It's no secret to the rest of the NBA that the San Antonio Spurs could be one of the most active teams at the trade deadline on Thursday, but who will they look to add to their roster? A few names have floated around the rumor mill, but last week, reports surfaced that the Silver and Black were "closely monitoring" Hornets forward Jalen McDaniels. While other playoff teams are also keeping their eyes on McDaniels (hello, Suns), there are good reasons to believe he could come in and contribute to a rebuilding Spurs team while bolstering the frontcourt depth.
In a league where wings are highly valued, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Jalen McDaniels has drawn trade interest from so many teams. The fourth-year power forward from San Diego State is having a career year, averaging career highs in almost every statistic (10.8 PPG and 4.9 RPG) while also playing in all of the Hornets' 54 games. His six-nine frame and seven-foot wingspan also make him a threat on the defensive end, using his length to get into passing lanes to rack up steals and block. McDaniels is a respectable spot-up threat (55% True Shooting Percentage), but he's also improved a lot as a shot creator, taking defenders one-on-one and pulling up for midrange buckets.
There are plenty of things to like about Jalen McDaniels, but where he could fit in the rotation, and how much would the Spurs have to give up for him? Keldon Johnson, Jeremy Sochan, and Doug McDermott are the top forwards right now for San Antonio. But with McDermott possibly on the way out at the deadline, a spot could open up for McDaniels either as a starter or off the bench. McDaniels' height could also allow Head Coach Gregg Popovich to experiment with different lineups, such as having Keldon at shooting guard, Jalen at small forward, and Jeremy Sochan at power forward.
Given his upside and skill set, the Hornets will likely ask for at least a first-round pick in return for McDaniels. That may seem like a steep price for a player who will become an unrestricted free agent after this season, but the Spurs could pursue McDaniels in free agency if they still need an extra forward this summer. Jalen McDaniels isn't the biggest name on the market regarding possible trade acquisitions, but his skill set could be invaluable to a young, rebuilding San Antonio squad. It wouldn't be the first time a San Diego State product shows out in a Spurs uniform.