The Admiral available? All those interested, call the San Antonio Spurs. If the deal is right - make that perfect - then David Robinson might be coming to your town.
Then again, if Tim Duncan doesn't like the idea . . .Two things to keep in mind: Robinson turns 33 in August. He also is scheduled to earn a sweet $32 million-plus in the next two seasons.
It's hard to go anywhere these days and not hear a Robinson rumor. The most common one has him somehow ending up in Washington, which is close to his hometown and is a franchise in dire need of upstanding citizens. The question remains whether the Spurs would deal perhaps their most popular player in history, an individual who invests millions in the city and community.
Why, you ask? The most common explanation is money. San Antonio, a cash-strapped franchise in a cash-poor building, can't afford to keep both Robinson and Duncan. That seems to be a bit of a reach, unless Don Smiley, the Florida Marlins emasculator, also buys the Spurs.
Even if there's a three-for-one deal, the numbers still have to even out. San Antonio, in all probability, would either inherit some pretty outrageous contracts or free agents-to-be who will soon be getting outrageous contracts. One way or another, it'll pay.
Suppose Washington offers Juwan Howard and Mitch Richmond. Howard's deal has another five years and $80 million-plus to go. Richmond will be a free agent next summer and he will be looking for his.
How about a basketball explanation? There's a concept. Robinson could fetch San Antonio what it doesn't have and most needs: perimeter players. The Spurs are like a football team that can run but can't pass. They need shooters. And they could lose outside shooter Vinny Del Negro back to Italy (his former coach at Benetton has moved over to Team System Bologna). The once-dangerous Sean Elliott has bad knees, and the Spurs don't know how good he'll ever be.
There are plenty of center-starved teams with marquee perimeter players. But could one of them stomach Robinson's numbers (age: 33; salary: $32 million) and the fact that he played last season with bad knees, had to work hard to rehab a cranky back and again failed to deliver in the postseason?
Nevertheless, Robinson could make any team a playoff contender by his sheer presence, and he is a regular on the All-Pro and All-Defensive teams.
All of this makes for some intriguing hot stove chat, but the Duncan Factor could be the biggest of all. It's no secret that Duncan's game improves substantially when Robinson is around. The two also showed they can play together. Do you think Spurs management would run a Robinson trade by Duncan? Would Duncan demand that Robinson stick around, or else?
David-bashing is an annual thing, yet every year he's been healthy, the Spurs seem to win 55-60 games. Even when he wasn't healthy, they also won: They got Duncan.
The fact that his team went down, again, and that he struggled, again, has thrown Robinson in the spotlight, again. Every time the Spurs won a playoff game, the talk was how good Duncan looked; every time they lost, it was how bad Robinson looked. He's used to it by now. Now, if the Spurs could somehow trade for Latrell Sprewell . . .