The San Antonio Spurs came agonizingly close to making it to the Western Conference Semis before capping off a decent 48-34 regular season run with a first-round exit. In what was the franchise’s 39th playoff appearance of the last 43 seasons (including 22nd straight), the Spurs bowed out to the Denver Nuggets through a heartbreaking Game 7 loss.
Nevertheless, the offseason of possibilities is upon them as the team looks to make the most of the NBA Draft as well as the free agent market with a salary cap projected to reach $109 million. As expected, the ever-changing waves of potentiality, that is the collection of NBA trade rumors, seems to have paced drastically with the deadline just around the corner. For what it’s worth, the Spurs might even look to scoop up a few talents that weren’t selected in the NBA Draft.
It is pretty uncharacteristic of the Spurs organization to make any splashy and eye-popping moves. Expectedly so, they would look to carry forward on their age-old tradition of grabbing undervalued veterans and potential talents (courtesy of the NBA Draft), and develop them into quality players through their rotation schemes.
#1 Need to bag potential 3-and-D wing veterans on the market
With not an ample amount of cap space at their disposal, and assuming Rudy Gay doesn’t re-sign, San Antonio can look towards Trevor Ariza to supply their depleted wing. The NBA trade rumors circulating for quite some time now have time and again posed either Ariza or Rockets’ PJ Tucker as viable additions to the roster in the form of a much-needed 3-and-D veteran.
Tucker’s 37% three-point shooting coupled with his unmatched defensive intensity provides the ever elusive spacing for the Spurs floor. He can be the difference that turns around this Aldridge-DeRozan era in San Antonio for the better.
#2 Pull off at least one effective trade for a young talent
According to the most recent NBA trade rumors, majority of the free agents this year who are in their early 20s and about to hit their primes (if they haven’t yet), are most likely to be too expensive for the Spurs franchise. That leaves the front office with no choice but to foray into the trade market.
One such opportunity presents itself in the form of Andrew Wiggins. If the coaching staff could put in some work to improve his outside shooting and defense, the 6’8″ wing would be a fit at his current price point. Having recently signed a $147.7 million contract extension with the Wolves, this just might be the opportune moment to help Minnesota clear their records of such a number.
#3 Modernize roster via the freshly acquired legs through the NBA Draft
Defying a wide variety of NBA trade rumors, San Antonio stuck to the traditional method of acquiring young and cheap talent via the NBA Draft. They added a couple of first rounders this year in the form of Luka Samanic and Keldon Johnson.
The 6-foot-10 Croatian forward in Samanic incorporates confident shooting from the perimeter along with expertise in guarding all five positions. Meshed with players like Lonnie Walker IV – who had an injury-plagued rookie year – and rookie Keldon Johnson, Samanic could drastically decrease the developmental years of the Spurs young core.
Moreover, Popovich might be looking forward to an elite level of flexibility with his rotations going forward, considering the heart and hustle Johnson plays with.
The Spurs rowed against the stream by not shelling these teenagers out for an established player – as the prevalent NBA trade rumors suggested – and so this new-age San Antonio roster faces a plethora of expectations to fulfill.