Now in year three, Keldon Johnson has been having a surprising season for the San Antonio Spurs. After a gold medal summer, he was expected to be a 20 point per game scorer, runaway Most Improved Player candidate, and perhaps the best player on the young team. Well, Dejounte Murray is instead doing all of those things and solidifying himself as one of the best young players in the league.
That’s not to say Keldon Johnson is a disappointment. At 22 years of age, he is fourth in the league in 3-point percentage, is a positive presence on the defensive end of the floor, and is a very good do-all player. He is one of the focal points of the new identity Spurs alongside Dejounte Murray, Josh Primo, and Devin Vassell.
The rest of the league tends to undervalue him, which does not bode well for San Antonio. He has been included as throw-in pieces in mock trades, which is absolutely ludicrous. On a playoff team, he would either be a third-option starter or the first man off the bench. He is not an NBA All-Star but has shown flashes of potential that he can eventually be one of the best forwards in the league.
Is Keldon Johnson untouchable in a trade?
Keldon Johnson is not untouchable in any trade situation. The Spurs should not be in a rush to get rid of him, but if the right offer comes, then the Spurs should pull the trigger.
The Spurs need high-volume scoring from deep and a traditional power forward who can guard the rim. If Myles Turner, Gary Trent, Jerami Grant, or comparable players were to be made available, then the Spurs should ship Johnson off.
The issue with trading Johnson is that teams would have to make offers based on his potential and young age. The Spurs are not going to accept a package comparable with Keldon Johnson now, rather than what he could eventually be. Other teams might not bite on that.
Keldon Johnson is not safe from a trade like Vassell, Primo, and Murray are. But he is undervalued around the league and on a very team-friendly contract. He will probably resign for slightly less than he is worth, which would still be very big money.
The only way Johnson suits up for another team before the deadline is if the Spurs can find a team that agrees on his potential and wants to pay for it. While the Spurs might shop him around behind closed doors, don’t expect a deal to be made any time soon.