What's next for the rebuilding Spurs after a busy trade deadline?

Ty Jager
San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers
San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers / Harry How/GettyImages
3 of 4
Next Slide
Devonte' Graham
New Orleans Pelicans v Washington Wizards / Rob Carr/GettyImages

Will there be a changing of the guard?

Josh Richardson arrived in the 2-1-0 via a deadline-day deal last year and served as the primary swingman coming off the bench. But ultimately, everyone knew he wouldn't be in San Antonio for a long time, especially with his expiring contract. The sharpshooting journeyman was a reliable veteran presence for the Spurs, and they eventually squeezed value out of him journeyman, netting four second-round picks alongside Devonte' Graham.

Graham joins a team with a crowded backcourt teeming with younger players. Tre Jones, Blake Wesley, Malaki Branham, Romeo Langford, and Devin Vassell already have a place on the depth chart, and Graham is the oldest guard by a country mile.

The 27-year-old was a salary dump for the Pelicans, who were looking to rid themselves of his multi-year contract in exchange for a win-now marksman. New Orleans could also generate nearly $12M in cap space this offseason since Richardson is on an expiring deal.

The question remains, can Graham be a game-changer for San Antonio's future? The answer is probably a resounding no. Graham will add guard depth to an injury-ridden rotation, filling in for Tre Jones and Romeo Langford while they're still on the mend. Outside of that, he might not have much utility.

San Antonio made this trade to build their draft capital, earning picks for shouldering Graham's contract and forking over Richardson. Graham is due $12.1M next season, but his final year only comes with a $2.85M partial guarantee.

The Spurs have two routes for determining how to use Graham. One, Graham doesn't play many minutes and ends up as an end-of-the-bench insurance policy. Not the worst outcome considering San Antonio could easily waive him without hurting their long-term salary situation.

The second path would be for Graham to show out and find life again in San Antonio, possibly setting up a future trade for the Spurs to obtain even more draft capital at next season's trade deadline. Either way, don't expect Graham to be mainstay for the Silver and Black.