Mar 31, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard DeMar DeRozan (10) talks to teammate LaMarcus Aldridge (12) during the second half against the Sacramento Kings at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Here’s a quick recap of the trade rumors involving San Antonio Spurs stars
With the 2020 NBA Draft and free agency rapidly approaching, the rumor mill is active and several San Antonio Spurs players have been mentioned in potential deals.
Although NBA front offices cannot make any trades or transactions until the moratorium period is lifted on November 16, that hasn’t stopped NBA writers and pundits from predicting some of the big names that could be moved during this offseason.
On the heels of missing the playoffs for the first time in 23 years, the San Antonio Spurs find themselves at an inflection point. With two aging stars in LaMarcus Aldridge (35 years old) and DeMar DeRozan (31 years old) and a cohort of young talent, it seems more than likely that the Spurs will break custom and become sellers ahead of and around the draft.
The rumblings around the league suggest the Spurs are ready to make some seismic changes this offseason.
Both DeRozan and Aldridge have been mainstays in the rumor mill for the better part of the last year. Assuming DeMar opts into his player option for the next season, both DeRozan and LMA will be on expiring deals this year, further incentivizing the move to deal one or both of these stars before losing them for nothing next summer.
With several potential deals circulating, let’s examine four recent trade rumors involving LMA and DeRozan.
Next: LMA to GSW?
LaMarcus Aldridge to Golden State Warriors for 2nd overall pick
Last week Spurs Twitter was put in a frenzy after ESPN’s Zach Lowe dropped a bomb involving Golden State’s No. 2 pick and LaMarcus on an episode of The Lowe Post.
“Someone within the league texted me today that hey, there’s a little bit of buzz about number two to San Antonio for LaMarcus Aldridge and number eleven. And obviously there would have to be salary going out.”
Like most past drafts, there’s been plenty of posturing and smokescreen surrounding which players teams are interested in or whose stock has been rising/falling. However, the consensus around the league is Golden State’s first-round pick is for sale.
Because the Warriors have been linked to other higher-caliber stars like Kelly Oubre Jr., Aaron Gordon, and others, most would scoff at the idea that Golden State would add the 35-year-old Aldridge. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so perhaps there’s something about the Spurs big that’s enticing for the Warriors.
LMA regressed slightly this year after being named an All-Star during the 2018-19 season, but still averaged nearly 19 PPG and 7.4 RPG while hitting a career-best 38.9 percent from three-point range.
The Warriors have always been a proponent of small-ball, but Aldridge would equip Dub Nation with a versatile big whose drastically improved three-point shot would help him fit it in with the Splash Bros.
This deal is virtually a no-brainer for San Antonio. The opportunity to unload a past-his-prime Aldridge and have their pick of the litter with potentially some combination of LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, or Deni Avdija still available is too good to pass up.
Next: DeRozan Joins KD and Kyrie In BKN
San Antonio Spurs send DeMar DeRozan to Brooklyn to contend for a title
Assuming DeRozan opts into his contract, a split between the former Raptors star and San Antonio seems like the most likely conclusion. DDR hasn’t elevated the Spurs to the next level and his fit in the Alamo City has always felt like putting a square peg in a round hole given his reliance on the mid-range game.
With a healthy KD and Kyrie back next season, the Nets could be looking to add a third star into the fold as they make a push to take their place as the top team in the Eastern Conference. DeRozan would give Brooklyn another established bucket-getter who can score in a variety of ways and his improvement as a facilitator would also be an intriguing aspect for new coach Steve Nash.
On the flip side, the Spurs would be more than happy to get LeVert in return.
After a gruesome leg injury in 2018 cut his season short, the 26-year-old bounced back last year, averaging roughly 19 PPG and showcasing plenty of exciting flashes, including a 51-point OT performance against the Celtics.
While the absences of KD and Kyrie opened up his chance to excel last year, LeVert would surely see his production drop off significantly with their return.
However, a fresh start in San Antonio would allow Caris to fully embrace his star potential and become the figurehead for the youth movement that’s been gathering steam since their impressive run during the Orlando restart.
The Spurs already have an exciting young nucleus with Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Lonnie Walker, and Keldon Johnson and the infusion of LeVert’s scoring abilities and playmaking skills would help this unit coalesce.
While LeVert would get much of the shine in this deal, Taurean Prince is no scrub and could be a sneaky good pickup as well, especially with his shooting stroke. Another 26-year-old, Prince averaged 12.1 PPG and 6 RPG while connecting on about 34 percent of his threes during his fourth season in the league.
