The NBA trade deadline is only two days away. In the next 48 hours rumors will crop up about dozens of potential transactions, only a fraction of which will actually be completed. It’s an exciting time for fans, who get to imagine all the ways their team could improve.
So far things have been quiet, but as the Thursday, Feb. 8 deadline approaches, more deals will get done. So let’s see where the Spurs stand and what they are likely to do in the coming two days.
Are the Spurs buyers or sellers?
The most important question to answer is whether the Spurs are more likely to try to improve their team or part ways with veterans to get draft assets. Normally, teams that are near the bottom of the standings try to clear more cap space for the future while focusing on getting extra picks and it wouldn’t be surprising to see San Antonio go that route. There are a few veterans on the roster who could be on their way out as the front office focuses on improving cap flexibility and adding to its war chest. It feels like the most likely scenario.
That said, it’s not out of the question for the Spurs to mostly stay put or even attempt to go for a minor upgrade. San Antonio doesn’t have terrible contracts and can afford to be patient, as the team will have cap space and already has a lot of additional picks. Making a lateral move in terms of talent that helps positionally or even a small upgrade is probably on the table.
Are there any rumors involving the Spurs?
As mentioned, things have been quiet in general recently, but there are two reports so far mentioning the Spurs.
The Spurs have made Doug McDermott and Cedi Osman available via trade. The two veteran forwards have played rotation minutes all season but are in the last year of their contract and are likely not part of the future, so it makes sense for them to be moved. Additionally, Devonte’ Graham has said that he would welcome a change and is likely to be available, but he has one year left in his contract after this one, so finding him a home could be tricky.
San Antonio is reportedly one of the teams interested in trading for Tyus Jones. The Wizards are having a terrible season and could be amenable to parting ways with the point guard. He’s in the last year of his contract, so whoever trades for him could be just getting a rental. Uniting the Jones brothers and improving the point guard rotation wouldn’t be the worst thing, but only if the price is right, as we explained.
Do the Spurs have the assets to make a big move?
The Spurs could put together an enticing offer for any star that becomes available. Their most valuable asset is their own 2024 pick, as it would have a good chance of landing in the top five. Beyond that, they have future first-round picks from the Hornets, Raptors, Bulls and Hawks at their disposal. The Charlotte, Chicago and Toronto ones are conditional, so they aren’t as valuable right now because of the uncertainty about when and if they would convey, but Atlanta’s picks are a sure thing.
Additionally, the Spurs have a group of young players that are still intriguing. Victor Wembanyama would be untouchable in any transaction, but Jeremy Sochan, Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson could help a lot of teams right now and in the future. There are also veterans on expiring deals that would make matching salaries easy.
The reason why there likely won’t be a big trade involving the Spurs is that it doesn’t make sense for them to go for one. There are no true game-changers reportedly available, so San Antonio should conserve assets for a time when there is one. Would it be possible to pry away a young veteran like, say, Lauri Markkanen or Anfernee Simons by throwing a bunch of picks and a young player Utah’s or Portland’s way? It’s possible. But does it make sense for the Spurs to go all in now? Not really. Waiting until the offseason to do anything drastic seems like the smarter move, as they would have a better idea about how their new rotation works and a clearer outlook about the Raptors and Bulls picks, not to mention certainty as to where their own pick will land after the lottery.
What would a successful deadline look like for the Spurs?
If an opportunity that is too good to pass up presents itself, the Spurs should take advantage of it, but they don’t need to make any big moves right now. They are set up well for the future, as they are in control of all their first-rounders going forward and have a few extra first and a lot of extra second-rounders at their disposal. They also have the best young player to enter the league in a while and some good young rotation pieces in place. They could do absolutely nothing and still be fine.
If they manage to flip at least one of Graham, McDermott or Osman for picks or a player that brings a needed skill set for the short term, perhaps as the third team in trade, that would be great. Other than that, a minor trade using draft picks to improve at a specific spot would be fine, as long as it doesn’t cost the type of asset that would be needed to get a difference-maker in the future if one becomes available.
For the Spurs, a boring trade deadline is a sign that things are probably going well. Maybe they will pull off some huge, exciting trade that accelerates their rise back to relevance while not lowering their ceiling, but don’t be disappointed if they don’t do much, since they are in a good spot already.