Spurs GM Brian Wright gives blunt response to trading the team's two best players

Keldon Johnson
Keldon Johnson / Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

With speculation that the San Antonio Spurs will trade up during this year's draft, GM Brian Wright recently chose to clarify who was untouchable in trade talks. When asked by San Antonio Express-News writer Mike Finger about what it would take for a team to trade for Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell, he had this response:

Wright's comments are interesting but perhaps not entirely surprising. While there was discussion among fans about trading Johnson to Houston for the fourth pick and drafting a point guard, Wright poured cold water on that possibility. That doesn't necessarily close the door on the Spurs trading up in the draft, however.

The Spurs can trade up without moving Johnson or Vassell

Thanks to a harsh new collective bargaining agreement targeting big-spending teams, some of them may look to turn their first into multiple assets. If the Spurs see a player that they like slides down the draft board into the teens, then they could reach out to a team such as the Los Angeles Lakers, who have the 17th selection.

Trading the 33rd, 44th, and their 2024 second might be enough for the Spurs to move up while allowing the Lakers to use the newly created second-round pick exception to sign three rookies to dirt cheap contracts. San Antonio could even trade two future first-rounders to a team such as the Dallas Mavericks, who may want to restock their draft pick war chest. Dallas has the 10th selection but may opt to turn that into the 33rd pick, and the Raptors top-six protected first as well as Charlotte's lottery-protected first in 2024.

Or, the Spurs could play wait and see and look to package their multiple first-round picks together in next year's draft. Either way, Wright appears deadset against including Johnson and Vassell in any deal. That appears to be the right decision and will give the Spurs a chance to see how they fit around their soon-to-be new franchise player, Victor Wembanyama.