Grade the Trade: Pitch has Spurs shipping shooter for underused backup PG

As the NBA trade deadline looms, the San Antonio Spurs could improve its roster along the margins with one potential move.
Cedi Osman, San Antonio Spurs
Cedi Osman, San Antonio Spurs / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages

The NBA is quickly approaching its trade deadline (as a reminder, deals must be sent to the league office by Thursday, February 8th at 2pm CST), and San Antonio basketball fans are itching for a move. Like the majority of analysts who cover the Spurs, we here at AirAlamo have tried to be realistic about the likelihood that the good guys make any major moves this week. That is, outside of the occasional “what if,” fun kind of article from time to time. 

For the most part, however, the consensus is that the Spurs are much more likely to make a small trade or two along the margins— something along the lines of sending a veteran on an expiring contract for a pick, or buying low on a distressed asset. The mock trade that is subject of this piece is actually an amalgamation of both of those scenarios, as San Antonio ships out a vet in return for a young guard who has fallen out of the rotation along with a second round pick.

Davion to SA

The above deal was pitched by writer Paul Garcia on Spurscast, the Project Spurs podcast, this week. Garcia’s trade sends Cedi Osman, who has been one of the bright spots of the team’s rotation this year, to Sacramento. In exchange, the good guys add to their draft cupboard and take a shot on Davion Mitchell, who was a lottery pick just three years ago. 

Trade Grade: B+

It hurts to lose Cedi, a do-it-all swingman averaging seven points on 48% shooting from the field (37% from long range). He’s been a seamless fit into the Spurs’ rotation, and it’s easy to imagine that Osman has a spot on any future build of this team. However, the Turkish baller is 28, which doesn’t necessarily mean he’s off the timeline, but it does make him the third-oldest Spur. Also, the main reason Cedi was acquired in the first place was that S.A. had cap space to facilitate the Max Strus trade this offseason.

Mitchell, as mentioned above, is not far removed from being picked ninth in the 2021 NBA Draft. As Sacramento reshaped its rotation over the past couple of years in its quest from league laughingstock to the Beam Team, Davion became lost in the shuffle. After winning Summer League MVP and averaging 11.5 points and four assists his rookie year, Mitchell has played poorly for a couple of seasons now, hence the qualification as a distressed asset.

Having spent four years in college, Davion Mitchell is 25— older than most third year players. But he’s got championship experience, having won the NCAA title with the 2020-21 Baylor team (just missing an overlap with fellow Bear Jeremy Sochan by a season). Also, as any fan of the Silver & Black will tell you, the Spurs are in need of help at the guard position. 

Why not buy low on a young(ish), defensive-first guard? If this is the asking price, I’m sure San Antonio would jump all over it. That’s not to say the Kings are getting robbed here, as the current fifth seed in the West adds a reliable scorer to its playoff rotation. Mr. Garcia made sure that both teams walk away happy with this look at a very realistic move that the Spurs could make on deadline day.