Now might be a better time than ever for the San Antonio Spurs to get in on an offseason trade with their best draft pick and a wide pool of talent.
The San Antonio Spurs don’t make very many trades. This is an organization that builds from within through free agency and the draft to put a competent and reliable squad on the court every single season. Then again, the San Antonio Spurs don’t miss the playoffs either, but they dropped out of the postseason picture for the first time since the late-90s.
So many it’s time to start taking feelers for some big-time trades. It seems like every NBA offseason brings mobility to a degree that teams never expected. Stars swapped teams left and right in the 2019 offseason, building duos throughout the NBA as San Antonio brought along Trey Lyles as their major free-agent acquisition.
Spurs gonna pull a nets situation. "Hey wanna play with your buddy whos also worth the max. Well we got room for BOTH of you. Not many others do" https://t.co/o0ZryHY6hw
— TheFadeaway (@TheFadeawayPod) August 21, 2020
Bringing talent to a small market like San Antonio isn’t easy without overpaying, which is something that’s put this team in trouble in the past. However, the team may be more inclined to pursue one of the many players looking for a change of scenery during the 2020 offseason. While there are no players with public trade requests at this time, that’s not a certainty for the rest of the year.
Losing doesn’t sit well with top NBA talent and for some, the idea of teaming up with another top talent is what brings the most success. However, that’s not the case with every superstar. There are still a lot of players in this league that are team-oriented and want to learn from the best to be the best. These three star players, each of which would have good reason to ask out of their current situation, all make sense for the Spurs’ culture one way or another.
Next: #1 — The heart of the Sixers
The San Antonio Spurs are a perfect landing spot for a disgruntled Joel Embiid.
Going down three games to none against a division rival has to be taking a mental toll on Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid. Ultimately, Embiid just wants to be the best version of himself on the court and compete at the highest level. This Sixers team isn’t built well around Embiid as the leadership has spent the last two years throwing around heinous amounts of money and trade assets to make something work.
Nothing is working and right now, Embiid is sitting down 0-3 against a Boston Celtics team that he’s clashed with many times before now. None of his teammates are stepping up in the absence of former No. 1 pick Ben Simmons and even when Simmons is on the court, the Sixers still have a plethora of issues. It’s not a well-constructed or coached group at this point with obvious miscommunication between leadership and those in charge of basketball elements for the squad.
“I don’t want to be swept…I’ve been playing my butt off”
Joel Embiid is determined to not get swept by the Celtics
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 22, 2020
Embiid is at 30 points and 13 rebounds per game in three consecutive Sixers losses. Despite having more money tied up than almost any team, Philly still doesn’t have a cohesive rotation figured out and won’t be able to afford a segment of their players next season. Sooner or later, Embiid is going to hit his breaking point with this organization and the Spurs need to be ready.
Having a player of Embiid’s talent level and potential could be franchise-altering. It’s not easy to build around a center in the modern NBA, but with a head coach like Gregg Popovich running the show, the Spurs would instantly become a dark horse candidate to win the Western Conference.
Next: #2 — A perennial snub
In the San Antonio Spurs system, Bradley Beal would learn how to win as a pro.
There is no evidence to suggest that the Washington Wizards are going to adequately build around their star shooting guard, Bradley Beal. By this point in his progression, Beal makes scoring look easy. He’s a surefire scorer who can create space for himself and others with relative ease. It’s been eight seasons since Beal entered the league and every year, he’s shown steady progression.
However, the Wizards have regressed to the mean. This is an organization that’s failed time and time again to build around star players. Their best season in recent memory was in 2016-17 when they won 49 games and lost to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Since then, the Wizards have finished eighth, eleventh and ninth in the weaker conference.
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— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) August 20, 2020
Their cap sheet is dominated by Beal and John Wall, who missed the entire season due to injury. That combination hasn’t been able to get over the hump and won’t be able to employ much help without dipping into the luxury tax. They’ve drafted decently well in recent years, securing Troy Brown Jr. and Rui Hachimura, but neither of those players has shown they can push this team to the next level by this point.
By the accounts of many, Beal’s time as a Wizard is ticking down and every losing season should push him closer to asking out. He’s under contract through 2022-23 and the likelihood of him finishing that contract in the nation’s capital feels unlikely barring something drastic.
If he becomes available, Beal is the kind of talent that San Antonio could build a playoff team around.
Next: #3 — It's over before it started
Brandon Ingram wouldn’t be in someone’s shadow with the San Antonio Spurs.
Team scenarios are crucial to the success, development and confidence of a young player. Being the second-fiddle to the No. 1 draft pick isn’t something that first-time All-Star Brandon Ingram expected to handle in his first year with the New Orleans Pelicans. First, he was forced to adapt to LeBron’s first season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Then, he was thrust into a situation where he was asked to take over as a placeholder for someone else.
It’d only be natural for Ingram, a former No. 2 pick, to feel like he’d rather be somewhere that’ll cater to his game. This offseason, Ingram is fit to enter restricted free agency and if he’s unhappy with his situation, Ingram could ask for the Pelicans to facilitate a sign-and-trade. That’s something San Antonio could insert themselves into with a plethora of assets including their highest draft pick in the modern era.
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With Ingram at the small forward spot, the Spurs would have a legitimate go-to guy with size and natural scoring instinct to build around. When he’s engaged, Ingram is a viable defensive player, but playing for one of the worst defensive teams in New Orleans kept him from reaching that ceiling. The Spurs wouldn’t require him to carry the offensive load alone, which helps any player assert themselves on the defensive end.
Believe it or not, the Spurs don’t have a natural small forward. Their rookie, Keldon Johnson is the closest thing to a small forward at 6-foot-5 with a physical play style. Most of the season, the small forward minutes were split between DeRozan, Belinelli and Walker. Each of those players is a natural shooting guard playing out of position at the three.
Having a go-to player that fits the timeline of the young core sets a clear outlook for this franchise.
If there’s any way to get Ingram on their team, they should insert themselves into that conversation.