The Spurs acquired scoring swingman Richard Jefferson from Milwaukee in a four-player deal on Tuesday, giving San Antonio the extra offensive punch the aging former champions sorely needed.
The Spurs sent veterans Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas and Fabricio Oberto to the Bucks in exchange for the 29-year-old Jefferson, who averaged 19.6 points in his one season with the Bucks.
Milwaukee then dealt Oberto to the Pistons for forward Amir Johnson. The trades give the Bucks more financial flexibility, the Spurs a proven scorer and the Pistons a veteran big man at a lower cost than Johnson.
Spurs guard Tony Parker welcomed Jefferson into the fold, alongside Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. San Antonio is coming off its shortest playoff run since 2000 and faded down the stretch with Duncan hobbled and Ginobili sidelined by injury.
“He’s a great wing,” said Parker, speaking to reporters before the trade for Jefferson became official Tuesday. “It’s something we don’t have on our team.”
Milwaukee unloaded Jefferson’s contract, which has two years and $29.2 million remaining. Jefferson became the Bucks’ best offensive threat after Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut went down with season-ending injuries, but the Bucks’ tight financial situation made a move necessary.
Milwaukee does not want to pay the NBA’s luxury tax, which last year hit teams dollar-for-dollar once they reach $71.15 million in total payroll.
Redd, Bogut and Jefferson are scheduled to make more than $41 million combined this season.
•T-Wolves trade for another first-round pick: The Minnesota Timberwolves agreed to trade guards Randy Foye and Mike Miller to the Washington Wizards for the fifth overall draft pick and three players, leaving Minnesota with four first-round choices and plenty of ammunition to do even more wheeling and dealing.
Two anonymous NBA officials with knowledge of the deal confirmed that the trade had been agreed upon.
The deal would give Minnesota the fifth and sixth overall selections in Thursday’s NBA draft, as well as forwards Etan Thomas, Darius Songaila and Oleksiy Pecherov.
The Timberwolves also have the 18th and 28th selections in the first round, giving them the resources to potentially trade up even higher and go after either Spanish guard Ricky Rubio or Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet.