Deep in the thick of the NBA playoffs and with exciting moments happening across the league on a near-nightly basis, it can be difficult to keep a pulse on all the developments that have progressed across the NBA over the last month. Lost in the noise seems to be the epic collapse that the Utah Jazz suffered for the second year in a row.
As a San Antonio Spurs fan, it can seem a bit strange to be throwing stones in Utah's direction. After all, San Antonio didn't even make the playoffs and you know what they say about glass houses. But the Jazz's playoff exit seems to have been a tipping point for one of the most successful franchises of the past six seasons.
Rumblings and rumors had surrounded the Jazz all season. Whispers of what the fallout of another early playoff exit could look like were a common undertone for Utah. Would it mean the end of the Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell partnership in Salt Lake City? And if the Jazz are blowing it up, should the Spurs try to make a move for one of their stars?
Why the San Antonio Spurs should avoid trading for either one of Utah's star players
In an article that came out exactly one day after Utah's embarrassing departure from the playoffs, ESPN's Tim MacMahon outlined what had happened in Utah over the past and the difficult decisions the franchise is going to have to make this summer. This isn't the first time the dynamic between the two Jazz stars has been under a microscope. The rumors have followed them for years and it looks like they've finally reached a breaking point.
While the more attractive acquisition might be Utah's head coach, it's fair to say the Spurs might poke around to see what it cost them if the Jazz signal that one or both of their stars might be available. It should end there. Under no circumstances should San Antonio put together the kind of massive trade package it will take to land one of these players.
I'm not opposed to the Spurs making a move for a star this summer to accelerate the rebuild that they've been working on over the past few seasons - I'm just not sold that these are the star players they should be going for.
Mitchell is a great player, there's no debating that. He's been one of the most dangerous scorers in the game for a few years now and has already set records for scoring in the playoffs. But is he worth what it would take to trade for him? Should the Spurs believe in a future built around a Mitchell and Dejounte Murray backcourt so much that they'd be willing to unload all the players and picks it would take to make it happen?
It's going to cost the Spurs multiple young players and multiple first-round picks if they want to get Mitchell. Would you want to see them trade Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, Josh Primo, their first-round pick this year, and another future first for Mitchell? All that for a player who looks like he has "future New York Knick" all over him. They'd just be setting themselves up to see another star leave in a few years.
The fit between Rudy Gobert and the Spurs roster would be better but San Antonio already has Jakob Poeltl. Adding Gobert could make San Antonio a top-ten defensive team. As appealing as that may be, it's still hard to rationalize trading young players and picks for a soon to be
30-year-old center set to make over $160 million over the next four seasons. Especially when you've got one of the better rim protectors in the league on your team making a fraction of that.
Why should the Spurs give up promising young players and first-round picks when they can use their $22+ million in cap space to try to land one this summer? Maybe the lottery balls bounce the Spurs' way and they luck out with a top-four pick in the draft.
There's more than one way to add a star. It makes no sense for the Spurs to make that happen via trade when they'll have multiple other opportunities this summer.