Spurs “unusually aggressive” in trade market: What does it mean?

By Stephen Shepperd

Soobum Im–USA TODAY Sports

It’s rare to hear trade talks involving the Spurs organization. They have been an impressively “home-grown” NBA team, drafting sure-fire Hall of Famers Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli, while also being very good about building up young, newly acquired talent like Patty Mills.

But with their eyes on the not-so-distant future, San Antonio knows that their run with the Big Three is not going to last forever, and CBS Sports’ NBA Insider, Ken Berger, is hearing some rumblings. Cue the trade rumors:

We’ve been predicting the Spurs‘ last hurrah for years, but this time it might really be the end of the road. The Spurs have been unusually aggressive trying to upgrade their roster in the trade market, a signal to rival execs that Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford realize this might be the final shot at a title with the triumvirate of Tim DuncanTony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

The Spurs’ fan base is not ignorant of the fact that their players are getting older. At the beginning of each season, “talking heads” predict wear and tear to be the downfall of Gregg Popovich’s squad. Every new season is THE season that we begin to see San Antonio dip in the Western Conference standings. And yet, here we are; with the top spot in the West heading into mid-January.

But this will end. Biology says so.

The report by Berger does not refer to any specific player being shopped by the organization, nor was there any rumor on a possible target. But the Spurs being involved in trade talks, in any form, is news.

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Without thinking very hard at all, one possible asset for San Antonio is Danny Green. His performance in the postseason last year put him on every team’s radar, while his youth and experience with an organization like San Antonio adds upside. Some would call Green’s performance this season a disappointment, but in reality, this was the type of player he was last season.

Tiago Splitter could also be someone the Spurs dangle in front of teams to see who bites. This problem I have with this thought is the organization is trying to prepare for the departure of Duncan, and trading the other starter in the front court leaves them with Jeff Ayers and Aaron Baynes. Replacing Splitter with someone like Atlanta Hawks’ Paul Millsap could replace some versatililty at the 4 or 5 position, making up for what Ayers and Baynes do not have.

Whoever the Spurs get (if a trade ever even develops), it will be a glimpse into what Popovich, and the front office, sees as the direction of the team. There is no doubt that this player will be developed into a star, or already has to tools to become one. The question that San Antonio has to answer is this: Can they continue to set the bar for organizations across the NBA?

Odds are yes.