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Why trading Bryn Forbes was the right move for the Spurs

The Spurs did right by their guy while also securing a decent haul for a player that had no future on the team.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The first — and possibly not last — domino of the trade season has fallen for the Spurs, with them trading Bryn Forbes to Denver as part of a three-team dealing. In return, they are receiving Juancho Hernangomez from the Celtics and the Nuggets’ 2028 second round pick.

Did the Spurs do the right thing by trading Bryn Forbes? Are you happy with the return?

Marilyn Dubinski: I have never been one of those fans who constantly complained about Forbes existing on the Spurs roster, especially this season when he was being used correctly. That being said, I’m happy Forbes is going to what will likely be a better situation for him in Denver (I was honestly shocked he came back here to begin with when a rotation spot was not guaranteed, just shows how much he loves San Antonio), and his exit possibly opens the door for a permanent role for Josh Primo this season.

As for the return, there’s nothing exciting about the lesser Hernangomez brother or a second round pick that is six years away, and he’ll likely be the third stringer behind Keldon Johnson and some combination of Keita Bates-Diop and Zach Collins (assuming the latter returns soon), but this felt more like a move that was designed for Forbes and possibly to clear up room for Primo, and that’s enough to satisfy me — for now.

Mark Barrington: I’m happy for Bryn that he’s going to a contender. Bryn is a good player and a great locker room presence who has one elite skill and glaring deficiencies in the rest of his game. A player like that can be more valuable on a contending team than it is on a team near the bottom of the standings. They can plug him in whenever they need some quick points to win a game, but the Spurs need a whole lot more than that.

I’m happy with the return, because Bryn wasn’t going to do much this year with the Spurs anyway, and even if Hernangomez is bought out, any kind of pick in the future will provide value to the team, even if it’s only an asset that gets traded for other assets. I haven’t seen Juancho play this year, so I remain hopeful that he might be able to contribute something because he’s really long and plays hard. If he doesn’t work out, his salary for next season isn’t guaranteed, so the Spurs can move on easily.

Bruno Passos: I’m likely among the minority of people who haven’t had a laser focus on Juancho Hernangomez the past few years outside of his starring in an upcoming Adam Sandler movie. He’s vaguely seemed like the type of versatile frontcourt player most teams need, and I know he had fans in Denver some seasons ago. Why he didn’t catch on in Minnesota or Boston I don’t know, although that’s reason for fans to temper their expectations. As of now, the biggest return on the deal may be Forbes’ minutes freed up for the likes of Josh Primo.

That said, Juancho’s larger salary (while his next year is non-guaranteed, he will cost the front office a bit more than Forbes this season) and playing a position of need make you think the Spurs envision a role for him outside of a flyer. In the least he may be a more useful depth piece than Forbes as the Spurs try and stay in the play-in mix; maybe he gets waived and gives the front office more roster flexibility in trading Thaddeus Young.

Jesus Gomez: It was strange that the Spurs signed Forbes in the offseason in the first place, so it’s not surprising at all that he’s gone before the deadline. He was good in his role this year, but he’s not going to change the fortunes of the team and was not a part of the future, so I think it was the right thing to move him. Sending him to a good team that should give him minutes from day one was a classy thing for the Spurs to do as well. The trade in all likelihood makes San Antonio slightly worse, but it shouldn’t have a huge impact.

The return is unimpressive, but Forbes was never going to fetch a first round pick or an intriguing prospect. A second rounder and a chance at a reclamation project in Hernangomez seems adequate. I don’t see Juancho playing much, but with all the absences we’ve seen this season, having an extra forward with NBA experience is not a bad thing, and since his contract for next year is non-guaranteed, there’s really no risk.

Do you think the Spurs will get more, less or nothing at all (buyout) for Thaddeus Young?

Dubinski: I hope they get something back for him, although I don’t expect too much unless they’re willing to include of their young players with him (like Lonnie Walker — which hurts me to say). I’ll be disappointed if it comes down to yet another buyout of a veteran the Spurs couldn’t move despite at least theoretically having plenty of value around the league, but I wouldn’t necessarily see it as a massive failure by PATFO. The point of the DeMar DeRozan trade was to do him a favor and get him where he wanted to go, and of course get something in return for him. It was obvious from day one that the Spurs valued the draft capital they got in that trade the most, and they still have that.

Barrington: Obviously, Thaddeus is a much better and more valuable player than Bryn, but trades in the NBA of a player with his salary (approximately $14 million) can be difficult to execute. I think the Suns could definitely use him, unless they decide to roll with Bismack Biyombo, but they would have to return more than one player to match salaries, which could end with Hernangomez getting bought out to absorb more players.

Passos: I think there are enough competing and contending teams clustered together that he represents a pretty compelling difference-maker, even if he’s not been on the floor much this year. If another piece like the recently injured Myles Turner goes off the board, why not lease Young at a lower cost and see if he’s what puts you over the top? It may be tough for the Spurs to make the money work, given his high salary, but that’s where Hernangomez’s roster spot may allow them to absorb multiple players (and, ideally, an asset in return).

Gomez: The closer we get to the deadline, the more likely a buyout becomes, because every other team knows that if they don’t move him, the Spurs are not just going to keep him from joining a playoff team out of spite. But hopefully a general manager out there wants to make sure they get a good small ball center instead of taking his chances on the buyout market and throws the Spurs at the very least a second rounder and a young player. I can see San Antonio getting a pick that conveys sooner than the Nuggets’ and someone younger than Juancho for Thad, but I don’t think they’ll get a first rounder or a great prospect for him, so probably a similar return.