Mar 18, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) looks to pass as Golden State Warriors power forward Draymond Green (23) and Andrew Bogut (12) defend. (Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports)
To make a LaMarcus Aldridge deal with Golden State work, the San Antonio Spurs may need to get a third team involved and Sacramento is a good fit.
The buzz surrounding a LaMarcus Aldridge trade with Golden State for the No. 2 pick grows louder and quite frankly, it’s the best-case scenario for the San Antonio Spurs. However, it’s nearly impossible to pull off unless the Spurs take back Andrew Wiggins‘ contract or involve a third team. This is where the Sacramento Kings could make a splash this offseason.
Devising a three-team trade that works for all parties is no easy task — Especially in an offseason with huge expectations. While there may not be a ton of financial flexibility or big names on the free-agent market, trades and draft picks are supposed to go flying off the shelves once the trade hold is lifted. For the first time in quite a long time, eyes are on the San Antonio Spurs to make a proactive move that pushes the franchise in a new direction.
Golden State has been linked to LaMarcus Aldridge numerous times as the veteran big man on an expiring contract can contribute to a team getting back on its feet. Meanwhile, the Spurs have their eye on the prize this year, aiming to make a splash in their first NBA Draft lottery appearance since 1997 when they picked Tim Duncan No. 1 overall.
Before we go too far off the rails, let’s break down the trade proposal and why it works for all three parties involved.
Next: Making the trade
Dec 12, 2018; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield (24) is traded to the San Antonio Spurs, Aldridge goes to the Warriors and Wiggins goes to the Kings. (Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports)
San Antonio Spurs pull off a three-team deal with the Warriors and Kings.
Tension between the Kings and shooting guard Buddy Hield has grown louder with each passing season and quite frankly, he’ll need a new home sooner rather than later. Therefore, the team may be enticed to engage in trade conversations — Even if it’s not part of a traditional two-team trade.
In this scenario, the San Antonio Spurs send LaMarcus Aldridge to Golden State, getting the No. 2 pick in return. The Warriors send Andrew Wiggins to the Kings and the Spurs send their No. 11 to the Kings, getting the sharpshooter Hield in return. Lastly, the Kings send Richuan Holmes to Golden State to sweeten the deal and make the rest of the finances work.
Everyone addresses important issues with their roster in this deal. For the San Antonio Spurs, it’s a chance to jump up and select from an elite group of players near the top of the 2020 NBA Draft class. For Sacramento, it ensures a strong return for someone who’s halfway out the door already and for the Warriors, it addresses a hole in the frontcourt while getting off of Wiggins’ deal.
This deal would send waves throughout the league with three teams shifting direction.
Next: Why would the Warriors do it?
Nov 1, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; A detailed view of the tattoos on San Antonio Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge (12) against the Golden State Warriors in the third quarter at the Chase Center. (Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports)
The Warriors enter win-now mode with Aldridge from the San Antonio Spurs.
After a year away, the Golden State Warriors aim to return back and better than ever. An ACL tear suffered by potential Hall of Famer Klay Thompson during the 2019 NBA Finals derailed the Warriors before they ever had a fighting chance. That, combined with the departure of Kevin Durant and frequent injuries throughout the season for Steph Curry forced them into an impromptu tank job for the No. 1 pick.
Things worked out swimmingly for Golden State, earning the No. 2 pick in a draft with endless possibilities. My primary expectation was that the Warriors would use the pick and move along to free agency, using their prowess and hardware to win over veteran free agents in a barren market. Instead, they may find themselves seeking more firepower to compete immediately.
"He's one of the best low-post players in the league. It’s a dying breed.” – Steve Kerr
HBD 7 x All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge!LeBron, Melo & Pau are the only active players with more 2PT FGS. pic.twitter.com/PxTdlB4VMS
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) July 19, 2020
By making this trade, the Warriors commit to their immediate future while saving money on the cap bill. Aldridge expires after this season and most recently, the veteran big put his future ahead of this season with the Spurs by getting shoulder surgery and opting outof the Orlando restart. Though his numbers were down this season, Aldridge remains a 20-10 threat every time he steps onto the court and these days, he’s letting 3-pointers fly with confidence.
