The week of the NBA trade deadline is typically one of the most exciting weeks of the season and this year is shaping up to be no different. The San Antonio Spurs probably won't be shaking up their roster too much before the Thursday afternoon deadline but that certainly won't stop them from helping other teams make moves if San Antonio gets a little reward for pitching in.
The biggest name to watch before the deadline is obviously Kyrie Irving. The Brooklyn Nets' star point guard let his team know that he wants to be traded before Thursday or intends to leave in free agency this summer. I don't think anyone is shocked that Kyrie is trying to force his way out but the new development could end up benefitting the Spurs.
Spurs could play a pivotal role in facilitating a Kyrie Irving blockbuster
SpursTalk insider LJ Ellis reported that the phones in the Spurs war room have been ringing off the hook since Kyrie made his intentions clear. San Antonio was already fielding calls about Jakob Poeltl ahead of the deadline but their ample cap space and what it would mean for any trade involving a certain Western Conference rival is what has taken their activity to new heights.
A Spurs insider tells Ellis that Kyrie's trade demand accelerated talks with the Los Angeles Lakers, who would look to San Antonio to take on Russell Westbrook and send a few assets to Brooklyn in order to get the Nets to go in on a deal that would send Kyrie to the Lakers.
The general framework of the deal makes a lot of sense and is something Spurs fans have thought of as a viable possibility for a while now. The Westbrook - Lakers' marriage was never a perfect fit and San Antonio is one of the only teams in the NBA with the cap space to take him on without blowing up their roster. If they can pick up a first-round pick or two to help facilitate the deal then I think they should be all for it.
However, there is one key hang-up in any deal involving the Lakers, the Spurs, and Kyrie -- and that's the number of picks Los Angeles has to give away to make this thing happen. Per Ellis's reporting, the Spurs and Nets are both looking to get at least two firsts back in any potential trade.
That's a problem for Los Angeles as they've already traded away most of their first-round picks for the foreseeable future in an effort to make the most of LeBron's remaining years. They're stuck between a rock and a hard place now and have no one to blame but themselves for getting there.
Personally, I think it would be a lot of fun to see Westbrook in a Spurs uniform. When he's on he's an electric, albeit frustrating, player. He's also a seasoned veteran and former MVP who could teach the Spurs' young players about what it takes to get to that level. And I don't think in his current form that he's going to do a ton to pull San Antonio out of the Wembanyama-motivated nosedive they've been in for most of the season.
As fun as seeing Westbrook in silver and black would be, the Spurs should still hold firm on their asking price. They don't owe anyone any favors, this is business, and if the Lakers want San Antonio to help direct Kyrie to Los Angeles, they're going to need to be rewarded appropriately. Let's see if Rob Pelinka can work some magic to make that happen. If not, the Spurs should be more than willing to help another team get Kyrie if they can walk away with two more first-round picks.