The NBA offseason has been wild and unpredictable, headlined by the uncertainty of what's going to happen with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. If the latest rumors turn out true, the San Antonio Spurs could find themselves in the middle of all the action.
The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers are both facing a dilemma. They'd like to move some of their big-name players but have very limited options to do so. Brooklyn is suddenly facing a teardown after Durant's recent trade request, and moving their other superstar in Irving could be in the cards. On the opposite end of the country, the Lakers are desperate to move on from Russell Westbrook's contract.
Many have speculated that another team could act as a facilitator in such a trade in return for future draft assets. On Wednesday's episode of NBA Today, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski named the Spurs as a team that could do that.
"A team like the Spurs could be a facilitator in a Westbrook/Kyrie deal," he started. "[But] you'd have to incentivize them at a pretty high level."
The Spurs shouldn't be willing to help unless they make out like bandits
As it stands, I don't really see Gregg Popovich wanting to help out the Lakers after the bed they made. After all, he hasn't often been willing to help them out in the past. Still, if there's a way San Antonio can come away with valuable picks in the midst of their rebuild, Brian Wright will certainly consider this move.
As Wojnarowski continued to explain, the Lakers haven't been willing to include multiple future picks in any Westbrook trade yet, which is why talks haven't gone anywhere yet. "That could change, though," he said.
Lake Show Life associate editor Jason Reed explained what first-round picks the Lakers could possibly trade after their assets were gutted in the 2019 Anthony Davis deal.
"They can't trade the 2025 pick because the Pelicans have the option to not take their pick in 2024 and instead have it roll over to 2025. I don't think they can technically trade the 2026 pick because of that as well as they could end up having two straight years without a first-round pick if the Pelicans want the 2025 pick instead. So they actually have a few picks, they just can't really trade them because of the protections."
"They can package 2027 and 2029 together. If they wanted to trade 2027 or 2029 with 2028, one of the two would have to be a swap because of the Stepien Rule." That rule states no team can trade consecutive first round draft picks together. That means the Lakers couldn't trade their 2028 outright if they are trading their 2027 pick, but they could trade it after the 2027 NBA Draft.
If the Lakers are going to move on from the $47 million Russell Westbrook is owed on the final year of his contract, they'll have to part with at least a couple of those assets for the Spurs to play ball. In that event, San Antonio would likely negotiate a contract buyout of the nine-time NBA All-Star.
It's important to note that this seems more like speculation on Woj's part than much else. The Spurs and Pacers are the only teams remaining with significant cap space, so it just makes sense to think that a facilitator in such a transaction would be San Antonio. Only time will tell, but I don't think the Spurs will do this unless it's really worth their while.