3. Lonnie Walker
The 2022 NBA Draft doesn’t currently have a guard expected to go in the top five, which might be a relief to Spurs fans given San Antonio’s tendency to draft them. Still, Lonnie Walker's future with the team could be in jeopardy come draft night.
Depending on San Antonio's draft position, they could select Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith, or Patrick Baldwin Jr., each of whom are forwards. Moreover, each could slot in as the team’s starting power forward, given their size, allowing Keldon Johnson to slide down and play the three while Doug McDermott moves to the bench.
That would help bolster the Spurs bench but could also lead to Walker not being retained in restricted free agency. After all, Walker has clearly underperformed in his contract season and the Spurs have other players who are deserving of an increased role. For instance, the Spurs have Joshua Primo, who could replace Walker as the backup shooting guard.
Additionally, Devin Vassell would likely see more minutes, which would drastically reduce Walker's role if he were to be retained. Even despite that, the Spurs could still re-sign him, especially considering he’s unlikely to receive a significant offer in restricted free agency. However, I'd doubt it, in that situation.
Overall, a lot is dependent on where San Antonio's lottery pick ultimately falls and how the draft board shakes out. Still, this draft appears to have several strong prospects to choose from, including Holmgren, Banchero, Smith, and Baldwin Jr.
Also, the odds that the player they select eventually ends up replacing a current rotation player appears high. That could ultimately be a good thing, however, given that it could provide the team with a much-needed talent upgrade and someone that they can build around going forward.
As for the three players on the theoretical chopping block, depending on the situation, San Antonio could either look to cut bait when they hit free agency or look to trade them. Thus Poeltl, Eubanks, or Walker, could ultimately be replaced by San Antonio's 2022 lottery pick.