Trade 2: Spurs trade a defensive big for an offensive big
The other trade Bleacher Report proposed has the Spurs shipping off their defensive ace center for the offensively talented but older Nikola Vucevic. In the deal, they'd also send off newly-acquired sharpshooter Josh Richardson and the upcoming 38th pick from the Los Angeles Lakers.
I'll start by saying this one isn't as bad for San Antonio. There's a reason Vucevic has been named an NBA All-Star a couple of times -- he's a highly-effective scorer and rebounder and possesses a decent jump shot. He would certainly infuse the roster with more talent right away and increase their floor.
What worries me most about Vucevic, however, is his lack of defensive capability. There would be a deep dropoff in rim protection when going from Jakob Poeltl to Vucevic, and it's not like he has the lateral quickness to make up for that when he's switched onto the perimeter.
There's a scenario in which the Spurs could be a better fit for Vucevic, though, which involves them drafting a talented defender with their lottery pick in the upcoming draft.
Air Alamo writer Jonah Kubicek, who gave this proposal a thumbs up, shared more. "It’s not a great trade but is Richardson really a part of the future? Probably not. Even though Poeltl is a great defender and Vucevic isn't, adding a 20-point center when they could draft a defensively gifted player in round one isn’t a horrible move to make."
Staffer Ethan Farina ultimately voted no but did have some reservations about it. "I'm only intrigued because I've liked Vuc for a while and have thought he could be a good fit in San Antonio," he said.
"He's been a good floor spacer in the past but his 3-point shooting really dropped off a cliff this season. Similar to Jonah, I'd be more open to it if I knew they could land someone like Jalen Duran in the draft. If you can promise me that and then remove the 2nd round pick I'd have to sit on it but would probably be okay with making this move."
To me, the $46 million Nikola is still owed and the defensive downgrade makes this a pass, but I could see how a successful draft and other moves could set the table for something like this to happen at least. It just wouldn't move the needle enough to be worth it in my eyes.
Air Alamo staff: 7 thumbs down, 1 thumbs up