Why did the Spurs trade the 33rd overall pick in the NBA Draft?

Twins Ausar and Amen Thompson become first brothers selected in top 10 in same year
Twins Ausar and Amen Thompson become first brothers selected in top 10 in same year / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

The Spurs were widely rumored to be looking to trade back into the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft, but a deal failed to come to fruition on Thursday night. The only first-rounder the San Antonio walked away with was Victor Wembanyama, which instantly made the team an undeniable winner.

While the Spurs stood pat, General Manager Brian Wright told local media that the front office "did try to move around in the first round a little bit" during a post-draft press conference. There were rumors and smokescreens leading up to the big night, but not many trades happened outside of a handful of small deals. However, it was the second round that saw plenty of action as teams swapped picks left and right, with the Celtics somehow acquiring four future picks from draft night trades alone. But San Antonio didn't let themselves get left out of all the wheeling and dealing.

In a surprise move that stunned some fans, the Spurs sent the 33rd overall pick to the Timberwolves for a 2028 second-rounder from Minnesota and a 2026 second-rounder from Utah. That move left the Silver and Black with one remaining second-round pick, which they used to select Sidy Cissoko with the 44th overall pick.

But why would the Spurs trade out from a very advantageous pick that some teams would consider a late first-round value? Why don't we let Wright explain the rationale behind that decision?

Wright is no stranger to stacking draft capital during his tenure as general manager, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that he took an opportunity to add more picks for the value of one. While Wright didn't give specific reasoning or a glimpse at the team's draft board, it might be safe to assume the Spurs saw more value in the future draft assets over taking a player that would still be available when the 44th pick came around.

The Spurs ended up landing Cissoko, and it sounds like the Frenchman was a player on their radar from the start.

"We were ecstatic that he was there [at 44th overall]"

Brian Wright

The Spurs were also able to sign undrafted free agents Jabari Rice and Charles Bediako at the end of the night, coming out with four new players after the draft. In the end, the Spurs acquired four players and added additional picks to their treasure trove of draft capital