Beyond that, the Warriors bring in a backup center with bounce and underrated skill in Richuan Holmes, who’s on a favorable contract in Sacramento. There are few scenarios where the Warriors trade their pick and end up with two starting-caliiber players including a Hall of Famer. If Golden State’s ownership is prepared to let the future wait as they capitalize on the present, we could very easily see LaMarcus Aldridge win his first NBA championship with the Warriors in 2021.
Next: Why would the Kings do it?
March 1, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors wing Andrew Wiggins (22) shoots the basketball during the third quarter against the Washington Wizards at Chase Center. (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
The Kings maximize Hield’s value with Wiggins and the San Antonio Spurs’ pick.
Let’s be honest — The trade market for Buddy Hield isn’t great right now. Contracts details are more important than usual this offseason with a pandemic clogging lanes of revenue for teams and owners. If teams are going to trade for a $24.4 million shooting guard who won’t be a threat to make the All-Star game. All things considered, this is one of the best cases possible for Sacramento as an early step in the post-Vlade Divac era.
There’s a reason why this is a three-team deal in the first place: San Antonio shouldn’t be the team to take on Wiggins’ contract. While there’s a case to be made that playing for head coach Gregg Popovich could maximize Wiggins’ talent, it’s a risky deal to make. For a team like Sacramento sitting on the edge of playoff contention, Wiggins may bring a fresh perspective to this lineup.
Andrew Wiggins' debut with the Warriors
24 PTS8-12 FG3-4 3PT5 STL (season-high)3 AST2 REB1 BLK pic.twitter.com/84L04M4KDZ
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) February 9, 2020
Wiggins continues to evolve as a player after years of wasting away in Minnesota. He’s actually a talented player with a high scoring threshold whose defensive potential is endless based on physical tools and glimpses with the Warriors. During his 12 games with the Warriors, Wiggins contributed 1.4 blocks and 1.3 steals per game, using his length and athleticism to force his assignments into tricky situations. Despite the stigma against him, Wiggins can help a team get better. The primary issues are his shooting, which never came along and his overall streakiness.
However, Wiggins also comes with the draft pick right before theirs. It’s rare that a team gets to pick back-to-back and a team higher in the lottery may want to cash in some assets for that kind of opportunity when moving back. Draft equity is going to be huge in 2020.
Next: Why would the Spurs do it?
Feb 8, 2020; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield (24) celebrates after a basket against the San Antonio Spurs during the fourth quarter at Golden 1 Center. (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)
San Antonio Spurs usher in a new era with the No. 2 pick and Buddy Hield.
Maybe it isn’t what you thought you’d get out of this whole situation, but this is a pretty significant haul for the Spurs. By most accounts, Hield is one of the hardest workers there is and that falls in line with San Antonio’s culture. He’s also one of the most prolific 3-point shooters we have in today’s game and in a motion offense run by Gregg Popovich, Hield would thrive while taking over Bryn Forbes’ role from last year.
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San Antonio could also toy with a small-ball lineup similar to the successful three guard lineup that OKC ran this past season. Maybe he doesn’t fit the current roster all too well, but the prize of this deal is the No. 2 pick in a draft class that’s becoming a bit underrated. Just because there’s no Zion or Ja at the top doesn’t mean there isn’t a wealth of intriguing players in the class.
It’s not often that San Antonio has the chance to take the guy who’s No. 1 on their draft board. As a matter of fact, they’ve come to excel when picking players who slip at the end of the first round. Still, this gives a model franchise the chance to resculpt what Spurs basketball means and drafting No. 2 overall follows suit.
My preference is to take James Wiseman No. 2 overall. It’s not everyday you come across players who’re built like Wiseman and San Antonio’s storied dynasty is built off the foundation laid by its bigs. As the up-and-comer enters his first year as a pro, he’s found himself watching tape of Tim Duncan and David Robinson. If that’s who inspires him, San Antonio make them available to him as mentors and leaders — Once a Spur, always a Spur.
While this sacrifices some of the team’s cap flexibility, the San Antonio Spurs would be wise to orchestrate something of the sort.