The NBA Finals are past the midway point, which means the NBA Draft is inching closer. With 12 days to go until June 23 and the Spurs holding three first round picks (9th, 20th via the Raptors, and 25th via the Celtics) plus the 38th pick in the second round, there are plenty of rumors swirling around about what they might do with all that stock, so let’s take a look at some of the more credible ones out there.
Don’t expect the Spurs to stand pat in the draft
The first — and perhaps least surprising — rumor comes from NBA Big Board’s Rafael Barlowe (subscription required), who reports that the Spurs are actively seeking to move up in the draft and are hoping to “consolidate” some of their picks since they do not plan on bringing three or four rookies into training camp. (Note that all three first-round picks would be on guaranteed deals unless they are stashed overseas.)
Those two approaches likely go hand-in-hand, as any team willing to trade down in the draft would likely still want at least one pick back in return, if not more. Even though teams like the Rockets and Kings have expressed an openness in trading their top 4 picks, executing such a trade might be difficult for the Spurs since those teams would be looking for potential franchise-changers in return, and about all the Spurs have to offer in that regard is Dejounte Murray. That would be a costly trade for the Spurs, and even then, it may be a stretch to give Murray that title (for now).
A more likely scenario would be the Spurs packaging their two late first round picks (and/or second round pick) to move up to the middle of the first round. The Hornets, for example, have the 13th and 15th picks in the draft and have expressed interest in some Spurs players in the past, so maybe there’s room for negotiation there. Another potential trade partner could be the Nuggets, who are reportedly looking to shore up their depth chart via the draft and could trade the 21st pick to the Spurs for the 20th and 25th. If nothing else, that would accomplish the goal of lowering the Spurs sheer pick total. There are plenty of options for the Spurs to look at with those two picks, so don’t be surprised if they ultimately don’t pick at one of both of those spots.
Are the Spurs a potential trade target for OG Anunoby?
The draft is (hopefully) one way the Spurs plan on shoring up their forward positions, but if they’re looking for more immediate help, they might have a suitor in Raptors’ OG Anunoby. The 6’7” small forward is coming off a season with averages of 17.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.5 steals but is reportedly unhappy in his role with his current team, which has plenty of depth at the forward positions with an established star in Paskal Siakam and 2022 Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes.
One former NBA exec told NBA Analysis Network the following:
“If role is a concern for OG Anunoby as it sounds like it is, the Spurs may be his best bet. They don’t have a superstar taking a ton of shots and they could use a stronger wing to play the four next to Keldon Johnson.”
Anunoby checks a lot of boxes of the type of player the Spurs will be looking to add this summer, and he’s set to enter the second year of a relatively friendly four-year, $72 million deal. While I’m not sure if they can’t trade the 20th pick back to the Raptors, the Spurs could find a draft night deal that would send the 25th pick and someone like Josh Richardson and/or Jakob Poeltl to Toronto, or they could wait for free agency and maybe execute something like a sign-and-trade involving Lonnie Walker. Regardless, considering the Spurs’ needs this offseason, this is a notable one to keep an eye on.
Add Collin Sexton to the list of big names being tied to the Spurs in FA
The Spurs are one of a few teams with cap flexibility this summer, and along with free-agents-to-be Zach LaVine and Deandre Ayton, now Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton has been listed as a potential target for the Spurs. While most Spurs fans might scoff at the idea of another guard, the 6’1” Sexton would provide with the Spurs with the go-to scorer they currently lack. He missed all but 11 games last season with a torn meniscus in his left knee, but before that he averaged a very efficient 24.3 points and 4.4 assists during the 2020-21 season. If doesn’t command too much money, he could be a good get for a Spurs team that needs his scoring skills.
While this particular rumor feels much more like just that than anything based on actual front office chatter, everything is worth keeping an on, especially for a team with as many options this summer as the Spurs.