will. In other words what Malone brings to the table is something that simply can’t be found elsewhere. The Spurs need his craftiness, his savvy and his physical presence. Spurs fans would appreciate him for what he is and that’s being a hard worker from beginning to end.
The choice is simple from my standpoint. If Malone wants to win and win big, then the Alamo City is the final resting place. Right now what I see is a win-win situation for all involved. The only question is when will Malone make his decision and whether that decision will sit well with the fans. I think so on all accounts but then again, anything can happen between now and January 10th.