The San Antonio Spurs have typically avoided making mid-season trades, could this be the year they break that trend?
As the February 6th trade deadline approaches trade talks have been heating up around the league. With several big stars potentially on the move, it’s anyone guess as to how the next month plays out. Throughout their history, the San Antonio Spurs have typically avoided making big moves mid-season. Could this be the year they change things up?
It’s been a slow season for trades so far but things can heat up at a moment’s notice in this league. Limited paths to improvement could push teams to make deals now rather than wait to acquire talent this summer. With what looks to be a sub-par draft class and underwhelming free agency group, teams may be more inclined to improve their title chances through trades than they have in years past.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers have entrenched themselves at the top of their respective conferences as the presumptive title favorites. Below those two there’s a bunch of teams fighting for second place. Last year we saw how the Toronto Raptors rode their trade deadline acquisition of Marc Gasol all the way to a title. Their success could inspire other teams to make similar moves.
Currently sitting outside the playoff picture, the San Antonio Spurs could easily be buyers or sellers as the trade deadline approaches. With an intriguing mix of young players and veterans they could punt this season and go for a full rebuild or retool and chase their record-breaking 23rd consecutive playoff appearance.
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The most obvious of the Spurs trade assets is the scorching hot DeMar DeRozan. He was just named the Western Conference Player of the Week and has been playing out of his mind over the past few weeks.
According to a press release put out by the Spurs on the heels of DeRozan’s award, DeRozan has scored 20+ points, handed three-or-more assists and shot better than 52.0 percent in each of his past 11 games. He joins Michael Jordan and LeBron James as the only players to accomplish this feat in the last 35 years. That level of play drives his value up and could make him an appealing target of a contender looking to improve.
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DeRozan’s name has been floating around in trade rumors for a while now and there are a few Eastern Conference teams who could come calling as the deadline approaches. The Orlando Magic were rumored to have interest in DeMar earlier in the season and the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers would also be able to present compelling trade packages. The Spurs do play the Heat twice over the next week in what could be a try out of sorts for DeRozan.
Bryn Forbes and DeMarre Carroll are two other Spurs to keep your eye on. Forbes has made a name for himself as a three-point specialist and has been a fixture in the Spurs starting lineup all season. But his defensive limitations, impending unrestricted free agency, and the emergence of Lonnie Walker all combine to make a compelling case for the Spurs to move him before the deadline rather than see him walk away this summer.
DeMarre Carroll was brought in this summer to help stabilize the Spurs frontcourt and add some hard-nosed defense and three-point shooting to a team that desperately needed both. However, he’s sat on the bench for most of the season. Despite being healthy all year he has appeared in just 15 games and is averaging just nine minutes per contest when he does get to play.
Carroll has played under the brightest of lights and is exactly the kind of seasoned veteran that contenders typically look for at the deadline. His $7 million dollar salary isn’t too hefty and the Spurs clearly have no intention of playing him this year. It would be best for both parties to part ways amicably and trade Carroll to a contender for a draft pick or young prospect.
History would have you believe that the Spurs will stay out of the deadline craziness and defer to making changes this summer. But this has been anything but a typical season for the San Antonio Spurs, with under a month until the trade deadline there’s no telling what moves they could make.