The Spurs are among a few teams interested in trading for point guard Tyus Jones, according to Hoopshype’s Michael Scotto. The Lakers, Timberwolves, Nets and Magic are also in the mix, according to the report.
The Wizards are likely to be sellers going into the trade deadline as they seem to be headed to the lottery once again. They have the second-worst record in the league, so it makes little sense to hold on to veterans like Kyle Kuzma or Jones.
Several teams are reportedly interested in dealing with Washington and the Spurs have been mentioned as one of the suitors for Tre Jones’ brother. So let’s see the pros and cons of potentially trading for Jones.
Why the Spurs trading for Tyus Jones makes sense
The Spurs could use an upgrade at point guard. Tre Jones has been doing a good job, but at this point, his brother is better suited to be a starter. The older Jones is a much better outside shooter and as turnover-averse as his brother. He’s a floor general who can get others involved and score when needed. The transition to Tyus starting should be seamless, since he’s similar to his brother in a lot of ways but better in some key areas. No level of upgrade at any position would turn the Spurs into a potential play-in hopeful. but trying to facilitate the development of others and providing Victor Wembanyama with some help to finish the season strong could be useful.
Jones is also young enough to be part of the immediate future. He’s still 27 years old and could be a decent short-term option if he decides to stay in San Antonio. The asking price from the Wizards is reportedly a first-round pick, and the Spurs have extra ones, so the cost is not prohibitive. Whether he’d want to re-sign is the bigger issue, but teams normally can find that out through back channels. If there are no point guards in the draft that the front office likes and they feel like they might not get an upgrade in free agency, it wouldn’t be the worst idea to make a deal.
Why the Spurs trading for Jones doesn’t make sense
Trading for Jones might not be too expensive, but it seems very shortsighted. The Wizards have won fewer games than the Spurs this season with him running the show. Obviously it’s not his fault alone, but he’s clearly not a difference-maker who will transform a team. San Antonio has actually done well since Tre took over as the starter. Is Tyus that much better? His shooting would come in handy but Tre has also been making outside shots recently. If Tre is not moved in the transaction, Pop could have two very solid point guards to rely on, but there would be no playing time for Blake Wesley. And since the Spurs are not going to come even close to getting into the play-in, does it make sense to use assets to get an upgrade now? It’s questionable.
Tyus is also in the last year of his contract and is in his prime. Playing with his brother would be something he enjoys and Wemby is likely to factor in when he’s making his decision, but next offseason he’ll get offers from more established teams. The non-taxpayers mid-level exception pays over $12 million a year and someone looking for guard depth should be willing to throw that Jones’ way. It won’t be cheap to keep him, assuming the Spurs can actually get him. Other teams, ranging from play-in hopefuls to contenders, are reportedly interested and they might be more motivated to trade for Jones, who in turn might see them as better destinations.
Should the Spurs trade for Jones?
Trading for Jones would be a shortsighted move, but not necessarily a terrible one. As long as the price is low, it shouldn’t have a huge impact on how the Spurs plan their future. In the short term, it could result in a few more wins that keep Wemby happy.
At the same time, Blake Wesley could benefit from having minutes with the big team and the coaching staff could use more time to gauge what they have in him. Patience is important in rebuilds and giving up on prospects too early or moving assets for non-difference-makers is not normally worth it.