Trade season is about to start in earnest. Do you see the Spurs making a move any time soon?
Marilyn Dubinski: They aren’t under any pressure to, so I imagine they’ll be the ones waiting for offers instead of actively seeking to make a trade. Thaddeus Young is an enticing piece for many playoff teams, as is Bryn Forbes (reportedly), but it’s not like the Spurs are in a LaMarcus Aldridge situation and desperately need to move-them-or-lose-them. I can see Young eventually getting moved for a piece and/or picks (and outside of an intriguing young player, I imagine draft capital is what the Spurs are ultimately after), but it might be closer to the trade deadline as they wait for offers. (Then again, maybe there was something to Forbes and Young being the only DNP’s against New Orleans?)
Mark Barrington: I think it’s possible that they move Thad Young. If they can get something of value for him, it could be beneficial for both parties. The Suns’ Jalen Smith could be an interesting return, although another player would have to be added to match salaries. That would be ideal, especially if he came with a first round pick. [I’m dreaming, right?]
Bruno Passos: Unless it’s Young — who will almost certainly be in another jersey by March — I think they stand pat until we get closer to the deadline and they figure out where they stand in the playoff picture. Even though they seem to be behaving a little differently in seeking out trade assets, it still doesn’t seem in their DNA to rush into anything this early, and no other players have a clear market worth exploring.
Jesus Gomez: It all depends on how desperate other teams get.If someone is shorthanded and wants to give up anything of value for Thaddeus Young, Bryn Forbes or any other non-core player, I’m sure the Spurs would jump at the opportunity. They also do have the contracts to be a third team that facilitates a big trade, so that’s something to monitor, but nothing seems imminent. I feel like we’ll have to wait until closer to the trade deadline to see any moves, and I don’t expect any huge ones from the Spurs.
Do you think the Ben Simmons saga will come to an end now?
Dubinski: Not as long as the 76ers asking price remains so high. They want another superstar in return for him (along with plenty of other pieces), and for the most part teams that theoretically have the players they would want would likely be downgrading to get Simmons. Not to mention, he’s pulling a Kawhi and drastically lowering his trade value with his refusal to participate with the team, and then refusing to cooperate with the team’s attempts to help him with his mental health issues that are reportedly keeping him away. The reality is the 76ers aren’t under too much pressure (yet) to indulge him, and the other 29 teams aren’t under pressure to indulge the 76ers, so this will probably continue on until at least closer to the trade deadline, if not into the offseason.
Barrington: No, best case is that Simmons decides to play and spends the rest of the year coming off the bench for the Sixers. I doubt he’ll do much for his trade value, so next off-season Philly will have to accept a more realistic return for him and he’ll be sent to the west coast.
Passos: I thought it made sense for a team to swing for Simmons before the season, but I don’t understand why a team would bother now, especially at the price the 76ers are reportedly asking. Despite his elite defense, Simmons isn’t an easy piece to plug into a system because of how much he needs the ball in his hands to be effective. Any team hoping to compete or contend in the months ahead would need to rethink how they operate offensively, and they’d be doing so with a guy who hadn’t played competitive ball in over half a year. Is it worth trading away major pieces and future assets to take on a midseason project of that kind? In my opinion, it would take a desperate bottom-dweller to pay up and not too many of those have the kinds of players Philly would in theory be demanding in return.
Gomez: Maybe? It all depends on the Sixers. It’s shouldn’t be too hard to do. I can easily see a three-team trade in which the Pacers, who are looking to shake things up, get Simmons to pair with Brogdon and Turner, Domantas Sabonis goes to a mystery team and the Sixers get an All-Star or a couple of quality starters, for example. Would that be enough for Daryl Morey? From the reports we are hearing, probably not. At some point the asking prize will have to be lowered, because Philadelphia can’t afford to waste a year of Joel Embiid’s prime, but who knows when that will happen.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how interested are you in trade speculation in general? Do you search for rumors or work the trade machine at all?
Dubinski: More interested than usual, but not overly, so I guess about a 6? Mainly because a trade for Young feels inevitable, but the odds that it lands the team something that will be franchise or even season-altering are relatively low, so that keeps the interest level from getting any higher than simply waiting for something to happen.
Barrington: I’m interested in well-sourced stories from team sources, which means that I won’t be getting anything Spurs-related, since they keep things pretty tightly held in-house. I look forward to nothing happening again this year, although the Spurs did do a significant trade last year after the season with the sign and trade of DeRozan for Young and a pick, which will pay even more dividends if the Spurs can move Thaddeus this season.
Passos: 3? It used to be higher but there’s too much of an incentive right now for newsbreakers and faux newsbreakers to shill reports for the sake of clicks and PR. I do still enjoy reading sourced reporting that goes into any reasoning, dysfunction or sea changes that may be behind rumors, but too much of the intel is fed from front offices or agents with very skewed purposes, and we eat it up because we like to speculate. I’d rather wait for the deadline and soak up the endorphins that come from a bunch of last-second movement.
Gomez: About a 7. Rumors are fun and I do like to play around with the trade machine. Fortunately, I’ve managed to avoid the urge to shove my fake trades in people’s faces, so at least I don’t bother anyone with the many ways I’ve tried to get Harrison Barnes to the Spurs. It’s become harder to know which rumors are true, and concocting too many trades that technically work in the trade machine sometimes gives people the idea that the front office is too passive, because there are a lot of moves they could theoretically make, but finding a balance between being entertained by trade talk while actually enjoying the actual play more is not a big problem for me.