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14 July 2005

Spurs Add Another Argentinian

The Spurs have come to an agreement with Fabricio Oberto, a compatriot to both Ginobili and Luis Scola.

Fabricio is a 30 year old (March) 6'-10" 243# C/PF who averaged 14 and 7 last year for Parmesa, a Spanish team. He was part of Argentina's gold medal winning Olympic team and put up 6 PTS, 6 REB and 4 AST in 18 minutes against the US before getting has hand broken by a Stephon Marbury chop.

According to DraftCity.com (and various other internet articles), Fabricio has good footwork which contributes to a quality low post game and he can also hit the 14-16 foot jumper. His best attribute on the offensive end is his passing ability. He's a physical defender and consistently gets good rebounding position. Like other Argentinians you may be familiar with, he plays the game with a high level of passion and intensity. His biggest weaknesses are his high foul rate and horrible free throw shooting (~50%).

The terms of his contract are unknown. A factor that hinders many foreign players is their contract buyout held by the European team they currently play for. NBA teams are only allowed to pay about $350 000 of a players buyout (above the contract value) which is typically much less than the buyout amount. Fabricio's buyout was apparently lower than average; around $750 000.

The consensus seems to be that his Spurs contract will be for around $1.5 million a year; about the value of the LLE. The LLE is separate from the MLE, which is what the Nets hope to use to sign SAR. In the previous CBA, the LLE could be used to sign a player for a maximum of two years. According to an article on RealGM.com, "All cap exceptions will remain unchanged" in the new CBA. Personally, I find it hard to believe a player would leave his European team for a total of ~$3.2 million for two years; especially when he has to pay about $400 000 for his own buyout. Therefore it's likely the contract is for more than two years and consequently uses part of the Spurs MLE, which obviously affects their ability to sign free agents such as Scola or Stephen Hunter. Note: I finally got around to reading Chad Ford's chat; he said the deal is for 3 years according to Oberto's agent.

This signing certainly reduces the likelyhood of adding Scola though the two certainly aren't mutually exclusive. Luis may want more of the MLE than the Spurs have remaining or are willing to pay. SA now has 5 big men signed: Timmeh!, Rasho, Horry, Nazr and Fabricio. Giving significant money to a 6th big man seems a wee bit redundant. Rasho and Nazr are trade candidates, but I don't see the former going anywhere before the season starts. The Spurs need to know exactly what they have in Nazr and Fabricio before shipping off The Solid Slovenian.

So what will the Spurs do? I, of course, don't know for sure, but I would guess they leave Scola in Europe. They could presumably trade his rights, but I'm not sure what they could get for him, which is a function of perceived value and CBA rules. I see them using the first half of the season to evaluate Nazr (both his abilities and value to other teams as a free agent) and Oberto and then attempt to trade either Mohammed or Rasho at the deadline (theoretically to fill a need).

What will Fabricio add to the team? Hopefully, at minimum, a more skilled and younger version of Tony Massenburg. If he can come off the bench and give us 15 minutes of passionate, aggressive and hard-nosed post play I'll be happy. Speaking of Massenburg...

The Spurs have been missing something ever since Rodman left, and I am not talking about the cross-dressing. Some people label it "toughness," but that's not quite right. I cannot put a word to what "it" is, but I have an example of a player demonstrating "it."

"It" happened during the PHX series; I cannot recall which game. If I recall correctly, the outcome had already been decided, which led to Tony Massenburg getting some playing time. For whatever reason Amare was still in the game was posting up Tony up. Stoudemire unleashed a wicked awesome spin move and easily got by Massenburg. Tony, having "it," hacked the ever living shit out of him, a borderline semi-dirty considering circumstances.

Basically, "it" tells the other team that there's at least a chance somebody gonna get fucked up. Just puts it in the back of their mind. A proverbial "shot across the bow."

So, uh, got a little sidetracked there. What does "it" have to do with Fabricio? Well, it sounds like he could have that in him. And, if you ask Sean Marks, he might say Oberto has "it."

If any of my European or Argentinian readers have seen Fabricio play please feel free to add your comments/thoughts/opinions.

******

Today Jerome James agreed to a 5 year deal with the Knicks worth $29. Here's what you need to know about JJ:

-He's never averaged more than 5.4 PPG.
-He's never averaged more than 4.2 RPG.
-He's never played more than 16.9 MPG.
-He's played more than 65 games once in his career.
-He turns 30 at the beginning of next season.
-He's perennially out of shape.
-He's lazy, lethargic, unmotivated and kicks puppies in his spare time.
-He has tremendous downside potential.

Why would the Knicks spend practically their entire MLE this early on Jerome James? Were other teams beating down his door? Offering him almost a max MLE deal like the Knicks just gave him? The Sonics, who currently don't even have a semi-reliable center, didn't even want him. Shouldn't that be a hint? Did Isiah's cable go out during the entire regular season?

Unbelieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevable.

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All content copyright Matthew Powell 2005.