Another NBA trade deadline has come and gone without the San Antonio Spurs making as much as a single trade despite their plummeting record.
It happened again.
Fans bide their time, patiently awaiting 3:00 EST in early-February for the NBA Trade Deadline and while the San Antonio Spurs could probably use a makeover, they just never seem to bite the bullet. Reports indicated trade buzz surrounding various players in San Antonio, and yet the deadline passed and the only tidbit of news to come out was Chris B. Haynes reporting that San Antonio told DeMar DeRozan he wouldn’t be traded.
If the start to this season had begun a bit differently, maybe it would make sense to let another deadline pass without making a change, but this one is different. These Spurs don’t have the same foundation of success to keep steady with, as the only remaining championship players are a resurgent Patty Mills and his regressing pal Marco Belinelli, who could’ve at least warranted some cash considerations or a draft pick if traded.
There’s no more Big Three to bail the team out unless assistant coach Tim Duncan decides to swap his suit for a jersey, and there is no more Manu Magic to inject the team with some fight. Now we’re faced with a reality that San Antonio hasn’t needed to deal with in over two decades: The Spurs aren’t likely to make the playoff this year.
The Rodeo Road Trip is especially grueling this year, and the first two games started off against teams that many consider the two favorites to win the Western Conference. San Antonio’s veterans aren’t playing the same, and their young core isn’t quite ready for the next step into the limelight.
Barring a buyout or waiving of forward DeMarre Carroll, whose fit with San Antonio has been horrendous through the early portion of the year, there doesn’t seem to be any roster change in sight. There is no cavalry coming, so it’s time for the Spurs to step up to the challenge and become the best version of themselves or fade into oblivion as every franchise must at some point in time.
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I wrote about countless potential trades and targets to consider this deadline. Multiple star names were floated around, and heaps of teams engaged in deals that the Spurs would’ve benefitted from taking part in. Whether it be trading youth for vets, the inverse or something in between, general manager Brian Wright sat idly by and accepted a bleak fate.
If DeRozan walks in the offseason for nothing, and the Spurs end up with RFA Jakob Pöltl and sophomore Keldon Johnson in return for MVP-candidate Kawhi Leonard, they have failed their retooling. That should officially mark the end of this era of Spurs basketball and the beginning of this next wave.
It’s not all bad though, as San Antonio’s rising talent is strong enough to be the base of a riveting rejuvenation in years to come. There are three rookies including Johnson that are showing out with the Spurs’ G-League affiliate and eight players aged 25 or younger that are learning from the greatest coach this sport has ever known in Gregg Popovich.
I know a lot of you are disappointed about this trade deadline, and rightfully so, but it’s time for the Spurs’ fanbase to accept that nothing lasts forever, even dynasties as strong as this one.