San Antonio Spurs News

Spurs Rumors: Should they be interested in Mike Conley or Marc Gasol?

MEMPHIS, TN - NOVEMBER 16: Marc Gasol #33 and Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies looks on against the Sacramento Kings on November 16, 2018 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
MEMPHIS, TN - NOVEMBER 16: Marc Gasol #33 and Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies looks on against the Sacramento Kings on November 16, 2018 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – NOVEMBER 18: Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlie and Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies prior to the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on November 18, 2018 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – NOVEMBER 18: Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlie and Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies prior to the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on November 18, 2018 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

Mike Conley and Marc Gasol are currently the biggest names on the trade market, and some Spurs rumors have connected them to San Antonio.

Spurs rumors about what San Antonio will do at the trade deadline have been heating up as they’ve been connected with many different players that could be on the market.

Those rumors now include their divisional foes in Memphis who are reportedly willing to move on from the building blocks of the Grit N’ Grind era in order to begin their rebuild.

In theory, the two weakest positions in the Spurs’ starting lineup are point guard and center, so many pundits are wondering whether San Antonio would be a logical landing place for either of the two faces of the Grizzlies’ franchise.

SB Nation’s Kristian Winfield even went so far as to construct a possible deal for one of them in ESPN’s trade machine.

Let’s take a look at each individual case and see if they would be logical moves for the Spurs’ franchise.

Next: Mike Conley

MEMPHIS, TN – NOVEMBER 27: Marc Gasol #33 and Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies before the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 27, 2018 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
MEMPHIS, TN – NOVEMBER 27: Marc Gasol #33 and Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies before the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 27, 2018 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Mike Conley

If the Spurs were getting the Mike Conley of five years ago, they might be busting down the door in Memphis and offering multiple picks to acquire a point guard in his prime that would fit what San Antonio likes to do on both ends of the floor.

Unfortunately, Conley’s best days are probably behind him.

With a checkered injury history at the age of 31 and an absolutely massive contract (five years, $152 million) that runs through the 2020-21 season, there is an enormous risk that a team wouldn’t get much of a return on investment in a Mike Conley trade.

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The Spurs may have thought about this deal harder in the preseason after Dejounte Murray went down with a torn ACL.

Since then, Derrick White has rounded into form in his second season with the Spurs, Bryn Forbes is in the midst of the best year of his career, and Patty Mills has been as solid as ever coming off of the bench.

SB Nation’s article suggested that the Spurs should give up Patty Mills, Rudy Gay, Dante Cunningham, and Lonnie Walker for Mike Conley and Omri Casspi. I don’t think San Antonio would be getting good value in that deal at all because I’m not sure Conley is a better player than Rudy Gay at this point in their careers.

I think San Antonio feeels good enough about their current point guard situation to avoid making a risky trade for a point guard who is past his prime.

Next: Marc Gasol

NEW ORLEANS, LA – DECEMBER 7: Marc Gasol #33 and Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies high five during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on December 7, 2018 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA – DECEMBER 7: Marc Gasol #33 and Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies high five during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on December 7, 2018 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Marc Gasol

I think Marc Gasol is a more realistic trade target for the Spurs.

Gregg Popovich hasn’t shown a ton of confidence in Jakob Poeltl or Pau Gasol this season, so he’s been forced to play LaMarcus Aldrdge at the five more than he’d like to.

Marc’s three-point shot would add some much-needed spacing to the starting lineup, and he still ranks among the top 12 centers in defensive real plus-minus.

Related Story. Exploring a potential Markelle Fultz trade

Gasol is in the midst of another solid season in Memphis, but he turns 34 in a matter of days and San Antonio should be wary about giving up any future assets for an aging big man.

There is also a strong possiblity that Marc picks up his $25 million player option next offseason which would prevent the Spurs from going after a big name free agent like Kristaps Porzingis this summer.

While the idea of another Gasol on the Spurs is tantalizing, let’s determine what they would have to give up in a potential deal with the Grizz.

Next: What the Spurs would have to give up

MEMPHIS, TN – DECEMBER 14:Marc Gasol #33 hi-fives Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies on December 14, 2018 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
MEMPHIS, TN – DECEMBER 14:Marc Gasol #33 hi-fives Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies on December 14, 2018 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

What the Spurs would have to give up

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Neither the Spurs or Grizzlies currently have any room under the salary cap this year, so they would have to match the salaries of ingoing and outgoing players to get a deal done.

After fiddling around on the trade machine, I found that Pau Gasol and Patty Mills for Marc Gasol would work salary-wise.

Obviously that wouldn’t be enough to get a deal done, so the Spurs would probably have to send Lonnie Walker to Memphis and get Omri Casspi from the Grizz.

While I would be okay with shipping Pau and Patty elsewhere for a solid piece at the trade deadline, I would not be willing to send Lonnie Walker in a trade this season.

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Next. The San Antonio Spurs should trade for Aaron Gordon

After seeing what Derrick White has done in his second season after spending most of his rookie year in the G League, I’m not ready to give up on Lonnie Walker that easily. And Walker’s value is probably lower than it was on draft night after playing in only one NBA game this season.

I just don’t see any deals for Conley or Gasol that make much sense for the Spurs.

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