Former San Antonio Spurs center Dewayne Dedmon is disgruntled in Sacramento and the Spurs need need help in the frontcourt, so a reunion could make sense.
On December 15, players signed in the 2019 offseason officially became eligible for trade, signalling the start of NBA Trade season. Although we’ve only seen one deal so far (a swap of Jordan Clarkson and Dante Exum between Utah and Cleveland), the San Antonio Spurs should be inclined to make a move and improve playoff chances.
One way to help this team is grow is to trade for a versatile center. It’s obvious that head coach Gregg Popovich is reluctant to play center Jakob Poeltl extended minutes because he is, to put it plainly, a one-trick pony. That never stopped Pop in the past – he still gives extended minutes to declining sharpshooter Marco Belinelli – but it seems to be bothering him nowadays.
This all coincides with a peculiar situation brewing for the Sacramento Kings, a team that knocked on the door of the playoffs for the first time in many moons just one season ago. Things aren’t going great for the 12th-seeded Kings with injuries to their two young cornerstones – Marvin Bagley III and De’Aaron Fox – causing major concern.
But even the injury to their young big man Bagley hasn’t opened up much playing time for veteran big man Dewayne Dedmon, who the Kings signed to a three-year, $40-million contract in the Summer to space the floor and compliment their young players.
Now that Dedmon openly wants out and the Spurs are having a hard time with their center rotation, a reunion could be beneficial to all parties.
Next: Dedmon's growth, and a sudden regression in Sacramento
Dedmon’s growth, and a sudden regression in Sacramento
This isn’t the same version of Dewayne Dedmon that played 17.5 minutes per game across 76 games for the Spurs in the 2016-17 season. Upon signing with the Atlanta Hawks on a two-year deal that offseason, Dedmon showed the world that there was more to his game than just rim running and rebounding.
Dedmon became a versatile offensive player after being ingrained with corporate knowledge of the Spurs way. He took everything he learned from the course of his career and carved out a sizeable role for the Hawks, averaging 10.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and a block per game in two seasons in the East.
What enticed the Kings to allocate a juicy contract to the hardworking veteran was his floor spacing ability. Dedmon shot 37.2% from three-point land in those two years, providing invaluable floor spacing without relinquishing his traditional rim-running, stable post play and daunting rim protection. He’s not a big name, but Dedmon has a big impact on the teams around him and the Kings haven’t taken advantage of that at all.
While in Sacramento, Dedmon’s shooting has fallen off, but he also hasn’t been given ample opportunity to shoot his way out of it. In an interview with the Sacramento Bee, Dedmon alluded to Kings coach Luke Walton allowing two other projected starters (Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes) to shoot their way out of the slump and he hasn’t been treated with the same level of respect.
It’s not a great sign that he’s shooting 42% from the field and 23% from three, but it’s not all his fault. The Kings haven’t been a good offense without De’Aaron Fox for an extended period of time and Walton doesn’t have an exemplary track record as a leader quite yet.
If the Spurs were to make a deal and return him to their team, Dedmon’s shooting splits are guaranteed to rise because he’d simply be getting better shots in this team-based offense.
Next: Making a low-risk, high-reward trade
Making a low-risk, high-reward trade
As mentioned in the previously mentioned Sacramento Bee article, it was stated that the Kings would seek a trade for Dedmon that “… a league source told The Bee any deal would have to make sense for the team and its future.”
Though the Spurs wouldn’t and shouldn’t attach any young assets to a deal, there is a swap of veterans that could make sense for all parties. Sacramento intends to build around it’s young core and decided this offseason to bring in veterans to help move the process along. There’s a pair of veterans on the Spurs’ roster that could help the Kings keep cap flexibility moving into next offseason while adding valuable locker room guys.
ESPN’s trade machine indicates that a swap of forward DeMarre Carroll and Belinelli for Dedmon is a fair and legal trade. The Spurs could potentially inquire about a protected or future first-rounder for taking on what the Kings may now see as a risky, long-term contract. This is less likely, but a second-rounder could also work.
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The Spurs could potentially inquire about a protected or future first-rounder for taking on what the Kings may now see as a risky, long-term contract. This is less likely, but a second-rounder could also work.
Carroll is rotting away on the Spurs bench after signing a three-year, $21 million deal this Summer and it makes no sense to keep him around if another team could put his time to proper use.
This would also eliminate the many defensive issues caused by Belinelli’s horrid defense. Sacramento could opt to waive him and his $5 million expiring contract, or let him ride the bench/soak up limited time before he enters unrestricted free agency in 2020.
None of these players are making waves for their respective teams and the salary matches up, so it could be a good opportunity to try something new and help revamp this roster. Integrating Dedmon shouldn’t be particularly hard since he knows the system and coaching staff already.
This would give both Dedmon and Carroll the chance to prove themselves after being lured into situations they never would’ve expected this Summer.