The San Antonio Spurs are at a crossroads as it concerns the NBA trade deadline. On one hand, they have a plethora of compelling young players who make for an overall talented nucleus. At the same time, the Spurs’ rebuild isn’t making tangible progress, as they’re 15-26, which is good for the 12th seed in the Western Conference.
If and when the team makes an impact trade, San Antonio is likely going to make a move to advance its rebuild, rather than further it (e.g. trading for an established player, as opposed to trading an emerging player for future draft picks).
With that in mind, here are three players the Spurs should target before the NBA trade deadline.
San Antonio Spurs acquire the bouncy John Collins
Collins is reportedly unhappy with his role on the Hawks, a sentiment that has been noted in the past. Furthermore, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reports that everyone not named Trae Young and Clint Capela is available in trade negotiations (Cam Reddish was traded to the New York Knicks on Thursday morning). How about the Spurs make Collins their new power forward?
Collins is explosive off the dribble, can occasionally play in the post, hits the boards at a high level and is a plausible shooter. For better or worse, Collins was a vital reason for the Hawks’ run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season and is one of the more productive frontcourt players in the NBA. His skill set would bode well in head coach Gregg Popovich’s rotation.
The Spurs’ strength is their wing depth, which they can afford to take away from to upgrade another part of their roster. Collins would serve as an athletic, scoring option who can get points off the dribble. The Spurs don’t have a player like that who resides around the basket.
- John Collins stats (2021-22): 17.4 points and 8.0 rebounds per game while shooting 54.4/43.9/78.9
Collins wouldn’t get in the way of center Jakob Poeltl, who tends to operate in the paint. Meanwhile, Collins serves as a versatile scoring option to add to the contributions of Dejounte Murray and the guards who remain from a hypothetical trade. In such a swap, San Antonio can send Atlanta Derrick White, Devin Vassell and a first-round draft pick for Collins.
All that said, the Spurs may prefer to sign, rather than inherit a $125 million contract for a player with Collins’ skill set.
Brandon Ingram gives the San Antonio Spurs a go-to scorer
Murray gets better and better, but the Spurs need another prominent scorer to run/co-run their offense. The New Orleans Pelicans are a mess, and chances are they’d at least entertain moving their starters for fair value. Ingram could solve the Spurs’ offensive issue.
Ingram is a steady and consistent scorer who can carry the load for an NBA offense, which he has done for the Pelicans both with and without Zion Williamson on the floor. The former scores in isolation, can stick jump shots from the perimeter and comes through in crunch time. He’s a legitimate go-to scorer.
The Spurs need a player like Ingram. At 6-foot-8, he’d be the premier frontcourt scorer they don’t have. Attracting the bulk of defensive attention, Ingram would take some pressure off Murray on the offensive end, furthering his impact.
- Brandon Ingram stats (2021-22): 22.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game while shooting 44.7/35.3/82.5
Teams need stars and/or players who can drop 20 points on a nightly basis, and the Spurs don’t have that second player who they can sincerely say poses such a threat. San Antonio can send New Orleans Thaddeus Young’s expiring contract, Derrick White, two first-round draft picks and a future second-rounder for Ingram.
What could stop the Spurs from trading for Ingram, though, is them feeling he’d be more of a forced fit than the answer, so to speak.
Jerami Grant blends into the San Antonio Spurs
Yes, Grant is out with a thumb injury. When he returns to the floor, however, Grant would be an ideal pickup for the Spurs.
Grant does a little bit of everything. He’s a respectable defender who has grown into a considerable player on the other end of the floor. In his two seasons with the Pistons, Grant has been the team’s number one source of offense; he has found success attacking the rack and finishing in the paint. Grant’s two-way play fits the Spurs.
First off, he adds a proven defender to a unit that has struggled on that end. Offensively, he provides a much-needed veteran scorer who helps offset the development of those around him. All the while, Grant won’t get in the way of those youngsters, as he gets points all over the floor.
Related: Ideal Jerami Grant trade scenarios
- Jerami Grant stats (2021-22): 20.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game while shooting 41.4/33.1/84.9
In a way, Grant would be going to a more sound version of the Detroit Pistons team that he’s a part of in that he’s surrounded by a great deal of youth but they’re at least putting up a fight against conference foes. Grant is 27, has seen exponential growth in his play of late and fits the Spurs’ timeline. He moves them forward, and they won’t have to gut their assets in a trade.
San Antonio could send Detroit Young, Tre Jones and two first-round draft picks for Grant. The Spurs improve in both the short and long term while the Pistons corral more draft selections and cap space, which could be used on restricted free agents.