The Spurs on the Trade Market: What the other guys are saying


Last week, CBS Sports’ Ken Berger reported the Spurs were being aggressive on the trade market. No details were given because the Spurs obviously have either bombs wired or snipers positioned at every arena in case something leaks out. My sources say Berger is being followed right now. (Kidding… or am I?)

Anyways, since we don’t know what they’re looking for we can use deductive reasoning to make an educated guess. For all the depth the Spurs have, they’re still small on the wings. This is known. They could also use some more athleticism on the wing, perhaps someone who can play some small ball 4. And of course, they’re always looking for guys who can hit 3s and/or defend. It’s easy to say this trade works from a Spurs perspective, but in the interest of fairness, I sought out the opinion of some TrueHoopers who cover the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics.

Thaddeus Young for Matt Bonner, Danny Green, Cory Joseph, a 2014 first round pick and the rights to Adam Hanga, Davis Bertans or Livio Jean-Charles: This is an upgrade for the Spurs, no question. Young could come off the bench or the Spurs could go small and bring Tiago Splitter off the bench. Or they could go extra large, put Thad at small forward and Kawhi Leonard at shooting guard. Young brings that kind of versatility. That’s why the Spurs do this trade even if it means giving up some future assets.

Would Philadelphia do it? Don’t ask me, ask Eric Goldwein of Hoop76.

1. Is he available: I’d imagine he’s available—for the right price—given the direction the Sixers are heading. Thad, 25, is playing arguably the best basketball of his career. Now armed with a 3-point shot, he’s putting up 17.6 points and 6.6 boards to go along with some solid defense. He’s also second on the team in win shares (2.6) and PER (18.2).

But there are two problems. First, he has three years and $28 million remaining on his fair contract and when his contract expires in 2016, he’ll be on the wrong side of 28 and in demand of another big free agent deal. Second, he’s one of their top win-producers, and that’s, bizarrely, a negative for a team positioning itself for the 2014 lottery. More wins –> less pingpong balls.

All of this makes him a perfect fit in San Antonio, The Spurs have, what, a two to three-year championship window remaining with the Duncan-Parker-Leonard-Ginobili era? (Variations of that sentence have been written since 2007). Young is a plus-defender and an efficient offensive player who doesn’t demand the ball. Sounds like the ideal forward to play alongside Duncan, as the Spurs make another championship run.

2. What do the 76ers want in return: The Sixers are looking for draft picks and cheap talent, and I sense they’d be willing to take on salary if need be. A first round pick and a prospect might get it done.

3. How quickly do the Sixers so no to the above trade without future assets: Without any draft picks and prospects? Pretty quickly. Thad’s a good player—an almost borderline Eastern Conference All-Star, for what that’s worth, and while the Sixers would take maybe 80 cents on the dollar, they won’t give him away for the sake of giving him away. That’s not a terrible offer, but Young is by far the best player in that proposal. Seems like a sideways move for the Sixers.

A pick and a European prospect would be ideal. I can’t tell you much about Livio Jean-Charles, but if he’s good enough to pass the Popovich Test, he’s good enough for me.

(So that’s a maybe, but it feels likely that the Sixers would get a better offer from another team with younger assets. On to the next one!)

Andrei Kirilenko and Tyshawn Taylor for Boris Diaw: This seemed more fair than Matt Bonner and a first round draft pick. The Spurs loved Kirilenko this summer and he’s a better and more versatile player than Diaw. He’s probably not quite as good an offensive player but a better defender. That’s my rationale, but I admit this move would be tricky in the short run because Diaw is playing so great and Kirilenko would take a bit of time to adjust to the Spurs system. Anyways, do I know if the Nets would do this trade? Nope! Let’s see what Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game thinks.

1. Would the Nets trade any current assets for expiring contracts/draft picks? Or are they making a playoff push no matter what:  I don’t see them trying to blow it up now. There’s no real point. Since the move to Brooklyn, every move they’ve made was with the present in mind, and their moves brought their window closer and closer. Now, even though their window looks shut, I imagine they’ll ride out this year with what they have as far as their biggest players. If they made one move, they’d have to make seven. Hard to orchestrate all that given how much they’ve branded this team as-is.

