Heading into last week's trade deadline, I don't think there were many San Antonio Spurs fans who expected the team to shake things up as aggressively as they did. By and large, fan expectations hovered somewhere between cautiously optimistic - expecting similar-sized deals to the one they've made in years past - to completely fed up with the front offices' longstanding inactivity at the deadline.
Instead, Brian Wright and the Spurs caught us all by surprise. They sent Thaddeus Young to Toronto in exchange for Goran Dragic and a 2022 1st round pick and followed that up by shocking Spurs fans by trading away a fan favorite in Derrick White, moving the former 1st round pick to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, another 2022 1st round pick, and the right to swap 1st round picks in 2028.
After dancing around a rebuild, the Spurs finally pulled the trigger, loading up on expiring contracts that will be off their books in a few months while simultaneously loading up on 1st round picks that could be cashed in as early as this year. Altogether, the moves Brian Wright made at the deadline should be applauded. But the work's not done yet -- now Wright and the Spurs have to nail the potentially massive summer that they've set up for themselves.
The Spurs positioned for a massive summer if everything falls into place
If the picks acquired from the Raptors (top-14 protected) and Celtics (top-4 protected) both convey this year, the Spurs will have a total of three 1st round picks plus a 2nd round pick from the Lakers that is looking better and better by the day.
All of those draft picks could easily turn into a trio of high-upside players such as AJ Griffin, Jaden Hardy, and Jeremy Sochan. Or, better yet, if the Spurs' highest draft pick doesn't get them into the top-four, they could package a few of these newly acquired picks to move up and take someone like Paolo Banchero or Jaden Ivey.
Landing one of Banchero, Ivy, or any one of the other top picks would be a dream come true, but given the Spurs' current lottery odds and how unlikely other lottery teams are going to be to give up their picks, that seems like a fairly slim possibility. They'll have much more control over their own destiny in free agency.
Heading into the summer of 2022, the Spurs are well-positioned to be one of the big game hunters on the free agent market. There aren't as many high-end talents hitting the open market as there have been in years past. Zach LaVine and Bradley Beal are the only two superstars that should compel the Spurs, but San Antonio should be able to make a strong pitch to any free agent they choose.
It's impossible to say how things might shake out now. There's still so much up in the air. But if the stars align just right, the San Antonio Spurs could be well-positioned for one of the most transformative summers they've had in years.