The Wrap-Up: Aldridge, DeRozan, and Mills Trade Rumors, Assistant Coach Changes

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ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 19: DeMar DeRozan #10 and LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs smile during a game against the Orlando Magic on December 19, 2018 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

Thursday was filled with news and trade rumors regarding the San Antonio Spurs, and we also learned about more prospects the team has communicated with prior to the draft. Let’s jump into the Wrap-Up!

Aldridge, DeRozan, and Mills Trade Rumors

In his latest mock draft update for the Ringer, Kevin O’Connor mentioned that’s he’s heard the following trade rumors about LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, and Patty Mills.

LaMarcus Aldridge – O’Connor confirmed the recent rumor Zach Lowe of ESPN heard that the the Warriors have interest in Aldridge.

Lowe mentioned such a deal would be Aldridge and the Spurs’ 11th pick to the Warriors for the 2nd pick and another player, likely Andrew Wiggins to make the salaries work in a deal.

DeMar DeRozan – The Lakers have interest in acquiring DeRozan according to O’Connor, and the deal he’s heard is Kyle Kuzma and former Spur Danny Green for Aldridge.

The trade with those three players would work financially, assuming DeRozan would be opting into his $27.7 million player option. Green will earn $15.4 million next season and Kuzma is still on his rookie deal, where he’ll earn $3.6 million.

Kuzma is 25, but Green is 33 and the Spurs already traded him once. If such a trade were to take place, one wonders if the Spurs would also try to move Green afterward to a team that needs another wing, or if they’d find a place for him in the rotation that is filled with young wings and guards. All O’Connor mentioned was that the Lakers have interest in such a deal and that the Spurs are looking to move both Aldridge and DeRozan.

Patty Mills – O’Connor mentioned the Spurs are also trying to move Mills, with the 76ers and Bucks being two teams who have interest in Mills. O’Connor writes if Philly and San Antonio made a deal, Josh Richardson would be traded to the Spurs. Keith Smith of Yahoo! Sports also mentioned he’s heard about the Richardson for Mills rumor, noting the Spurs want to continue with their small ball approach they used in the bubble running lineups with wings and guards.

Mills will earn $13.3 million in the last season of his contract, while Richardson will earn $10.9 million next season, and then he has a $11.6 million player option for the 2021-22 season.

As far was what a trade with the Bucks might look like, it would likely be a package of two players for Mills. The most likely player the Bucks could include in a deal to make the financial aspect of a deal work is Ersan Ilyasova, who could earn $7 million next season if the Bucks guarantee his deal.

It’s key to remember the Spurs went in a youth direction during the NBA restart, having Mills sit so younger players could get minutes for most of the games.

Draft Prospect Updates

Thursday more draft prospects held virtual calls with the media, and according to Project Spurs’ own John Diaz and Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News, 6’3″ guard Tyrese Maxey (projected 15th) has spoken with the Spurs and the Spurs have worked out 6’4″ guard Theo Maledon (projected 22nd).

McDonald mentioned Maledon played for ASVEL, the team former Spur Tony Parker owns.

In his mock draft, O’Connor notes the Spurs have interest in Saddiq Bey (projected 14th), while Jaden McDaniels  (projected 27th) and Maxey have been mentioned as targets for San Antonio.

Coaching Promotions

Thursday the Spurs announced assistant coach Mitch Johnson was promoted, replacing the vacancy with Tim Duncan’s departure, and Darius Songalia has also been elevated to an assistant coach position.

The promotion of Johnson likely means he’ll be one of Head Coach Gregg Popovich’s top three assistants on the sideline alongside Becky Hammon and Will Hardy.

More Financial Details

Bobby Marks of ESPN.com reported the NBA will be using the same exception amounts as last season and the hard cap has gone up to $138,928,000.

The two likely exceptions the Spurs will have this offseason are the full mid-level exception worth $9.3 million and the Biannual exception worth $3.6 million.

For a team to become hard capped, they’d have to use either the mid-level or biannual exceptions.

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