San Antonio Spurs: Would Available Boston Celtics Fit the Roster?

BOSTON, MA - MAY 19: Boston Celtics players including Kelly Olynyk
BOSTON, MA - MAY 19: Boston Celtics players including Kelly Olynyk /
San Antonio Spurs, BOSTON, MA – MAY 19: Boston Celtics players including Kelly Olynyk
San Antonio Spurs, BOSTON, MA – MAY 19: Boston Celtics players including Kelly Olynyk /

If the San Antonio Spurs were to pair up with the Boston Celtics for a trade, would any of their available players fit the roster?

Outside of Patty Mills, the San Antonio Spurs have stayed quiet in NBA free agency. They still have their own sitting on the open market like Jonathon Simmons, Dewayne Dedmon, and David Lee.

Trades haven’t been a factor, either, despite attempts at trading LaMarcus Aldridge and Danny Green. That doesn’t mean trades are off the table, especially with the offseason far from over.

What if the Spurs turned their attention to available players from the Boston Celtics? According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Roman Shelburne, after giving Gordon Hayward a 4-year, $128 million deal, the Celtics are looking to unload at least one of Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley or Jae Crowder to clear cap space.

Given that the Spurs don’t have clear-cut cap room for most, if not all three players, some financial maneuvering may have to be done. Aside from that, would there even be a fit on the current roster?

BOSTON, MA – MAY 25: Marcus Smart
BOSTON, MA – MAY 25: Marcus Smart /

Marcus Smart

The guard position became a position of change for the San Antonio Spurs over the past few seasons. It saw the emergence of Danny Green as the starting two-guard, along with the drafting of Dejounte Murray and Derrick White.

If the Spurs were to acquire Marcus Smart, he would just be the latest young piece to this group of guards. If anything, he may be the most intriguing and likely piece to be moved to San Antonio, if the Celtics were to consider a trade with them.

Smart is only owed $4.5 million for next season, which fits into the $13 million of cap space. It’s for just one more season, as well, so he could come cheaper.

However, the lesser price comes with the inconsistent production in Boston. Smart excelled as a defender, something that could turn him into a role player on Gregg Popovich’s bench. He’s a tough, hard-nosed player that’s sometimes out of control on the offensive end.

Why is this the case? Well, Smart shot just 35 percent from the field and 28 percent on 3-pointers. This came in 30.5 minutes of play in the 2016-17 season, along with 4.2 3-point attempts per game. For someone to shoot them that often, only to make just over one-quarter of them, is concerning. Nearly half of his shots came from beyond the arc, too.

By bringing in Smart, Popovich would have to reel his shot closer to the basket and make him a role player. That’s not an ideal spot for a player that got selected at No. 6 overall in 2014, but with the defensive skills already there, the Oklahoma State product can work off the bench. If his 3-point shot can be contained, then there’s a chance of making him a more efficient player.

Next: Jae Crowder

CLEVELAND, OH – MAY 21: Jae Crowder
CLEVELAND, OH – MAY 21: Jae Crowder /

Jae Crowder

One of the best contracts in the NBA belongs to Jae Crowder. He’s owed a total of just over $20 million for the next three seasons, which looks like a bargain with the current rate of contracts and his developing game.

At 6-foot-6, Crowder proved to be a capable starter at the wing spots. He took off as a 3-point shooter, hitting 39.8 percent of these shots in 2016-17, after not topping 33 percent for his career. The defensive prowess was already there from college, so this only made the Marquette product a more well-rounded player.

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Given Crowder’s contract, it’s possible the Spurs won’t have the assets to acquire him. However, if they managed to give up the necessary young pieces or draft picks, then there would somewhat be a fit for him in the Alamo City.

Kawhi Leonard mans the small forward spot for the Spurs, so that would push Crowder to shooting guard. However, the latter man doesn’t have the athleticism to go to the two spot, despite being an active player. It’s better suited for under the basket, or to cover a team’s three or undersized four. Leonard has a longer wingspan and is taller, as well, which could throw a lineup out of sorts.

Crowder doesn’t fit the mold of a sixth man, either. He’s an energy player, but won’t score in bunches. The consistency is there, except as the starting small forward, which won’t happen in San Antonio.

Next: Avery Bradley

Avery Bradley

Avery Bradley is the most expensive option of the three, as he’s owed a salary of nearly $9 million for next season. The San Antonio Spurs can absorb this, but it would mostly take them out of free agency and re-signing Jonathon Simmons, unless a contract like Danny Green’s was moved somewhere else.

On a one-year deal, Bradley would step in as the veteran starter San Antonio could use. With the current look of the roster, one of Dejounte Murray, Patty Mills or Derrick White would start the year at point guard. Murray and Mills combined for just 18 starts, while White was only drafted in June. Bradley makes up for it, with 340 career starts.

This 2010 NBA Draft pick grew from someone who put up role player stats, to quality starter numbers. At times, it came at the point guard spot since he’s just 6-foot-2. What Bradley loses in size, he makes up for in defensive ability and shooting. He’s arguably the best on-ball defender in Boston and one of their top perimeter shooters, as evidenced by his career mark of 36 percent.

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There’s a decent chance that Bradley joins the Spurs as a rental, given his contract status and the increasing salaries of NBA players. That’s something San Antonio rarely invests in, so it’s possible they stay away from this potential trade scenario. The fit is there, though, as the starting point guard for next season, with the ability to play next to Murray, Mills or White at shooting guard.