2. You probably just answered this, but could you see them specifically moving Andrei Kirilenko: I don’t see them moving Kirilenko. He’s one of this team’s most valuable players on the floor when healthy and he’s also one of their most desirable contracts.

3. So what you’re saying is, they’re not really looking to make a move that doesn’t help them get to the playoffs? Even Boris Diaw’s expiring contract: I do think the Nets would be interested in an expiring contract, but not at the cost of two of their own like in that deal.

One thing worth noting is that they’ve got the Disabled Player Exception because of Brook Lopez’s injury, which allows them to swallow a contract whole up to $5.25 million, provided that player’s in the last year of his contract. That applies to lots of Spurs players, including Boris Diaw, who is all about swallowing things whole. The Nets would have to make another move to shed a contract since they’ve got fifteen guaranteed, but if the Spurs just want to shed a body it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

(Alright, that’s a no, let’s move on)

Mike Dunleavy, Jr. for Matt Bonner: Probably my favorite trade idea because it’s entirely feasible and would come at minimal cost to the Spurs. Dunleavy can play some small ball 4 and would be able to fill in at back up small forward nicely. He’s a good 3-point shooter and is a better defender than you think. According to Synergy Sports, he only allows .54 points per possession when he’s defending ball handlers in the pick-and-roll. That’s good. Nearly as good is the .55 points per possession he allows defending isolation plays. He checks all the boxes the Spurs are looking for in a role player.

But are the Bulls interested? Does Matt Bonner’s expiring contract appeal to a team clearly trying to carve out cap space? Let’s ask Caleb Nordgren of Bulls By The Horns.

1. Is it safe to say most anyone not named Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson is moveable (and Rose, obviously)? How moveable is Mike Dunleavy, Jr.? Do you think the Bulls would be willing to move him for an expiring contract: Dunleavy’s an interesting case. On the one hand, he’s a productive veteran on a very reasonable contract, which makes him very attractive to a lot of contenders. On the other, the Bulls would very much like to be a contender next season, and Dunleavy is a productive veteran on a very reasonable contract. So, in all likelihood, the Bulls would have to be really blown away by an offer to trade Dunleavy. But given that Jerry Reinsdorf doesn’t like paying any more money than he really has to, and that trading Dunleavy for an expiring would free up cap space this summer, it’s certainly not out of the question.

2. How does Bonner for Dunleavy work? Do you see anything on the Spurs roster the Bulls would be interested: I think San Antonio would have to include a first rounder, or maybe a couple of seconds. From the Bulls perspective, something like this (Dunleavy, Kirk Hinrich for Bonner, Jeff Ayres and Patty Mills) might do the trick, with a pick attached, but I don’t know why the Spurs would do that. I think Bonner and a pick is the best for both sides, but I doubt it would happen.

(Very interesting counter proposal. Mills is the only regular rotation member getting heavy minutes. Hinrich could slide in to this role with minimal affect on the bench)

Matt Bonner and Danny Green for Jeff Green: Sorry Matty B, it’s nothing personal, I promise. Your contract is just so moveable. Green checks a lot of the boxes Thaddeus Young does, he’s just not quite as good. Still, you’d have no problem putting him next to Kawhi or behind him and you wouldn’t have to rely on him being even your third option scoring the ball. Bonner’s expiring contract and Green’s 3-and-D game might appeal to the Celtics, but it really depends on how much Boston wants to get rid of Green’s contract. Still, it’s unclear how much interest there is in Green, so let’s ask Brian Robb of CelticsHub (unless you don’t trust a guy with two first names).

1. Between contract and past inconsistent play, Jeff Green’s value has always been a bit of a question mark. What do you think his trade value is at the moment: Green’s value depends on what scout or team you are talking to. He can be an incredibly weapon on both sides of the ball at times, but he’s also very inconsistent. He’s fairly paid (probably a bit overpaid actually) but given a supporting role on a good team, he’s a weapon a lot of teams would like. However, he’s definitely not a building block at this stage in his career.

2. Rondo may be back as soon as Friday night. Do you think this team is going for it, or is Green someone they would trade regardless of Rondo’s return: Green is absolutely on the table in trades. Brad Stevens doesn’t appear to be crazy about him, given his multiple fourth quarter benchings this year. Green won’t be given away, but he’s definitely not a sure thing to be a part of this team’s completed rebuild.

