Will the San Antonio Spurs regret rejecting this Lakers trade?

Jakob Poelt, San Antonio Spurs
Jakob Poelt, San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

Between Jakob Poeltl, Doug McDermott, and Josh Richardson, the San Antonio Spurs have been at the center of NBA trade speculation. Could the Spurs flip Poeltl for a first-round pick? Could they package McDermott and Richardson and take on a hefty salary? I think they could, and apparently, they rejected an offer that would have done just that.

Before the season started, the Spurs were allegedly offered Russell Westbrook and a lottery-protected pick for Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott. Because the Lakers traded picks to get where they are now, the earliest that selection could be would be in the 2025 NBA Draft, so the proposed trade was with the future in mind. 

The Spurs rejected the offer, which was a good move. Josh Richardson alone could be worth a lottery protected first, and taking on the Westbrook contract and giving up McDermott should be enough to remove the protection. Apparently, the Lakers were unwilling to budge on that. 

Now, it’s worth noting that the Spurs had no desire ever to play Westbrook. With their immense salary cap space, the Spurs could have easily bought him out. However, I believe that Los Angeles’ desperation should have been a bigger factor.

Spurs: SA passes on a deal with Lakers for Westbrook

The Lakers are 5-10, currently near the bottom of the standings, and 17th in points per game. They average 30.5 three-point attempts per game, which is the third-worst in the league. They only make 9.5, which is the second worst in the league, and their percentage is dead last. 

Adding McDermott and Richardson would be a small drop in the bucket, but by replacing Westbrook with that duo, they would add five attempts per game and 2.2 makes. Westbrook is famously shooting 30.5% from deep, and both McDermott and Richardson shoot more and average a 40% and 36% clip.

Next. Evaluating Jeremy Sochan's ceiling with no jumpshot. dark

The verdict is that the Spurs were right to turn down the deal. McDermott and Richardson are focal points of the second unit, and the Lakers should have taken away the protection on that pick. There is no reason for the Spurs to eagerly give up assets for less than they are worth.