Grade the trade: Spurs make a deceptive statement on draft night

Fans had mixed reactions following the Spurs trade of the 8th pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, but San Antonio may just have something up their sleeve.
2024 NBA Draft - Round One
2024 NBA Draft - Round One / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Draft night was full of emotions for Spurs fans. With two top-10 picks in the lottery, many were hoping that the organization would pick up a couple of impact players to grow with the young core in place. After picking up Stephon Castle, the hype was at a high, understanding San Antonio had already gained a big-time talent from UConn but still needed to add shooting to the roster. Instead, they traded the number eight pick and the reactions to the move have been all over the place.

The Spurs' savvy move will make a quicker impact than people expect

Everyone understood going into this draft that this class of prospects was lesser than some of the standout groups of the past. Before the NBA Draft Lottery, many didn't want that Toronto Raptors pick to convey because of that widely agreed-upon stance. So, the Spurs turning that pick into two future first rounders with little to no protection is not a bad deal.

What the trade allowed San Antonio to do was keep a roster spot open and reserve the $7 million that would have been allocated to a rookie for a free agent or incoming trade piece. Free agency is set to begin on June 30th and there is still a lot the front office can do to improve the roster.

Yeah, you liked Rob Dillingham but he's small and will get abused on the defensive end. Dalton Knecht would have been a great addition, but some view him as a glorified Doug McDermott. Ron Holland and the rest of the guys in the class all have solid potential but nobody stands out as a homerun, so the team opted to keep their options open.

This is not a move that kicks the can down the road for the Spurs

It's quite the opposite of kicking the can down the road. Drafting a prospect that will be looked at as a project that will take years to develop would be kicking the can. This is a move geared toward finding a talented player who can contribute to the team in a meaningful way quickly. It is unreasonable to believe the Spurs are looking at the 2030 or 2031 draft, drooling over a player yet to show himself.

Assets are still a commodity in this league, but flexibility is what's most important in this transaction. GM Brian Wright has attempted to communicate their intentions with clarity without giving away the game plan. He has been forthright about San Antonio's desire not to reach but still be aggressive in their journey back to contention, and that's exactly what this move does.

Grade - Incomplete pending free agency