San Antonio Spurs: 3 Players who Could be Traded this Offseason
By Cory Vega
With the initial flurry of free agency over, now is the time to take a deep breath and evaluate the San Antonio Spurs’ trade possibilities this offseason.
The San Antonio Spurs have a sheer influx of combo wingers and guards after their series of moves this offseason.
Is this a major problem? No. Will it hamper the Spurs’ success next season? Absolutely not.
But the Spurs now have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA after they picked up DeMarre Carroll on a very smart and cheap deal for a player of his talents. And they could capitalize on knowing that some teams are already interested in the players the Spurs could potentially part with.
It’s no secret that the Spurs are continuing to look for a big man that could push Jakob Pöeltl for playing time, or even replace him. If they decide not to go back into free agency to add a player or two, they have quality depth that will entice teams to call the front office and inquire about a trade.
Now, let’s look at three players the Spurs could deal away this offseason.
Next: Davis Bertans
At this point, mostly every Spurs fan can see Bertans being traded.
New free agent acquisition DeMarre Carroll is essentially an upgrade at Bertans’s position and leaves him as an odd man out in a crowded team. He simply would not see many minutes behind both Gay and Carroll next season.
As written by fellow Air Alamo writer Andrew Ites in an article that discussed the recent trade rumors surrounding the Latvian forward, Bertans has one year left on a two-year, $14.5 million deal and the Spurs would hate to lose Bertans for nothing as an unrestricted free agent next summer.
This situation puts the Spurs in prime position to cash in on a quality depth piece at forward with a killer three point shot.
Many teams would love that kind of player on their team, even if his defensive and ball handling skills are below par.
Who would the Spurs target in a potential Bertans deal?
We don’t know exactly what San Antonio would be looking for, but any reliable center on an expiring contract would be fair game.
Pounding the Rock writer Jesus Gomez even mentions Mason Plumlee as an intriguing option.
Meyers Leonard, fresh off his trade with the Heat and Blazers, and the experienced Timofey Mozgov are two notable centers with expiring contracts that the Spurs could also target on the trade market.
Out of everyone on the Spurs’ roster, Bertans has the highest chance of being traded, especially now that DeMarre Carroll is in town.
Next: Patty Mills
Yes, Patty has truly become a beloved Spur and has provided us with some great moments with his energy and three-pointers, but let’s face the stone cold facts: Patty is now on the wrong side of 30 and he’s on a pretty bad contract ($13 mil per year until 2021).
He’s still a reliable player, but his play has slowed down a bit as he ages. And now with Dejounte Murray back, his minutes will certainly trend downward next season.
Derrick White and Lonnie Walker are also capable of stealing minutes away from Patty knowing how well those two are developing.
Like Bertans, Mills figures to be an odd man out and could sadly see an exit this offseason.
Generally the Spurs would be looking for the same targets as they would in a Bertans trade: centers on expiring contracts.
We just don’t know if there’s a team out there that would be willing to take on Mills’ contract at his age. The Knicks could be a potential landing spot considering they’re not looking to contend this year anyways.
Many teams would sadly see Patty as a negative asset because of his contract and his flaws on the defensive end of the floor, but it wouldn’t hurt for the Spurs to explore some options for him.
Next: Derrick White
Now’s here where the Spurs could get real creative with some trades.
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Many Spurs fans would think “why would they trade such a promising guard?” The answer is almost the same reason why they would trade Patty: the Spurs simply have too many guards.
Dejounte Murray is back so the point guard spot will likely be his again, and Lonnie Walker’s raw talent and improvement means he’ll claim some minutes at the guard position as well. And it will be hard for Gregg Popovich to resist giving some playing time to his trusted veteran Patty Mills if San Antonio holds on to him.
Not to mention many teams would kill for a guard like White.
He’s young, flexible, a great perimeter defender, and a player who is capable of putting up points like we saw in the Game Three win over the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs where he put up 36 points, five rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block.
Yes, he lacks a reliable three point shot, but he’s continuing to improve on that.
The Spurs would definitely receive better offers than potential Bertans and Patty Mills deals if they decided to put White on the table.
One deal the Spurs could pull off would be for another budding star, Pacers center Domantas Sabonis. As Bleacher Report writer Greg Swartz put it, this deal would satisfy both teams’ needs at guard and center respectively.
For the Pacers, that need arose mainly because of Darren Collison‘s unexpected retirement.
A likely trade partner for them whould be the Spurs, who’s roster is overflowing with young and talented guards.
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Sending out a promising young guard in a trade would sting a bit, but if the Spurs could get someone like Sabonis in return, it would make it all worth it.