How did other trades around the league impact the San Antonio Spurs?
Well color me shocked, all of the rumors and speculation surrounding the San Antonio Spurs leading up to yesterday’s trade deadline turned out to be just that – rumors and speculation. The one trade the Spurs made was one that, frankly, none of us saw coming.
The Spurs made a deal for two players that few of us expected them to be associated with, flipping Cady Lalanne to the Golden State Warriors for Marquese Chriss. Chriss will sit out the remainder of the season recovering from a broken leg and is on an expiring contract. He might not even suit up for the Spurs.
Be disappointed if you want but this is par for the course for San Antonio. They simply don’t do big, mid-season trades. But every year we get our hopes up, and every year we’re mildly disappointed at the deadline. I can’t wait to run the same song and dance back next season.
Even if the Spurs weren’t involved in the big trades of the day they’re still impacted by the ripple effects of shuffling’s around the NBA. Here is how some of the biggest trade deadline moves will affect them.
Next: Lauri Markkanen just became expendable
Dec 15, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Chicago Bulls power forward Lauri Markkanen (24) shoots the ball over San Antonio Spurs small forward Rudy Gay (22) during the first half at AT&T Center. (Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports)
San Antonio Spurs will have a great chance to sign Lauri Markkanen this summer
The Chicago Bulls took the cake for the biggest move of the day. They sent Otto Porter, Wendell Carter, and two future first-round picks to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu.
A pretty nice deal for both sides. The Magic got a young big man to replace Vucevic but the real prize is the two first-round picks they picked up to help with their rebuild. The Bulls got their star center to pair with Patrick Williams and Zach LaVine. They were already a playoff contender in the Eastern Conference and this move should solidify their spot.
The San Antonio Spurs are also a winner of this deal as Lauri Markkanen just became expendable in Chicago. There were rumors that the Bulls had hoped to use him in a deal for Lonzo Ball but that never came to fruition. In any case, it seems like his time in the Windy City is coming to an end.
The Bulls might match any medium-sized offer that Markkanen gets this summer in the hopes that they could try to trade him later or they might be open to a sign and trade. But if the Spurs want to add Lauri to their team this is their shot. They’re going to have the cap space to make him an offer the Bulls are unlikely to match.
I’m still not totally sold on Markkanen’s fit with San Antonio. He’s having the best season of his career but he’s been doing it while playing 69 percent of his minutes at center. Would the Spurs make him their starting center? That complicates things with Jakob Poeltl. Would they play him with Poeltl? Markkanen isn’t a guy you want out on the wing trying to guard forwards like Paul George.
He’s a good player and the Spurs should think about making him an offer but they better be sure that the fit can work before putting up a nine-figure offer.
Next: Aaron Gordon goes to Denver
Spurs fans hopes of landing Aaron Gordon disappear as he heads to Denver
San Antonio Spurs fans’ hopes of seeing Aaron Gordon in a Spurs uniform went up in smoke as the Magic rolled him up with Gary Clark and sent them off to greener pastures. The Nuggets didn’t strain themselves too much in getting Gordon, it only cost them Gary Harris, RJ Hampton, and a protected 2025 first-round pick.
The biggest loser here might be us at Air Alamo. We’ve been pounding the “Aaron Gordon to San Antonio” drum for years and to see him finally get traded to a team that can better utilize his skills all but pulls the plug on the dream of seeing him play for the Silver and Black.
This also further solidifies the ruling class of the Western Conference. With Gordon looped in with Michael Porter Jr., Jamal Murray, and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets reposition themselves as one of the favorites to get out of the West.
At this point, the top of the West is locked in. The Nuggets, Jazz, Clippers, Lakers (when healthy), and Suns all have a shot to make the Finals. Looking down from there it’s a crapshoot. Any team could get hot and make some noise in the play-in tournament or the playoffs but none of them have a real shot of making the Finals.
This puts even more pressure on the Spurs to take decisive action this summer. The best in the West keep getting better and the Spurs have a murky path to getting back to that level. How they utilize their considerable cap space this summer will be crucial to forming the next four or five years of this team.
Next: Miami picks up Oladipo for almost nothing
Mar 16, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets guard Victor Oladipo (7) puts up a shot between Atlanta Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari (8) and Atlanta Hawks guard Tony Snell (19) during the second half at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Michael Wyke/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Rockets basically gave away Victor Oladipo for nothing
Congratulations to the Miami Heat for fleecing the Houston Rockets of Victor Oladipo for almost nothing. The Heat only had to send Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, and the rights to swap 2022 first-round picks to Houston to pick up the former All-Star.
After struggling to start the season, the Heat went on a brief run but have stumbled since then. They must be hoping that adding Oladipo helps reverse that trend and gets them back on the right track.
This move doesn’t directly impact the Spurs but it does make Miami a more attractive destination for former Spur (still feels weird typing that) LaMarcus Aldridge. LMA reportedly has Miami on his shortlist of teams and now that they’re making moves to improve their title odds this could have moved them to the front of the pack to land Aldridge.
Frankly, I’m less concerned with where LaMarcus goes and more focused on what happens once he gets there. I believe every Spurs fan should want him to win a title this year. And if Miami adding Oladipo helps make that happen then good for them and good for Aldridge.
If you hold ill will in your heart towards Aldridge I don’t understand why. I’ve seen people say he quit on this team but I see nothing wrong with both parties making the mature business decision and admitting that the pairing wasn’t working anymore. He was a professional throughout the entire process, played excellently in his time in San Antonio, and is now free to choose where he hunts for a ring. Thank him for his time and wish him the best on his way to Miami.
With the trade deadline behind us, now the San Antonio Spurs can cut out all distractions and focus on finishing the season strong. This is going to be a brutal slog to the finish line, let’s hope the guys are up for it.