Spurs savvy trade with Hornets more important than you think: instant reaction

The San Antonio Spurs traded Devonte' Graham to the Charlotte Hornets per ESPN and there may be a significant reason for that.
Devonte' Graham
Devonte' Graham / Justin Ford/GettyImages

It's time to say goodbye to the man who made one of the most impactful plays of the season when he buried a floater over his defender to secure a win in the 81st game of the season against the Denver Nuggets. It helped establish what will be remembered as a 'Spurs Classic' as San Antonio stormed back from down by 23 to beat the defending champions led by Victor Wembanyama. Devonte' Graham showed his clutch ability when he made that shot, but he's now been traded to the Charlotte Hornets, per ESPN Insider Adrian Wojnarowski.

They also sent Charlotte one of their many second-round picks and will receive a future pick in the deal. The conditions of that pick have yet to be released but this move was about clearing salary space. Devonte' Graham was soon to be due $12 million this season, but instead will be waived with only a partial guarantee of $2.85 million that the Hornets will pay.

This opens more options for the Spurs

This deal relieves San Antonio of significant cap space and could be a pre-cursor to a larger move. They have been rumored to be involved in talks to help facilitate DeMar DeRozan to Sacramento in the three-team deal. But they have also been rumored to be one of the more aggressive teams in pursuit of Lauri Markkanen.

There is also always the chance that Graham wants to try to find a team that he can play more minutes on or that will compete at a higher level than the Spurs are expected to. Any of these options are plausible, but be on the lookout for more moves from San Antonio. Where there's smoke there's fire and there has been a lot of smoke.

Update - 2:46 pm CT