Trade #2: The Spurs Shake Up the Roster
This four-team trade between the Spurs, Hawks, Celtics, and Kings (let alone any large-scale four-team trade) is certainly a stretch, but before you dismiss it entirely, hear me out. All of these teams would have good reason to go through with this trade and everyone would benefit in one way or another.
For the Spurs, not much changes here compared to the previous trade. Like last time, they receive both Cam Reddish and a top-ten-protected 2023 first-round pick. Unlike in the previous trade, though, the Spurs receive Atlanta's Delon Wright along with Marvin Bagley III from the Sacramento Kings. In this case, Bagley is actually part of the return package that the Boston Celtics receive for Marcus Smart, but for reasons I'll explain below, he is re-routed to the Spurs instead.
Like the Spurs, the Hawks also receive a bit more this time around. In addition to Derrick White, Atlanta receives Keita Bates-Diop from the Spurs, Grant Williams from the Boston Celtics, and a 2022 second-round pick from the Kings (which, ironically, was originally Atlanta's pick). Williams, who is re-routed from Sacramento, along with Kings' second-round pick, make up the package that sends Danilo Gallinari to the Kings.
White immediately fills the Hawks' need for a complementary guard to play when Trae Young is off the floor, while he, Bates-Diop, and Williams all bolster the team's defense. While White and Bates-Diop can help on the perimeter, Williams can be used as a small-ball 4 or 5 that could come in when one of the Hawk's primary bigs needs rest. By sending Gallinari to the Kings, the Hawks also save themselves about $18 million in salary per year, giving them more cap flexibility.
The Boston Celtics are the other big player in this four-team deal primarily because they've found themselves in a similar position to Atlanta. Essentially, they already have a couple of star players to build around in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but they don't have the proper complementary pieces to put around them to propel them over the top. Outside of desperately needing a proper point guard, more than just about anything, the Celtics need shooting.
In this case, the Celtics' primary target is the Kings' Harrison Barnes, and by sending Marcus Smart and Grant Williams to Sacramento, they land him in this trade. This will likely leave Payton Pritchard to take over primary point guard duties (until the C's can find a more permanent solution). To add even more shooting to the roster, Boston taps the Spurs for Bryn Forbes.
To add a touch of defense, playmaking, and veteran leadership, the Spurs also send Thaddeus Young to Boston. The Celtics are able to pay for all of these new players using the various trade exceptions they've compiled.
The only loose end that the Celtics have to address at this point is Marvin Bagley, who was sent to them as a part of the package for Marcus Smart. He doesn't fit the Celtics' roster particularly well, and even if he did, they don't have the time or energy to take a risk on him at the moment. Because the Celtics don't have any players available (for a reasonable price) that the Spurs are interested in and because the Celtics are reluctant to give away any more picks than they already have in previous trades, Bagley is re-routed to the Spurs as payment for Forbes and Young.
Lastly, the Sacramento Kings acquire Marcus Smart from the Celtics and Danilo Gallinari from the Hawks. In this scenario, the Kings see Smart as a combo guard that will fit better next to Tyrese Haliburton compared to De'Aaron Fox and the newly-drafted Davion Mitchell. In this way, this trade could be a precursor to a bigger trade involving Fox, Mitchell, and possibly Buddy Hield.
The return package for Harrison Barnes not only includes Smart but also the young Grant Williams. The Kings do not see Williams as a long-term piece, though, and instead, they use him to land Gallinari from the Hawks for a relatively low price.
Despite a down year from Gallinari on the defensive end of the floor, the Kings see him as a stretch big that can replace the 3-point shooting lost with Barnes. While Gallinari isn't necessarily one of the Kings' primary targets because it only takes Williams and a second-round pick for the Hawks to accept, the Kings take the deal.
While such a large and convoluted trade definitely errs on the side of unlikely, this trade would benefit all parties and is well within reason. If the Spurs can manage to pull off a trade like either one of these that would bring Cam Reddish and draft capital to San Antonio, it could significantly change the long-term trajectory of the team for the better.