3 Roster-crunching decisions Spurs must make before the regular season

2023 NBA Summer League - San Antonio Spurs v Portland Trail Blazers - Julian Champagnie (left), Blake Wesley (center), Victor Wembanyama (right)
2023 NBA Summer League - San Antonio Spurs v Portland Trail Blazers - Julian Champagnie (left), Blake Wesley (center), Victor Wembanyama (right) / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
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Spurs have a point guard decision to make

To be completely clear, despite some fans currently struggling to see the vision with him at this stage after an inconsistent Summer League, I highly doubt Blake Wesley is going anywhere any time soon. But I do think Wesley is a key piece of the conversation when it comes to the team’s roster construction over the next month and a half. While the coaching staff’s main priority will continue to be winning basketball games, priority-number-one for the front office should be to put their young draft picks in the best possible position to succeed.

Tre Jones is without a doubt the Spurs’ starting point guard this coming season meaning, as the roster stands, Wesley, Devonte’ Graham, and former Phoenix Sun Cameron Payne will all be competing for minutes off the bench. And while having that much depth at the point guard position isn’t necessarily a bad thing at face value, if that depth comes at the expense of Wesley’s development, Spurs fans could soon be looking back at the 25th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft as a missed opportunity rather than another developmental success story.

The Spurs’ front office would be wise to give Wesley a trial by fire and carve out as many meaningful NBA minutes for him as possible this season, even if that means more growing pains for him and the coaching staff initially. With as many future draft picks as the Spurs have, and with as big of an upside as Wesley has, it will be critical for the team to quickly assess what they have in him so as to make more informed decisions when it comes time to make tough roster choices in the next few seasons.

Between Graham and Payne, Payne likely holds a bit more trade value at the moment when considering his expiring contract, playoff experience, and marginally better efficiency as a shooter. But for those same reasons, I think the Spurs would prefer to hold onto him—at least until the trade deadline—as someone who could easily fill in as a starter when Tre Jones is resting or injured. Therefore, I think Graham is the most likely offseason trade candidate between the two at this moment.

The caveat here, however, is that Payne could draw significantly more interest around the trade deadline, and were the Spurs to have already traded Graham away in the offseason, trading Payne as well could leave the team’s depth at the point guard position nearly nonexistent. With that in mind, I would not be surprised if the Spurs preserved their depth in favor of exploring trades involving both Graham and Payne closer to the deadline. For the Spurs to trade Graham in the offseason, it would likely take a relatively strong offer including multiple 2nd round picks and cash considerations.