The NBA trade deadline is nearly a week away. In this final trade deadline preview, I’ll be looking at the San Antonio Spurs’ draft picks, players they may be interested in, and what a Spurs’ trade may include.
Because of the Stepien Rule, the Spurs would usually only be able to trade one pick from the two upcoming drafts, as a team needs at least one first round pick every two seasons. However, after receiving a second first round pick from the trade with the Toronto Raptors for Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs will be able to trade two picks from the next two drafts.
The Spurs’ two picks for the upcoming draft are projected to be the 20th and 28th picks currently, according to http://www.tankathon.com. Many draft experts have detailed that the 2019 draft class is looking weaker than the past few draft classes, but two first round picks could be enough for the Spurs to get into the talks for some of the bigger names that are available this trade deadline, with the exception of Anthony Davis.
Teams may want a future first round pick from the Spurs, however. In the summer of 2020 the Spurs will be able to make a decision to continue with LaMarcus Aldridge, who will have a partially guaranteed contract for the 2020-2021 season, and DeMar DeRozan, who has a player option that summer, or to focus on developing younger talent. Picks from the 2021 draft or later may be more valuable to teams than the picks from the 2019 or 2020 draft.
Cap Space this Off-Season
The Spurs’ will probably not be making any trades with the goal of having more cap space next off-season. Even if the Spurs’ traded Pau Gasol for an expiring contract, the Spurs would only have about $2 million in cap space this off-season with Rudy Gay’s cap hold. This would potentially give them even less money to work as that $2 million plus the Room Exception will probably be less than the Mid Level Exception they will have access to if they are operating over the cap.
If the Spurs’ traded Patty Mills for an expiring contract, they would have almost $12.5 million more in cap space this off-season. With his knowledge of the Spurs system and his role on the team, it’s hard to see the Spurs moving Mills. The Spurs would not be able to waive Gay’s cap hold and re-sign him with the Mid Level Exception unless Gay was willing to accept a pay cut this off-season.
Possible Trade Targets
Of the players that teams are willing to trade, Kent Bazemore and Marc Gasol make the most sense for the Spurs. Among other teams that are considered “sellers” on the trade market, the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, and Phoenix Suns dont’ seem to be discussing trades for anyone that fit needs for the Spurs.
Spurs Potential Trade Packages
Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed that the Spurs are discussing trading Pau Gasol with teams (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNj2acYJYVc starting around 6:15). The best path for the Spurs to be able to trade him is to include a first round pick. If the Spurs’ wanted to get into discussions for players like Bazemore or Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol and a first round pick would not be enough. They would either need to include one of their young players or more picks.
Marc Gasol for Pau Gasol, Davis Bertans, and a first round pick works, but the Grizzlies are probably going to receive more competitive offers. The Spurs can include more young players or draft picks, but Gasol has a player option this off-season, meaning he has the option to leave in free agency, so the Spurs would probably need to feel confident that they were going to re-sign him before including more pieces in a trade.
Salary information from http://www.basketballinsiders.com/san-antonio-spurs-team-salary/