Last year, the Spurs ranked 26th and 28th in three-pointers made and threes attempted, respectively. Swapping out a player like DeRozan, who’s practically allergic to shooting from behind the arc, for LeVert (1.8 3 PM) and Prince (2.3 3 PM) would be a welcome sight for Spurs fans and the offense.
Next: Aldridge Heads to Philly
San Antonio Spurs deal Aldridge to Philadelphia to solidify the frontcourt
Much like San Antonio, the Philadelphia 76ers are also in an interesting spot this offseason. The franchise decided to move on from Brett Brown after getting swept in the first round of the playoffs and subsequently hired Doc Rivers as the new head coach and Daryl Morey as the next president of basketball operations.
Most are uncertain how successful a Ben Simmons-Joel Embiid duo can be given what we’ve seen over the past few seasons, but perhaps Doc and Morey believe they can create a roster that brings out the best in both of them.
Although there have been rumors of Philly’s interest in trading for James Harden, a trade with the Spurs could be a more realistic avenue.
Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes outlined a package that has San Antonio acquiring Al Horford and Matisse Thybulle for LaMarcus and Patty Mills.
Philly’s Horford signing clearly hasn’t paid off the way they had hoped. He was an awkward fit playing alongside Embiid, so much so that the Sixers started bringing Al the bench to improve the spacing and flow.
Would an LMA-Embiid frontcourt be the answer? Maybe not, but this deal would provide the Sixers with a new wrinkle and some financial flexibility by shipping out Horford’s contract while bringing back two players in Aldridge and Mills who are both on expiring deals.
While Spurs fans might not love the idea of taking on Horford’s contract ($54.5 mil over the next two seasons), stylistically he would be a great fit for San Antonio. He’s an extremely skilled passing big, he’s a reliable three-point shooter and he’s a versatile defender.
But, the real gem here is Thybulle. A darling of Spurs Twitter before the 2019 Draft, San Antonio fans finally get their wish. Although he’s limited offensively, Thybulle is an absolute menace on defense.
Despite his rookie labeling, Matisse read opponents like a vet, averaging 1.4 steals per game. He’s adept at jumping passing lanes, creating fastbreak opportunities from his defense, and locking down the league’s top offensive threats.
The pairing of Thybulle with Dejounte and White will make Spurs fans salivate and opposing teams weep with the level of defensive intensity and pressure that trio would bring on a nightly basis.
Next: DeMar Heads Home to LA
DeMar DeRozan goes from San Antonio Spurs to hometown Lakers
Fresh off of LeBron James winning his 4th NBA Finals and delivering the Los Angeles Lakers their first title since 2010, the King and LA are just a few weeks away from beginning their title defense. The Western Conference will be as loaded as it’s been in recent memory so the Lakers might need an extra boost if they want to go back-to-back.
The Lakers have hopes of luring a third star like a Chris Paul or Derrick Rose, but Grant Afseth of NBA Analysis Network detailed a trade that would send DeRozan back home to Los Angeles in exchange for Kyle Kuzma, Danny Green, and a 2022 1st Round pick.
While the Lakers had undoubtedly the best duo in the NBA with LBJ and Anthony Davis, the only knock on this roster was they lacked a true third option that could pick up the slack when LeBron and AD were having off nights.
Despite San Antonio’s down season, DeRozan arguably had the best year of his career. In his second season in the Alamo City, he averaged 22.1 PPG and 5.6 APG while shooting a career-high 53.1 percent from the floor.
Plus, assuming DeRozan picks up his player option, he would be a free agent after this upcoming season, giving the Lakers flexibility if that big three experiment doesn’t pan out for them.
After an up-and-down season and a spotty performance during the Finals, Spurs fans might be reluctant to welcome back Danny Green. However, he’s a wily vet with championship experience with three franchises that understands the culture and could continue to mentor the young guys.
The acquisition of Kuzma could be an intriguing prospect. He’s shown that can fill up the stat sheet, posting nearly 19 PPG during the 2018-19 season. But after coming into the season with a nagging foot injury, Kuz struggled to find his rhythm and never quite meshed with LeBron and AD.
An opportunity in San Antonio would allow Kuzma to take on a prominent role with more space to operate on the offensive end and he could be a solid complement to their young core.
Kuz will also be a restricted free agent next summer and there are rumblings from his camp that he’s expecting/hoping for “a sizable deal”. A one-year trial run with the Spurs would give him the chance to make his case for why the franchise should commit to him long term.
Overall, Kuzma’s potential upside would not be enough to outweigh his defensive woes and Green’s streaky shooting. The Spurs can garner a more attractive return for DeRozan from other potential suitors.
Trade rumors are going to keep coming as we approach the 2020 NBA Draft. Make sure to keep up with our coverage of any that involve the San Antonio Spurs stars.