The Spurs' Bold Trade Deadline Shows They Mean Business

Devin Vassell Dejounte Murray Derrick White Keldon Johnson
Devin Vassell Dejounte Murray Derrick White Keldon Johnson / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages
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San Antonio Spurs
Gregg Popovich, Zach LaVine / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

The Spurs can choose their own destiny with their assets and (hopefully) a big break

With the flexibility accumulated since trading DeMar DeRozan in the offseason, San Antonio can take several routes. Should a disgruntled star force their way off their current team, the Spurs have the assets to make a big trade and catapult their group back into playoff contention. They also possess the pieces to move up in the draft should they see fit or simply pick four rookies to build within their system.

This feeds back into the idea that they have afforded themselves the flexibility to cultivate their next playoff contender. Whether that be through internal growth via drafting and developing, or fast-tracking the process, San Antonio has finally arrived in the modern NBA.

All the while, they’ve sustained their philosophy of doing right by their players. White joins a talented, surging Boston Celtics team with two superstars that he’s quite friendly with thanks to their 2019 Team USA experience under, you guessed it, Coach Pop.

Though Young wasn’t traded to a title contender, he’s now in a situation where he can play a significant role with the Raptors and build up his stock ahead of free agency. Even Forbes, who was only back with the Spurs for half a season, was moved to a better situation playing with the reigning MVP in Nikola Jokic.

This trade deadline is proof that the San Antonio Spurs can stick to their core beliefs as a franchise without lagging behind. Moving White opens new opportunities for young players like Vassell, Johnson, and rookie Joshua Primo to get acclimated to NBA basketball while gaining more confidence and expanding their skill-sets. The same applies to Forbes, who soaked up a significant gunslinging role off the bench this year.

Spurs cap expert Paul Garcia -- a writer for Project Spurs and a fantastic Twitter follow -- estimates that San Antonio can open up $33.4 million in cap space this offseason.

This may not be the most outstanding free agent class, but there are a handful of transformative players the Spurs can pursue with that money.

Otherwise, they can keep building on the margins, adding young talent, and growing from within. Barring an unprecedented run after the NBA All-Star break, the Spurs will have their highest lottery pick since Tim Duncan this offseason; a milestone they previously reached when taking Vassell 11th in 2020.

So what did the Spurs’ deadline ultimately say about their direction? Well, it didn’t outline exactly how they’re going after it, but they made it clear that they aren’t afraid to shake things up to get there. By moving off some older pieces, it shows that the Spurs organization will prioritize its young talent in an attempt to build that next contender from within.

It also signals that San Antonio aims to maintain flexibility by maximizing talent and assets to the best of its ability until the clear path forward rears its head.

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Do we know the Spurs’ exact game plan for the future? Certainly not -- and maybe the front office doesn’t have that defined yet either. But they will be ready to heed the call when it arrives.