San Antonio Spurs: Three situations to monitor during first half of the season

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JANUARY 26: John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks dunks against Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards in the second half at State Farm Arena (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JANUARY 26: John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks dunks against Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards in the second half at State Farm Arena (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The San Antonio Spurs should be watching all of these situations

Every offseason comes with its own set of risks and possibilities. And while there probably is a subsection of the fanbase who are still frustrated over the San Antonio Spurs‘ lack of big moves over the past few weeks, those fans should take a deep breath and realize there’s still plenty of time for the team to make a move.

With a new schedule, shortened season, and sure to come up coronavirus complications, I think every team in the league is going to spend these first few weeks taking a hard look at what they did this summer and evaluating if it’s having the desired effect.

That can take shape in a variety of ways. It could come in the shape of the Portland Trail Blazers realizing that they didn’t add quite enough this summer and making another move or two. It could be the Atlanta Hawks realizing they’ve suddenly got too many bruised egos for one locker room. Or it could be the San Antonio Spurs pulling the plug on a mini re-tool.

If. San Antonio gets out to a markedly better or worse start than what they were expecting to start the season then don’t be surprised to see the Spurs get in on the action.

It could be to secure their spot in the playoff race or completely sell things off and go for a full rebuild, the Spurs could easily go in either direction.

No matter what moves they decide to make, or not to make, here are a few situations they should be watching while they evaluate their options.

San Antonio Spurs should have an eye on the Atlanta Hawks locker room

One of the most intriguing teams to watch this offseason has been the Atlanta Hawks. After two impressive seasons watching Trae Young, the Hawks have clearly decided that they’re done with the lottery. This is a team with playoff dreams.

The Hawks underwent a drastic facelift this offseason. They’ve added the following players to their roster: Onyeka Okongwu, Bogdan Bogdanović, Danilo Gallinari, Kris Dunn, and Rajon Rondo. That’s a lot of new faces to add to a team that was already pretty deep with potential.

The question now is what happens to carryover guys like John Collins, Cam Reddish, Kevin Huerter, and De”Andre Hunter. Just a few months ago they were regulars in the starting lineup. Now they’re going to have to fight and claw for minutes.

The odd man out could be Collins. Gallinari could play small forward but using him as a floor-spacing big man with one of Okongwu or Clint Capella holding down the middle seems like it’s the move. So where does that leave Collins?

Ideally, if you’re a Spurs fan, this puts him on the trade block. Collins is going to need an extension soon but he’s got a versatile offensive game that would go well with the defensive-minded Jakob Poeltl.

Any trade for Collins would likely cost the Spurs one of their stars and a future first-round pick. As long as it’s not their 2021 selection the Spurs should heavily consider taking a deal like that if it’s offered.

Handing over a first-round pick might seem like a lot but let’s not forget that Collins is coming off of a season where he averaged 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game while also shooting 40 percent from behind the arc.

He’s an All-Star level talent and one of the brightest frontcourt players in the league today.  I’d gladly watch the Spurs give up a draft pick for a player like that.

Next: Heat feel like this is their year

San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio Spurs /

Jan 15, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan (10) talks with Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)

San Antonio Spurs can help the Miami Heat reach their peak

If there is one thing that you can bet the bank on it’s that the self-proclaimed hardest working, best conditioned, most professional, unselfish, toughest, meanest, nastiest team in the NBA is going to use their NBA Finals loss as motivation all year.

Bam Adebayo got seriously paid but don’t think for a second that he and Jimmy Butler are coming into this season any less pissed off about their loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. This is a team that is fired up and ready to return to the top of the Eastern Conference.

If there are two things Pat Riley truly loves they’re signing big-name players and hanging banners. Thankfully, the San Antonio Spurs are in a position to help him accomplish both.

If the Heat are on a title path again, as many expect them to be, and the Spurs are having a rough go of it early on, don’t be surprised to see smoke start to rise between these two teams.

The Spurs could offer Miami either one of LaMarcus Aldridge or DeMar DeRozan in exchange for fillers, assets, or picks. This would give Riley a window to add a big name to his team, improve his chances for another trip to the Finals, and, as both of the Spurs stars are on expiring deals, it doesn’t eat in to the Heats valuable cap space in the summer of 2021. A rare win-win-win.

Outside of draft picks way down the road the Heat don’t have a ton to offer. But if San Antonio knows they’ll be parting ways with their stars this summer anyway it’d be better to get something for them instead of watching them walk away for nothing.

This situation offers one of the lowest returns of the scenarios that we’re laying out but it’s also one of the most likely to happen.

Next: Trouble in the heartland

San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio Spurs /

Mar 2, 2020; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) shoots over San Antonio Spurs center Trey Lyles (41) in the second half at the AT&T Center. (Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports)

Indiana Pacers decide to finally move on from Myles Turner

If there was an active tracker for how often a player gets mentioned in trade rumors I would bet that Myles Turner would be the near top of the list. Add in players like Aaron Gordon and Marcus Smart too but there’s no way that Turner’s name isn’t somewhere in the top-five.

It seems like every time we reach an offseason or trade deadline, Turner’s name is out there attached to a variety of different teams. And this offseason was no different.

It wasn’t long before rumors connecting Gordon Hayward and his hometown Indiana Pacers started to pop. Up and at the center of it all was the Pacers young big man.

The Celtics and Pacers weren’t able to come to terms on a sign and trade deal but where Boston failed, the San Antonio Spurs might be able to succeed. They could definitely use Turner in their frontcourt.

Despite falling out of favor in Indianapolis, Turner remains one of the best and most versatile young big men in the league. It seems like he’s been in the league forever but that’s because he made his debut when he was just 19 years old. He’s still got a long road ahead of him and has already made himself into one of the NBA’s better rim protectors.

He ranked 10th in the league in blocks per 36 minutes last year while also hitting a respectable 34 percent of his three-point shots. That’s admittedly not a great number to stake your reputation as a shooter to but when it comes with an average of 2.1 blocks per game it’s a bit more palatable.

Similar to any potential deal that nets the Spurs John Collins, I don’t mind giving up a first-round pick for Turner as long as it’s not for 2021. There aren’t many big men in the league with his player profile and you can’t keep stocking up picks for the future. If you’ve got ’em, use ’em.

3 Surprising breakout candidates for Spurs in 2021. Next

In all likelihood, another season will come and go without the San Antonio Spurs making any sort of meaningful move. But if they do decide to get on the action, look for one of these three teams to be a potential trade partner.