3. The Spurs' long-term future
The decision to trade White was a difficult one, but it was the right move given the direction of the franchise. That said, it was still surprising to see the front office ship out a beloved member of the team. That may prove to be a good thing, however, and indicates that the Spurs are taking a more aggressive approach to the rebuild.
Additionally, getting a first-round pick and two additional assets for a player that they had a younger and cheaper replacement for could significantly and positively impact the team's future. For instance, the Spurs could use Boston's first, as well as Toronto's first, and their own lottery pick, to move up into the top three of the 2022 NBA Draft.
Not only that, but they could even flip Josh Richardson for a couple of second-rounders or potentially acquire a future first-round pick by agreeing to take back a long-term salary. As for Vassell, he has a higher ceiling than White and could soon prove to be a better player. As a result, the White trade could spin out in a number of unforeseen directions, much like with the George Hill trade.
That trade netted San Antonio a future star in Kawhi Leonard and also led to Danny Green earning playing time. Both were later traded for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a first-round pick that turned into Keldon Johnson. Poeltl and Johnson are now starters for the Spurs while DeRozan was traded for three picks, Thaddeus Young and Hutchinson.
The point is there's no telling how the White trade will ultimately turn out, but it could end up being a turning point for the franchise.
Overall, the Spurs appear to have actually gotten better since trading White. Murray has had the ball in his hands more, which has led to him putting up big numbers, while Vassell has fit well as the team’s new starting shooting guard.
Also, Primo will now get more opportunities with White gone. Last but not least, San Antonio has set itself up well with the assets they’ve received from the trade.