The San Antonio Spurs rarely makes moves at the NBA Trade Deadline. If 2018 is the year, what assets do they have?
Two weeks from Thursday, the 2018 NBA Trade Deadline will arrive. It is the final day for teams, including the San Antonio Spurs, to make trades with other NBA teams before the All-Star Game takes place and the rest of the season commences.
The Spurs are not exactly “active” around the deadline, as they have not made a move on this day since 2014, shipping Nando De Colo to the Toronto Raptors for Austin Daye. Yeah, that’s not a headline.
Could 2018 be different? History indicates that it will not, but in a loaded Western Conference and a potential struggle for advancing in the NBA Playoffs, the Spurs could look toward the trade market. Of course, to pry another team’s assets, one must give their own. That may not be clear-cut for an organization that is not known for stockpiling young, high-upside players and picks, but pieces remain that can tempt other franchise. Who could this include?
Let’s get the draft picks out of the way. These are assets for any team, even if the selections happen near the bottom of Round 1. Just look at Dejounte Murray who was picked No. 29 in 2016. He’s no longer the point guard of the future, but of the present, and could be the case for a while. No. 29 in 2017, Derrick White, may have a future in the Alamo City, too.
So, a 2018 first-round pick may be more valuable than it seems. How far can it go toward getting the Spurs an impact player, though?
Speaking of White, while he may be a piece of the future, there might not be room for him at point guard, especially if Murray continues to grow into the starting role; and if Tony Parker re-signs in the offseason, sticking around as the backup.
This does not leave an opening for White. Maybe he gets future time at shooting guard if the Spurs change up this position in the offseason. But, for now, he is blocked.
While not a piece to lead a trade, the Colorado product can be used in a package to acquire a veteran. It may take another one to two pieces, depending on what the return is, of course, but this should be one of San Antonio’s most expendable assets.
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Entering the 2017-18 season, who could have thought Kyle Anderson would see major minutes and be a full-time starter? He took over Kawhi Leonard’s starting spot, who remains out of the lineup, and has delivered on both ends of the court. So, why does this make Anderson a potential trade chip?
If the Spurs target a scorer to play next to LaMarcus Aldridge, moving Anderson, a young and inexpensive piece, may make sense. The organization has few assets, like Anderson, as it is, so if they pursue one of the top players available, like Kemba Walker, then using this 24-year-old as trade bait may be inevitable.
Anderson will also hit restricted free agency in the offseason, and it is possible the Silver and Black get overwhelmed on an offer sheet. Could they avoid this drama and get something for “Slo-Mo” before this happens?
This is where the term “asset” gets complicated. Danny Green and his $10 million salary may be an expiring contract, but it can also extend into the 2018-19 season, pending he opts into his deal in July. So, any team that acquires Green could have him for more than this season’s final two months.
Using the former Tar Heel as trade bait stems from his contract. It can be used to pry an outside player of a higher salary — one who has at least one to two full years left on his contract. That would work toward a potential Walker deal, with younger pieces added from the Spurs’ side to formulate a transaction. Easier said than done, though.
If Green remains a Spur after the Trade Deadline and opts into his 2018-19 contract, his trade value may actually rise. That’s if the organization even considers dangling him in the market.
The list of assets may not be strong for the Spurs, but options remain if the team pursues anything before Feb. 8.