The San Antonio Spurs' decision to trade long-time center Jakob Poeltl hinged on receiving assets instead of letting him walk in free agency. However, it was probably partially done to improve their chances of landing the number one pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. So far, that has worked like a charm. The team is just 2-8 since the deal, and they appear to have guaranteed themselves a spot in the bottom three of the league standings. That ensures they'll have the highest possible odds in the NBA Draft Lottery.
Even then, that doesn't guarantee that the ping-pong balls will bounce in the Spurs' favor, and they could just as easily end up with the second or third pick come June. As a result, the Spurs should have a backup plan if they fail to land Victor Wembanyama. At the moment, that appears to be incumbent starting center Zach Collins and recently extended backup Charles Bassey. That would undoubtedly be a step down from the alternative of having Wembanyama, but it's at least a viable option. Then again, the Spurs could use some of their significant cap space to pursue an upgrade in free agency.
Naz Reid could be an option for the Spurs
Minnesota Timberwolves backup center Naz Reid comes to mind as a player who could fit with the Spurs. At just 23, Reid is one of the better second-string centers in the NBA, averaging 10.7 points and 4.9 rebounds in just 18.1 minutes per game, and since he was an undrafted player, he will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. That is an important detail since the Timberwolves won't have the right of first refusal, increasing the possibility that the Spurs or another team could sign him away from them.
According to reports, the Timberwolves expect to lose Reid in free agency even though they own his Bird Rights. That's likely due to them owing two of their big men, Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, a combined $80M next season and not wanting to pay $10M or more to retain another. Their loss could be the Spurs' gain. Reid could slot in as the team's starting center, with Collins returning to his bench role and Bassey continuing to earn minutes until San Antonio potentially moves Collins by next year's deadline for assets.
While Reid hasn't been as good of a three-point shooter as Collins this season, he can still knock down outside shots. He can even effectively attack closeouts, which isn't something that most stretch-fives can do. Reid is also a solid athlete and a capable roll man who is an excellent finisher around the basket.
Reid has averaged an impressive 16.5 points and 7.0 rebounds while boasting a terrific 57.8% True Shooting Percentage as a starter for the Wolves this season. He also has a +11 net rating during those 11 games, which suggests he might be ready to spread his wings and become a full-time starter.
Several teams could be in the market for an upgrade at center and might look his way, though other bigs are entering free agency, such as Kristaps Porzingis and Poeltl, who could draw attention and money away from him. Ultimately, if the Spurs strike out on landing Wembanyama, they should pursue him and potentially sign him to an affordable four-year deal.