The San Antonio Spurs are so often tight-lipped that even Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski have a hard time breaking through.
As someone who's watched the team closely for over 20 years, I've gotten used to being completely surprised by trades and blindsided by draft picks. It happened as recently as last year when the Spurs seemingly reached far for Josh Primo with the 12th pick in the NBA Draft -- although it later was revealed there were a couple of teams eyeing him in that area.
Armed with an impressive four draft picks for June 23rd's draft, San Antonio will need to make sure they maintain that history of keeping everything extremely in-house -- the reverse Lakers approach, if you will. Although they haven't had playoff success over the past three seasons, organizations are still very much attuned to how the Spurs built such a well-oiled machine for so long.
Past Draft preference leaks have burned the Spurs before
In 2008, the Spurs were believed to have promised Nicolas Batum that they'd be taking him with the 26th pick in the NBA Draft. After all, he was close friends with Tony Parker as a fellow Frenchman and would fit the team nicely.
In ESPN's mock draft that year, Chad Ford confirmed just as much: "Batum worked out with the Spurs on Wednesday, then disappeared off the grid. His medical reports never came out. His agent didn't return calls. I think the Spurs may have wrapped him up."
Unfortunately for San Antonio, the belief is the Portland Trail Blazers caught on and opted to trade for the 25th pick to beat the Spurs to Batum by one spot. The Spurs were clearly interested in Batum then and even in the following years when they were rumored to be aggressively pursuing him in the 2012 offseason.
A similar thing happened in the 2019 NBA Draft, when The Athletic's Anthony Slater reported that the Golden State Warriors received intel (subscription required) that the Spurs were interested in Jordan Poole with their 29th pick.
"I was really preparing for 29," Poole had said. The column also indicates Poole had been hinting that there was a strong attraction from San Antonio. Fortunately, the Spurs were still able to strike gold with Keldon Johnson, but the circumstance remains true.
The Spurs must be as tight-lipped as ever this month
Clearly, teams like paying special attention to the prospects San Antonio has their eyes on, so they'll need to keep everything as quiet as possible in the coming weeks. Obviously, they can't control what potential prospects might say to the media, which is what Poole did in 2019.
But if there's an underrated guy or two they really want, they might want to relay to them to keep that information to themselves.
With picks nine, 20, 25, and 38 pending, San Antonio will likely be doing some wheeling and dealing on draft day, but the last thing they need is for their plans to be ruined by another poach. Better lock up all those notebooks, Spurs.