The NBA has officially set a start date for next season, the 2020 NBA Draft is less than two weeks away, and offseason buzz is beginning to swirl with the trade moratorium scheduled to lift shortly before November 18th. One rumor ESPN Senior Writer Zach Lowe heard “from someone with in the league” is the Spurs sending LaMarcus Aldridge and the 11th pick to the Warriors for the second overall pick and a salary filler player.
Although it would be exciting for San Antonio to move up in the draft and have a shot at selecting any one of Deni Avdija, James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards, or LaMelo Ball, Golden State has little incentive to pull that trigger for a multitude of reasons. Packaging Andrew Wiggins or Draymond Green would be the only way to make this trade work financially, and considering Green is the heart and soul of the Warriors, the former is more likely to be involved.
Stylistically, Aldridge is far from a perfect fit for Golden State. Despite stretching the floor well in the latter half of the season, he has been a ball-stopper when playing a significant offensive role and disappeared for long stretches when ceding touches to others. He also lacks the playmaking and defensive versatility of Green, a former Defensive Player of the Year, and I’m just not convinced he pushes the Warriors any further into immediate title contender territory.
Receiving Wiggins wouldn’t be the worst scenario for the Spurs considering their lack of wing depth, but losing Aldridge would cut their frontcourt depth down to Jakob Poeltl, Drew Eubanks, Tyler Zeller, Rudy Gay, Trey Lyles, Chimezie Metu, and Luka Samanic. While seven bodies may seem like more than enough to get by, Eubanks is a free agent, there’s no guarantee the Spurs retain Poeltl in restricted free agency, and only Gay and Samanic have fully guaranteed contracts next season. And even if the Spurs did retain all of those guys, you could reasonably categorize half of them as fringe rotation talents anyway.
Even Lowe vocalized his disdain for trading the second pick for LaMarcus, and it makes sense why he wouldn’t support such a transaction. Honestly, it isn’t easy to place a value on Aldridge. The seven-time All-Star’s best days are behind him, and he’s just five months removed from season-ending shoulder surgery, so it’s fair to question how much longer the 35-year-old big man can sustain his above-average level of production.
PATFO value continuity above everything, and trades rarely happen in San Antonio. The Spurs have made the fourth-fewest deals in NBA history, and excluding sign-and-trades, their last swap came in 2018 when they shipped Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to the Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Poeltl, and the pick that became Keldon Johnson. Even when they execute an exchange, big names are seldom sent packing.
The Spurs have already spent two of their allotted ten in-person pre-draft meetings on projected early-lottery picks Onyeka Okgonwu and Deni Avdija, so I wouldn’t entirely dismiss the possibility of a deal getting done sometime soon. However, I doubt the Spurs and Warriors agree to the terms of the trade detailed earlier. Should PATFO decide to stay put at 11, there will be a plethora of attractive prospects worthy of adding to their talented young core.