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San Antonio Spurs: Who is expendable in trade for a top 2021 NBA Draft pick?

San Antonio Spurs Keldon Johnson, Dejounte Murray, Derrick White
San Antonio Spurs Keldon Johnson, Dejounte Murray, Derrick White / Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
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San Antonio Spurs Derrick White / Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Derrick White is off-limits in a San Antonio Spurs trade

Just last week, Kyle Forson made a great point when he asked, "Have we all forgotten about Derrick White? It's understandable if some people have somewhat forgotten how valuable he is -- after all, he missed half of the Spurs' games this season. His recent proneness to injury is the only thing that gives me pause in my above statement.

While I understand there is potential franchise-changing talent toward the top of the draft, I'm not sure anyone outside of Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley are locks in that regard. The top two teams wouldn't trade those picks anyway. So it comes down to if you want to trade your best player (which I believe White is) for a relative gamble on someone like Jonathan Kuminga or Scottie Barnes.

It's easy to get lost in the recent injury issues and forget how much of a difference-maker White is on both ends of the floor. While he and Dejounte Murray are the best two-way players on the team, his offensive game sets him apart.

You have to keep in mind the direction the NBA is headed, where the 3-point shot is the most valuable weapon in the game. Derrick more than doubled his attempts per game this season while maintaining a decent percentage at 34.6. Patty Mills was the only other Spur to attempt more than 4.7 threes per game this season.

White's defensive instincts are also impeccable, making it a necessity to give him heavy minutes for the Spurs to succeed. I'm not willing to give that up quiet yet, unless the injury issues really keep mounting going forward.

As for Keldon Johnson, I'm also inclined to agree with the Twitter poll that he should be off limits, but I'd be easier swayed depending on where the traded pick would land the Spurs. If there's somehow a chance for Mobley if the Rockets decide to draft a guard and the Cavs trade number three, you probably have to let Keldon go in that situation.

Of the three, Lonnie Walker would likely be the most tradeable in my mind, given how his ceiling is still relatively uncertain. I still have high hopes that he could really be special in this league someday, though.

Next. Spurs: 2021 NBA Draft Big Board 2.0. dark

Whatever the case may be, the Spurs must examine all possible avenues to improve, and the eyes of San Antonio will be on them on draft day to see if they'll finally make some waves.

The 2021 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday, July 29 at 8 p.m. ET, with the first round airing on both ESPN and ABC.

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