Appointed general manager in the offseason, San Antonio Spurs executive Brian Wright settled this summer and needs to prove himself at the trade deadline.
Midway through the season, it’s wildly apparent that the steady San Antonio Spurs are no longer the powerhouse they once were. Sitting outside of the playoff picture at the ninth seed with a 5-5 record in their last 10 games, the Spurs appear directionless with a glut of players who fit drastically different timelines from each other.
On one hand, you’ve got 34-year-old LaMarcus Aldridge finally accepting the modern NBA and stepping outside for three-point jumpers. Wing DeMar DeRozan is playing the best ball of his life as a member of the silver and black, as is Spurs bench mob legend Patty Mills. San Antonio has enough of a veteran foundation to start competing at a high level again, as long as they add more similar talent to fulfill the group’s needs.
On the other hand, the youth movement in San Antonio is in full swing with starting point guard Dejounte Murray back at full strength and extended to a longterm contract. Both Derrick White and Lonnie Walker are growing into themselves this season with the potential to make waves on both ends of the floor and two first-round rookies, Luka Samanic and Keldon Johnson, are progressing extremely well in the G-League.
I say all this to make the point that the Spurs need to decide on their path with a crucial offseason in sight. Does the rebuild finally take place in San Antonio, or is it time to part ways with some of this young talent to go all-in on a playoff push to take advantage of the veterans’ talent?
This decision falls in the hands of newly-appointed general manager Brian Wright. When chosen to succeed in the role of Spurs CEO R.C. Buford in the offseason, it was very obvious that Wright was clueless as to which direction he’d choose. The only player that was extended is the aforementioned Murray, who fans would’ve rioted had he not been given a longterm contract to remain a Spur.
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Wright decided to re-sign Gay, sign forlorn DeMarre Carroll to a three-year deal and add journeyman Trey Lyles to the roster in place of the infamous Marcus Morris. Essentially, he settled for no direction and another season running it back with a similar group.
If Wright doesn’t do anything to correct his course this season, he will have failed his first season. San Antonio will finish out the season between 7-and-10 in the West with mediocre odds for a high first-round pick and still, no direction.
The Spurs could potentially lose DeRozan, their best player at this juncture, to a player option this summer that would derail all that they have done to build a playoff contender. They have multiple expiring contracts and a restricted free agent in Jakob Poeltl. This summer they’ll be forced to decide on a direction, so they might as well accelerate that process by choosing which direction to follow and course-correcting for it by the trade deadline.
If Wright doesn’t make any moves and stands pat at the deadline this year, the Spurs’ future outlook will become bleak.