San Antonio Spurs: What would a Gregg Popovich trade with the Nets look like?
By Dylan Carter
All of this talk about the Brooklyn Nets trading for San Antonio Spurs leader Gregg Popovich is blasphemous without a serious offer on the table.
After spending nearly all of his NBA career as the leader of the San Antonio Spurs, the likelihood of franchise mastermind Gregg Popovich leaving is little to none. That’s a sentiment that’s widely agreed upon around the league despite yers of conflicting noise coming from outside of the organization. Still, the Brooklyn Nets are in hot pursuit of Pop, according to a recent report, which leads to one pressing question:
What would it take for the Spurs to trade Gregg Popovich to the Nets?
Everything in life is invaluable until you put a price on it and at 71-years-old, Popovich is likely at the tail end of his coaching career. With that in mind, compensation for the final years of his career may be worth swapping the legendary coach. There is one condition: Popovich must be interested in the job. If the Spurs traded Popovich to enter a situation that he didn’t want to be in, it would be a horrible tone to set for a franchise that prides itself on a family-first attitude.
Inside Pass on @TheAthleticNBA: Sources say the Nets are interested in Spurs icon Gregg Popovich and will explore possibility as head coaching search begins. https://t.co/FgEaC3whXR
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 24, 2020
So if Popovich is on-board, there are a few routes to go. If there are no players involved, the Spurs need to get as much draft compensation back as possible. There’s very little precedent for coaches being traded, but former Spurs player Doc Rivers was traded to the LA Clippers for a first-round draft pick. A first-round pick alone won’t be enough to make this deal work.
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San Antonio would need at least three first-round draft picks in this deal. That would start with Brooklyn’s No. 19 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. After that, I suggest giving the Spurs first-round pick swaps with the Nets in 2022 and again in 2024, which is the first season after both Durant and Irving become unrestricted free agents.
The other option is involving players in the deal. There are only three players that San Antonio should have interest in from the Nets, excluding their stars: Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and Spencer Dinwiddie. They’re each proven, to an extent, with playoff experience and a great deal of development to boast. However, they’re far from finished products and each has room to grow in this Spurs system.
Including some of those rising talents in a deal would make it a lot more palpable. Regardless, trading Popovich for picks feels wrong for the silver and black. Having Pop around to steer the ship as San Antonio rides into a new era is the best-case scenario for the franchise, even if it means avoiding all of that extra draft capital.
In all likelihood, Popovich is staying put in his home — The Alamo City.