Latest intel proves Spurs have been fleecing everyone with trades

Jakob Poeltl
Jakob Poeltl / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

The San Antonio Spurs have built up a near unrivaled amount of assets, including having the number one pick in this year's NBA draft. This wasn't the case just four years ago, when the Spurs had a veteran-heavy team and were stuck fighting for a low playoff seed. That was around the time GM Brian Wright took over for R.C. Buford.

Wright was initially criticized by some Spurs fans, myself included, for questionable decisions early on in his tenure. Fortunately, he has turned things around in a big way thanks to several smart moves that have panned out far better than initially expected.

The Spurs have been fleecing everyone with trades

The Spurs received DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and the first-round pick that became Keldon Johnson in return for their former franchise player. That was seen as an okay haul then, but it looks much better now.

DeRozan was later traded for a lightly protected 2025 first, which, with the Bulls appearing ready to rebuild, means it could be a potential lottery pick, as well as Thaddeus Young and two second-round picks. Young and the Lakers' second-round pick were traded in a deal for Toronto's first-round pick a few months later, which became Malaki Branham.

Meanwhile, Poeltl, who was later traded to the Raptors for a top-six protected first-round pick and two seconds, may not even re-sign with Toronto, according to NBA insider Jonathan Feigen. Better yet, Johnson is coming off a breakout year and will soon start a bargain four-year extension. All told, the Leonard trade netted four first-round picks, two of which will likely be lottery selections, as well as three second-round picks, including the 44th pick in this year's draft.

That trade wasn't an outlier, with the Derrick White deal producing similar results. The Spurs acquired a first (which became Blake Wesley), a 2025 first-round pick swap, Josh Richardson, and Romeo Langford. Both Langford and Richardson played well for the Spurs, and Richardson was later traded for four seconds, while the pick swap could come in handy.

Then there was the Dejounte Murray trade, which made the Spurs bad enough to land the number one pick. They received two unprotected first-round picks, plus Charlotte's first, which is top 14 protected in 2024 and 2025 and may convey after all with the Hornets picking second in this year's draft, and a pick swap.

That's a huge haul for a player who may not re-sign with Atlanta after next season. Trades like that are most of the reason the Spurs are in the position they are now, along with some lottery luck that helped them land the number one pick. Now, they have a potential superstar as well as plenty of assets, giving the Spurs everything that they'll need to build a contender.