There will be plenty of eyes on the San Antonio Spurs from other front offices over the next month for good reason. Through various in-season moves, the Spurs are now rich with assets both present and future and are assumed to be heavy players in deals on NBA Draft day and beyond.
Holding the 9th, 20th, 25th, and 38th picks on June 23, the Spurs likely won’t use all four picks given their roster space limitations, and a move up or possibly an even bigger move is certainly on the table. Although they missed out on jumping into the top four in the NBA Draft Lottery, there’s still an opening for them to jump to third or fourth, although it would likely cost a decent haul.
The Spurs don’t often trade with division rivals, but with both them and the Rockets still working their way back to relevance in the Western Conference, such a move could benefit both teams going forward.
While fellow Air Alamo writer Cal Durrett recently gave four trade ideas he thinks could potentially work between the two teams, I also wanted to give you, the reading audience, a voice in what you believe could be a realistic package. As expected, answers ranged from “never going to happen” to “that’s not so bad.”
Hand-picking four separate trade ideas, I then submitted them to my team to help decide if each one is an overpay, an underpay, or just right for both sides. One note — I told all writers surveyed to assume their favorite prospect would be available at number three. Here’s how it all broke down.
The first trade proposed via our Twitter was Keldon Johnson, Tre Jones, and two of the Spurs’ 1st round picks in the 2022 NBA Draft for the third pick. This would require San Antonio shipping off their second-best player for an unproven prospect with a potentially higher ceiling. Here’s how our staff responded.
Ethan Farina: Just right. This is a lot to trade away, but if you get a real shot at a superstar, it’s worth it.
Cal Durrett: This is an overpay. Johnson plus the 9th and 25th picks seems more than fair to begin with so adding Jones seems like overkill.
Roberto Araiza: While I think this may be a package that is tempting for the Spurs, I think the Rockets may consider this a bit of an underpay. Giving up the number three overall pick could mean giving up a player with All-Star upside, and unless the Rockets really like someone at the 9th pick or believe in Johnson’s upside, I doubt they take this deal.
Nick Yarbro: This seems just right to me. Any of the top three are a better prospect than Keldon.
Me: Like Roberto, I lean toward this being a bit of an underpay as well, but not by much. It’s easier to respect what Keldon has done having watched his entire season, but I’m not sure the Rockets would see him as a guy with star potential immediately, whereas the top three prospects have that already. The fact that two 2022 picks are thrown in does make this at least worth considering for them though.
Verdict: 2 just rights, 2 underpays, 1 overpay