Air Alamo staff debate: mock trade is bad for the San Antonio Spurs

Keldon Johnson, San Antonio Spurs
Keldon Johnson, San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

With the trade deadline just over a month away, there has been a steady increase in the number of hypothetical trades. Many of them are pretty bad, but one such trade involves both the Spurs and the Sacramento Kings.

This article is part of a debate series. Read the other side here

In the proposed trade, the Spurs would receive Kings center Richaun Holmes and the Kings' 2023 and 2024 second-round picks for Josh Richardson. On the surface, that might appear to be a decent trade for both teams, but it's far from it for the Spurs.

The Spurs have several players available, including Richardson, and they are under the salary cap, making them a perfect potential trade partner. That's led to plenty of proposed deals in which the Spurs give up the best player in the trade, receive little in the way of assets, and also take back a bad contract. This trade has all three.

Mock trade does not pass the eye test

While Holmes has been a good backup for most of his NBA career, he has fallen out of the Kings' rotation. In fact, Kings coach Mike Brown has recently resorted to playing all-star Domantas Sabonis big minutes due to a lack of options at backup center. If Holmes can't cut it as their backup center when they desperately need one, then he may not be of much help to the Spurs.

Additionally, he has two years and $24.9 million remaining on his deal, and since he's not currently playing much, it looks like a bad contract at the moment. The Spurs would need more than just a couple of second-round picks to take back his contract, not even factoring in that the asking price for Richardson appears to be a first-round pick. Considering that the Spurs don't project to be active in free agency the next couple of summers, tying up cap space may not ultimately matter much.

Still, the Spurs aren't running a charity, and receiving two middling second-round picks simply isn't enough of a return for renting out future cap space. After all, the Spurs will likely have other suitors for Richardson, including ones that will offer a first-round pick. Those offers may also require the Spurs to take back bad salaries to make the trade work, but a first-rounder is actually worth it.

Now, if this trade involved the Kings offering their first-round pick in this year's draft, then that would be a different story. After all, their first-round pick would almost certainly be a top-20 pick in a talented draft, making it even more valuable. However, as is, this theoretical trade just doesn't make much sense for the Spurs, even after waiving center Gorgui Dieng.

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The Spurs already have a capable center rotation with Jakob Poeltl, Zach Collins, and Charles Bassey Jr. and have little use for Holmes, even if they were to also move Poeltl. As a result, this trade would be bad for the Spurs.