With the NBA trade deadline just two days away, things are ramping up around the NBA. Plenty of action has already happened with the teams immediately around the Spurs in the standings, with the Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans executing a trade centered around exchanging CJ McCollum and Josh Hart, and the Sacramento Kings acquiring Domantas Sabonis from the Indiana Pacers in a big shakeup for both franchises.
Full trade, per sources:— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2022
Blazers: Josh Hart, Tomas Satoransky, Nickeil Walker-Alexander, Didi Louzada, 2022 protected first-round pick, two second-round picks.
Pelicans: CJ McCollum, Larry Nance, Tony Snell.
Jeremy Lamb AND Justin Holiday. https://t.co/0GbRwKcRBP— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2022
As for the Spurs, while the most notable trade rumors out there currently center around Jakob Poeltl — whom they rightfully have a very high asking price for — the piece they are actively looking to move themselves is veteran forward Thaddeus Young. According to Hoops Hype, several teams have expressed interest in him, most notably the Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Suns have been inquiring about Young almost since the day the Spurs got him, with talks reportedly being centered around big men Dario Saric and/or Jalen Smith. Saric, a 6’-10” forward/center combo, is likely out for the season with a torn ACL, and Smith — whom the Suns surprisingly selected 10th overall in the 2020 draft, one spot ahead of Devin Vassell — just hasn’t been a part of their plans as they contend for their first championship in franchise history.
Saric has one year, $9.67 mil left on his contract after this season, while Smith is a little more complicated. The Suns did not pick up the third-year option on his contract, meaning he will become a free agent this summer, and the Spurs (or whoever has him at the end of the season) would not be able to sign him to any more than he would have made in the third year of his rookie deal. Simply put, he could only be offered $4.7 million, and if another team came along and offered more and he accepted, that team would lose him. More than likely, any team that trades for Smith would mainly be using him as a salary dump with no long-term plans to keep him.
Another team Hoops Hype lists as having been in “exploratory” talks with the Spurs regarding Young is the Timberwolves, reportedly for Taurean Prince and a second round pick. That would definitely be a more intriguing deal for the Spurs, even if it wouldn’t be a game-changer. Not only would it bring home one of San Antonio’s prodigal sons, but the Warren High School graduate could potentially contribute right away as a floor-stretching power forward with an above average shooting stroke from beyond the arc. In turn, Young would provide the Wolves with a veteran presence as they look to make the playoffs for the first time in fives years (and just the second since the Kevin Garnett era).
The Spurs acquired Young in the trade that sent DeMar DeRozan to the Chicago Bulls during the offseason, and it has always been clear that they valued the draft capital acquired in that trade more than the players they received. They waived Al-Farouq Aminu before the start of the season and have been actively seeking to find a new home for Young, considering he is not part of their rebuilding plans and would like to join a contender. The Suns would accomplish that goal for him, but with Minnesota well on its way to making the playoffs, he would probably accept that trade, too.