When the San Antonio Spurs dealt Cady Lalanne’s rights for Marquese Chriss at the trade deadline, it seemed like a relatively tame move aimed to save the team money and throw a favor to Steve Kerr. I speculated what we might see from the deal soon after, but as they always do, San Antonio caught everyone by surprise with what came next.
Sunday Morning, Marc Stein revealed the Spurs were signing Gorgui Dieng once he cleared waivers from Memphis. Considering there were reportedly teams like the Clippers, Nets, and Warriors interested in the center’s services, it was shocking to see the quiet Spurs land Dieng, who’s having a career shooting year.
Signing Dieng meant the Spurs had to waive Chriss, who was already out for the season with a broken fibula he suffered late last year. While the contract terms weren’t announced in the team’s official press release, ESPN’s Bobby Marks explained how the Chriss trade paved the way for obtaining Dieng.
The San Antonio Spurs were playing chess with the Marquese deal
In receiving cash in the Chriss trade with Golden State, San Antonio netted about $1.2 million. As Marks explained on his Instagram, the Spurs used part of their mid-level exception to sign Dieng to a $1 million deal. This means the Spurs’ front office likely had this whole scenario all lined up once Dieng assured them he’d be jumping onboard.
The Spurs were able to flip the assets from the deadline deal for what Marks believes is the best backup big option between him, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Andre Drummond.
Spurs fans like to give the team’s front office a hard time for largely standing pat when they should be making moves, and perhaps that’s often warranted. All the same, GM Brian Wright, Gregg Popovich, and the rest of the front office all deserve credit for making something out of nothing in the last week.
Instead of making a reckless move for the sake of doing something, they made a carefully crafted one that should pay dividends.
Dieng will likely make his Spurs debut on Wednesday or Thursday in one of the team’s back-to-back games against the Kings and Hawks. We’ll soon find out what a floor-spacing big man can do for this team as they look to buckle down for a playoff push.