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The Spurs have a bright future but may need to shake things up

An abundance of draft picks gives San Antonio flexibility to get aggressive on the trade market, possibly moving a team staple.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs: Spurs’ Future is Bright Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs’ future is bright. The standings may say otherwise, but the cornerstone pieces are there if they want them. The confusion lies in what happens next.

The NBA trade deadline is two months away. Whether the team is a player in the market (and who’d they retain if they are) is anyone’s guess. The dreams of a second coming of the “Big Three” are, for the moment, just dreams. I can confidently say Victor Wembanyama will be a Spur post-trade deadline. We can assume Devin Vassell is untouchable or pretty darn close, but there are no guarantees. Keldon Johnson is the most likely of the three to be moved.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors; Spurs Future is Bright Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Amid a horrid sixteen-game stretch in which everything has come up meh, Keldon has performed better than what box scores say. Signed through the 2026-27 season, it has been rumored the Spurs would have some interest in moving Johnson. What would San Antonio get in return? Suppose it is not a difference-maker at the point guard position or another big player who actually plays big. In that case, it is difficult to say how much interest the team would have in parting ways with Keldon – a player they know well and whose strengths they fully understand. $20 million a year seems hefty until you dive into other contracts passed around the league since Johnson re-signed.

The market continuously resets itself, and rostering a cost-controlled player that routinely delivers seventeen plus points per game and six boards should not be undervalued. If the return is an impact player with years of control, PATFO should listen. Otherwise, San Antonio would have minimal interest in any flyers or a rentals.

San Antonio has more draft picks than they know what to do with. Preliminary talks could heat up if leadership is convinced Keldon does not fit. Of moveable players, Johnson may be the most intriguing to other teams. Packaged with draft picks, Brian Wright and company could land a truly impactful player to place alongside Wemby and Vassell.

The Spurs’ future is bright, but who leads the way?

San Antonio has yet to establish any natural, sustainable chemistry. This is evident by rampant turnovers and passing sloppy enough to make Johnny Manziel feel at home. You can set your clock to a late game collapse, as it has become customary to build excitement throughout the first half and saw your hand off in the second.

We often hear “the youngest team in the NBA,” but it is much deeper than youth. The Spurs have to determine who is in charge when a customer requests to see the manager. On my list of players I want to take shots when the opposing team is on a run, Malaki Branham’s name does not appear. And while I am confident in Devin Vassell’s ability to make outside shots, Friday’s game against the Chicago Bulls saw Vassell take four three-point shots over six possessions, all while the very definition of mismatch was circling the key in the person of Victor Wembanyama. That is not excellent basketball.

Poll

Which player is more likely to be traded?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Devin Vassell
    (72 votes)
  • 86%
    Keldon Johnson
    (463 votes)
535 votes total Vote Now

I will allow overzealousness and poor decision-making in the youth bucket but not fundamental game planning. Who is responsible for assigning the closer, the go-to? One would assume Head Coach Gregg Popovich, but it may be just as scheduled. It is entirely possible the Front Office is okay with losing, and the boys will play a form of organized knockout for the rest of the season. If this is the case, then it makes it difficult to measure what this roster really is.

The Spurs’ future is bright. Suppose we temper our expectations and allow these guys to gel, irrelevant to what the standings say. I will consider individual growth and establishing the core personnel moving forward as a win. Trading key players for what-ifs is reckless unless the return is plentiful. You can pull many positives from every game, mostly the experience these guys are getting. Once the team moves past embarrassment and understands this season is, and always has been, about development, the results should trail along slowly. But small gains are better than no gains.