For part two of our Spurs’ trade deadline preview, I am looking at the Spurs’ wings and forwards. Part one, looking at the Spurs’ guards can be found here. Positions in the NBA can be fluid, so I used Cleaning The Glass’s positional classifications to decide where to discuss each player.
Dante Cunningham’s contract is over after this season, meaning he has an expiring contract, a potentially useful tool in trades. Since he is only making $2,487,000, however, it’s hard find a scenario where his expiring contract is useful in a trade without including another expiring contract, Rudy Gay or Quincy Pondexter. If Cunningham wants more playing time, he will probably sign with another team in free agency, as he has fallen out of the rotation in San Antonio.
Unless the Spurs’ decide to start to rebuild the team, they won’t trade DeMar DeRozan. The unlikely decision to begin a rebuild would come no earlier than next season as well, meaning that DeRozan is not a trade candidate at the trade deadline or during the off-season, and probably won’t be throughout his current contract. DeRozan has a player option in the summer of 2021, and the Spurs’ best path to staying competitive is to re-sign him that summer. DeRozan is making $27,739,975 this season and next season.
If a team is looking for more shooting, they may be interested in trading for Marco Belinelli. That shooting has been too important to the Spurs for them to move him without getting a shooter back in the deal, making it unlikely that the Spurs will trade him at the deadline. If the Spurs’ need cap space during the summer, his declining contract, $6,153,846 this season and $5,846,154 next season, may mean the Spurs could find a trade partner, but this is unlikely.
One of the Spurs’ other expiring contracts, Pondexter is unlikely to be traded as well. Making $2,165,481 this season, his contract probably won’t be used to match another player’s salary in a deal unless he is packaged in a trade with more Spurs’ players. As with Cunningham, if Pondexter is looking for more playing time, he may be interested in other teams in free agency.
On the Spurs’ final expiring contract, Gay could be used in a deal to acquire a player on a longer deal from a team looking to clear space, but Gay has shown that he is important to the Spurs. Unless the Spurs’ are getting a solid two-way wing in a deal, trading Gay doesn’t make much sense, and the teams that are trading such players are asking for more than the Spurs’ feel comfortable trading currently. He is currently earning $10,087,200 this season. This off-season, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Spurs try to sign Gay again. Even if they are over the cap, they can offer him $17,652,600 using the Early Bird exception. Gay has played well this season, but it’s hard to imagine a competitive team offering him more than that, meaning that the Spurs have a good chance to re-sign him this off-season if they would like to do so.
Salary information obtained from www.basketballinsiders.com