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A Spurs fan’s guide to the NBA trade season

Trade season unoffically starts on Dec. 15 so expect more rumors to start flying around. Here’s all you need to know.

NBA: Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Trade season is officially upon us. In the next few days and weeks, more and more rumors will start to appear as now most of the players in the league can be traded. Things could get wild soon and this year the Spurs could once again be involved in the festivities, so here’s all you need to know.

Why does trade season start now?

In the NBA, teams that have signed a free agent can’t trade him for three months or until Dec. 15, whichever comes later. That means that most of the players who signed a deal last offseason were ineligible to be moved until now. Considering how much activity there is in free agency in the modern NBA, it shouldn’t be surprising to know that the number of players who can now be included in trades is 78.

There are a couple of big names on that list, like James Harden and Colin Sexton, but it’s unlikely they get moved. The reason why there might be more trade activity now is that teams that made signings that didn’t pan out could be looking to move on and with almost all of the players being tradeable now, matching salaries should be easier. As an example, the Lakers now have five players they can include in any package that they simply were stuck with until today.

How does any of this affect the Spurs?

The Spurs don’t have any players who have become eligible be to traded now, so they are not directly affected by the trigger date, but as a rebuilding team with cap space and a few veterans that could be available, they could be active as the market heats up.

Josh Richardson, Doug McDermott and Jakob Poeltl have seen their names involved in some trade rumors already, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see more teams inquire about them and potentially others now that they have more players to include.

Additionally, teams that are over the tax limit or are simply looking to reduce their payroll might reach out to San Antonio’s front office and try to dump a free agent they signed in the offseason after getting buyer’s remorse. For example, could the Mavericks use a draft pick to cut their losses on the JaVale McGee signing? Would the Nets look to move Patty Mills, now that he’s out of the rotation? If they want to do that, the Spurs would be one of their first calls, since they can absorb their salaries outright, for a price.

Are there any reports about the Spurs out there already?

There really aren’t any substantial reports involving the Spurs yet. The front office has made it known that McDermott and Richardson are available and a lot of teams could be interested in Jakob Poeltl, according to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus, but everyone knew that already. The Raptors could be a team to watch regarding a potential Jakob Poeltl trade, according to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer, but nothing seems imminent.

Who should I trust when it comes to rumors?

Things are a little quiet right now but there will eventually be a lot more rumors flying around. Most of them won’t come true, but that doesn’t mean discussions didn’t happen. What’s important to remember is that there is a huge difference between articles discussing hypothetical trades that could make sense and actual reports. It can be fun to come up with potential transactions and people like reading about them, but just because someone comes up with a way to get Player X to Team Y in a way that complies with the NBA’s trade rules doesn’t mean it has any chance of actually happening.

As for who to trust both in terms of sites and social media, anyone with a good track record should be fine. The go-to for NBA fans when it comes to trade rumors are ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania, but there are a lot of other generally reliable sources. If you get most of your hoops information through social media it will be important to remember to double-check usernames since there are always some impostors. If you rely on accounts that aggregate reports, make sure to follow the link to get the full context of quotes.

And of course, there also always Pounding the Rock for all your Spurs-related information. If any serious reports crop up, we’ll make sure you’ll be able to find them here.