As the NBA trade deadline approaches Thursday at 2 PM CST, here are the latest rumors involving the Spurs.
According to Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer, the Spurs, Jazz, Blazers, and Nets all have interest in New Orleans Pelicans forward Nikola Mirotic.
O’Connor reports the Pelicans are seeking a first round pick for Mirotic.
Mirotic is earning $12.5 million this season and next season he’ll be an unrestricted free agent with an $18.7 million cap hold. Basically, the Pelicans want a first rounder for a player who could be a partial season rental.
Last week on Spurscast episode 527, Collin Reid and I discussed Mirotic as a player the Spurs should target. The deal I proposed as an example that day was Mirotic for Pau Gasol, and include the Toronto pick that is projected right now to fall in the 28th spot in the draft.
Whether or not the Spurs would include the Toronto first rounder might come down to how they’re evaluating the upcoming draft (strong or weak) and how much they want to get rid of Gasol’s contract, if he were included in the deal.
There’s no clear indication yet if one or two second round picks might be able to pry Mirotic from New Orleans instead of a first. As O’Connor noted, a first round pick is a steep price for a player like Mirotic who has been injured this season and could walk in July.
Burks Interest (UPDATE: Burks traded to Kings)
Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes that the Spurs and Rockets have interest in guard Alec Burks of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers are trying to land a first round pick for Burks, who is making $11.5 million this season and will also be an unrestricted free agent this summer with a $17.3 million cap hold.
Once again, the Spurs could try to move Gasol for Burks, and what would be interesting is if Cleveland would want the Toronto first rounder or a second rounder or two.
An example of what a trade would look like could be something like Gasol and whatever pick (1st or 2nd) both sides agree to, for Burks and Channing Frye (for salary purposes). In this type of trade where the Spurs would add two players, San Antonio would have to waive a player before the trade goes through.
Seeking a Gasol trade
Sporting News’ Mitch Lawrence reported that according to an Eastern Conference General Manager, the Spurs are ‘working hard’ to move Gasol.
Gasol is earning $16.8 million this season and he’s due $16 million next season, with $6.7 million guaranteed.
As Reid and I discussed on Spurscast episode 527 last week, moving Gasol isn’t a dire situation unless the Spurs are planning to try to make a maximum contract offer to a marquee free agent this summer.
As long as the Spurs re-sign Rudy Gay with his bird rights this summer, with or without Gasol, they’re projected to be an over the cap team with access to the non-taxpayer mid-level exception.