Even if you're the most casual basketball fan in the world, it's difficult to envision the NBA and Christmas Day not going hand in hand. The league has a longstanding tradition of showcasing its best teams on the holiday, and this year is no different.
Actually, scratch that. This year - the last two years frankly - couldn't be more different than what we're used to. Last year, the games were played in empty arenas. This season, many of the star-studded teams taking the court on Christmas Day will be without their star players.
As the newest strain of COVID-19 makes its way across the globe, almost every team in the NBA has been impacted in some way or another. With players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Trae Young, and nearly the entire Brooklyn Nets roster projected to be sidelined for the holiday showcase, the on-court product on Christmas Day is going to look vastly different than what the league had planned when they mapped out these games months ago. But that's 2021 for you.
Once again, the San Antonio Spurs will not be taking part in the action. They haven't been featured on Christmas since the 2016-17 season and while this isn't surprising, that still doesn't mean that Spurs players and fans should completely turn away from the full slate of games. Knicks v. Hawks, Bucks v. Celtics, Suns v. Warriors, Lakers v. Nets, and Jazz v. Mavericks, there's something for everybody. Here's one thing to pay attention to in every matchup.
Cam Reddish becoming a potential trade target for San Antonio Spurs
Death, taxes, and Spurs bloggers finding new ways to trade one of the Atlanta Hawks' young players to San Antonio. Last year it was John Collins, this time around we're looking at Cam Reddish.
Reddish has had our attention for a while now. On a roster deep with talent, he's occasionally felt like the odd man out. With a significant amount of their salary tied up in players such as Collins, Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Clint Capella, Kevin Huerter, and Danillo Gallinari, Reddish has been relegated to a reserve role for much of his time in Atlanta.
Bench role or not, it's clear the Hawks value Reddish. They smartly picked up his team option for the '22-23 season earlier this year but a payday is coming up for the former Duke Blue Devil. Hawks GM Travis Schlenk is one of the best in the business and I'm confident he could find a way to keep Reddish in Atlanta for the long haul if he wanted to. But until that extension is signed, Reddish is going to continue to be one of the more sought-after young players in the league.
With Trae Young in the NBA's health and safety protocols, Reddish carried the offensive load for the Hawks recently and showed off many of the skills that made him one of the most impressive young players in the country a few years ago. A cool 36 points on 48 percent shooting from the floor and a half-dozen made threes should get every team's attention, but the way that Reddish got his buckets was particularly impressive.
He showed a soft touch on floaters, got into the lane with ease, and had no hesitation pulling up from behind the arc or cashing catch and shoot threes. And he made it look easy too! To be fair, he was playing against the Orlando Magic, who are one of the worst teams in the league in defensive rating. Still, the explosive offensive performance was a not too subtle reminder of what Reddish is capable of when he's given the opportunity.
There are surely some San Antonio Spurs fans who would push back against any trade for Reddish for fear of what it could do to the opportunities of other young players such as Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson but I certainly don't consider myself to fall into that group. A rotation featuring these three young wings could be a force in the making, and the availability of Reddish is something that the Spurs front office should continue to keep an eye on as the season progresses.