The San Antonio Spurs finally got in on the offseason action with a three-team deal that helped the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics orchestrate a sign-and-trade centered around Grant Williams. While all the details of this transaction are not yet available, here is what we know about the moving parts that convinced these franchises to give each other the green light on Wednesday afternoon.
After trading for Kristaps Porzingis earlier this summer, the Celtics received much-needed financial flexibility with a $6.2 million trade exception and two second-rounders. Dallas continued their world-class offseason, adding a pair of second-round picks and Grant Williams to a club that was short on defensive versatility last season. And the Spurs absorbed Reggie Bullock to make the deal feasible.
Though General Manager Brian Wright and the rest of the front office brass have seemed content to let things play out in the first year of the Victor Wembanyama experience, this move could help them set up this roster for short-term success while giving them leverage in future negotiations with other teams. With that in mind, it is time to hand out a premature report card for their first legitimate trade.
How do the Spurs benefit from adding Bullock to the mix?
Before diving into what Bullock brings to the Spurs on the basketball court, we should first look at the business minutiae that makes this trade so beneficial for the organization. By acquiring the 11th-year small forward, San Antonio reaches the salary floor mandated by the brand-new collective bargaining agreement. In doing so, they have avoided mailing a check to the league office and losing out on their allotted portion of the end-of-season tax distribution.
There is still no confirmation about whether or not the four combined second-rouders heading to the Celtics and Mavericks are coming from San Antonio, but their gold mine of draft capital makes it a no-brainer to cash them in for more valuable assets. Though the 2030 unprotected first-round pick swap from Dallas seems lightyears from materializing, the Spurs could have the last laugh if their I-35 rivals spiral into irrelevance and land in the lottery down the road.
As for how Bullock can contribute to the Spurs this season, there are a couple of question marks that surround his impending arrival. Where does he belong on a depth chart that houses Keldon Johnson, Doug McDermott, Cedi Osman, and Julian Champagnie at his natural position? Reggie will also be the oldest player on the roster, so how much regression should the coaching staff expect from a 32-year-old who has seen his numbers and efficiency slip in recent seasons?
Perhaps a change of scenery will reinvigorate Bullock, and playing alongside a generational two-way talent could take some pressure off his shoulders on both ends of the floor. His perimeter defense is still impactful, and he is one of the most dependable catch-and-shoot three-point threats in the NBA. The seasoned marksman started in the Western Conference Finals less than two years ago, and if he matches that production, there will be room for him in the nightly rotation.
Even if Bullock fails to meet expectations, he is entering the final season of his contract, which means the Spurs will only have him on their payroll for one season. As a veteran on an expiring deal, he could fetch additional draft picks at the trade deadline if a contender comes calling about his availability. At the bare minimum, the experienced sharpshooter could provide spot minutes and act as a mentor for the young core. No matter how you slice it, the Spurs are walking away winners.