Spurs swing on Wizards forward Rui Hachimura in this pre-deadline trade

Rui Hachimura - New Orleans Pelicans v Washington Wizards
Rui Hachimura - New Orleans Pelicans v Washington Wizards / Rob Carr/GettyImages
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What could break this deal for both teams?

Ultimately, even if most or all of the logic behind a trade proposal is sound, the smallest of variables can make or break any trade in the eyes of executives, and this trade is no different.

In the Spurs' case, if they were to accept this trade, this would mean that they're buying into the upside of one or both of Hachimura and Gafford. Hachimura will almost certainly be seen as the higher-upside player of the two, however, so the Spurs would have to buy in on his potential first and foremost. And the swing factor that could decide which side of the debate the Spurs fall on is his defense.

Despite Hachimura's size (standing at roughly 6'8" and weighing 230 pounds) and 7'2" wingspan, he's struggled to be consistently effective on defense so far in his career and almost certainly won't help the Spurs' league-worst defense any time soon. While he's shown flashes of impressive on-ball defense--particularly against wings and bigs--he still struggles to defend smaller guards on the perimeter. When away from the ball, he's prone to ball-watching, getting backdoored, and overhelping. While the athletic tools for him to succeed are very much there, the instincts aren't yet.

Furthermore, because the Spurs' ideal outcome is to receive three combined 1st round picks for Richardson and Poeltl, whether or not they believe the return package (even with a 1st round pick already included) would hold the same value over time is very up in the air.

While the Spurs' decision would likely be based mostly on long-term value, for the Wizards, it will likely be based more on risk vs. reward. The trade itself would likely have to be predicated on the Wizards' belief that a trio of Beal-Kuzma-Porzingis, or at the very least a duo of Beal and Kuzma, is a viable playoff-level foundation to build upon.

Next. Grading a mock trade that sends Doug McDermott to New York. dark

If the Wizards plan to offer Kuzma and Porzingis sizable contracts on top of an already-expensive max contract for Bradley Beal, the team will likely be forced to spend conservatively on the rest of the roster. Those numbers could then be crunched even further were the team to re-sign one or both of Poeltl and Richardson. Particularly for a team that hasn't had the best track record in the draft, roster depth could become a concern very quickly.

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