Grade the Trade: Spurs' leap into three-team deal could solve two problems

Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans and Zach Collins, San Antonio Spurs
Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans and Zach Collins, San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages
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Laying out the trade

Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports is one of the most plugged-in NBA Insiders in media, and he recently published a notebook of rumors he was hearing around the league. In there, he mentioned that the San Antonio Spurs are interested in acquiring Jonas Valanciunas of the New Orleans Pelicans.

In the same piece, he reported that the Pelicans called the Cleveland Cavaliers about All-Star center Jarrett Allen. It doesn't make much sense for the Pels to keep Valanciunas if they add Allen, but the Cavs might be looking to transition to a smaller lineup by shifting Evan Mobley - effectively two years ahead of the Spurs with Wembanyama.

How could the two rumors come together? Well, the Spurs could step in and take back Valanciunas, using a bit of their cap space to reduce New Orleans' salary sheet. That would incentivize the Pels to send back a pair of young prospects to Cleveland, opening up enough space to re-sign Josh Richardson and use the full MLE on a player in free agency.

Here's what the deal would look like:

Spurs 3-teamer

The Pelicans get their guy in Jarrett Allen, a player who instantly transforms their rim protection. The Cavaliers get a steady backup for Evan Mobley in Zach Collins, a two-way wing to start in Trey Murphy III, and a pair of backcourt prospects in Dyson Daniels and Kira Lewis Jr.

What about the Spurs? Would they make this deal?

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