3. Bonner and Green float your boat: That’s probably a no, unless a draft pick is thrown in there. I like Danny Green a lot, but his contract isn’t long enough to make that enticing. Bonner is useless to this team in the rebuilding phase.

(If it’s me, I’m probably OK throwing a 2014 or 2015 pick in there. Nothing after that though. Green could be a very enticing, versatile filling in some gaps for the Spurs.)

Again, this exercise is nothing more than making some educated guesses based off the Spurs current roster. Got your own ideas? Let us know in the comment section.

  • Spurs141

    “Kirilenko is more versatile than Boris Diaw” stopped reading right there…

  • Ray Briggs II

    The Bonner for Dunleavy trade is the most enticing and most likely I would think. I imagine the Spurs would have to throw in a 2nd round pick or prospect in there to get the Bulls to bite though.

  • Andrew A. McNeill

    Why, exactly?

  • yeahisaidspurs

    Any of these would be interesting except Kirilenko. I don’t think we need to trade healthy for creaky.

  • Graham

    Understand the complaint……..but it IS accurate. Not by much, but it is.

  • Andrew A. McNeill

    Really? Wow. I totally disagree. Kirilenko is fantastic. He totally changed the Nets for the better when he got into the lineup.

  • Graham

    No, I’m in your camp. Kirilenko is the more versatile player by a small margin. Still, I don’t think the difference is enough to make up for Bobo’s 3 years or so of corporate knowledge. Unless Kirilenko has a Marco-esque intuition for it…

  • LukeDawg

    Ok I have been working on this and think I have come up with a realistic trade for all parties.
    And before anyone says the bulls won’t trade Noah, Espn insider Chad Ford suggests otherwise:

    So here’s the trade:

    Also the key component are the picks that go to the Bulls. They only do this trade if they are shedding lots of money and receiving quality picks as well. Also if needed the spurs could throw in a young foreign stash guy. So Bulls get the Hornets 1st (likely a top 8 with all of their injuries lately) and 2nd round picks and the Spurs 2nd round pick. The spurs first round pick goes to the Hornets.

    1.Spurs do this because they improve in 3 positions this year, add depth behind Leonard and acquire one of the best centers in basketball in a fair, long term deal. Yes please.

    2. New Orleans is an absolute sieve defensively, and out of necessity have been forced to play Davis at center. They have expressed the desperate need to find a quality defensive big man to pair with Davis to unleash the defensive front court from hell. Tiago is absolutely their man and would be a near perfect matchup with Davis for the same reasons he has meshed so well with Duncan. Only Davis projects to have even more extended range than Duncan, so spacing issues with Tiago would be even less of a problem. All it really costs them is Swapping their first round pick for the Spurs first round pick, allowing them to exponentially upgrade their defense and decrease wear and tear on their franchise big.

    3. The Bulls look to be clearing away all long term contracts (according to Ford, also Deng trade) in order to shed salary and amass picks. This deal nets them likely a top 8 1st rounder, and then two 2nd rounders in a loaded draft. They also get rid of a costly long term deal and shed 8 million dollars off their roster this year. Every player they take on has a deal that expires this season. So they get picks, shed long and short term payroll and receive a young asset from the spurs overseas.

    Who Says no?

  • Chris

    Love the idea of trading for Young or Green (or even Josh Smith, who I really wanted last year). They would look great playing next to Leonard and Duncan.
    Some other cheaper, less popular pieces in the similar 3-4 mold to look at, guys who have good per minute numbers and some skill-sets that might be interesting to the Spurs: Mike Scott, DeMarre Carroll (ATL), Trevor Booker (WAS), Mirza Teletovic (BRK), Quincy Acy (SAC). Wouldn’t be surprised if the Spurs can’t swing a deal for a bigger name and end up with a more rotational guy like the ones I listed here.

  • Mac Mac

    If the C’s want to cut salary to get out of Green’s deal to maximize their capspace for Gordon Hayward, perhaps we could send them Bonner, de Colo, and Baynes? All three are on expiring contracts, and they would get a trial run with these guys to see if any of them fit going forward, while straight tanking this year.

    Green is interesting for SA, because you really only need him to perform against Miami, OKC, Houston and Portland… we already know he can guard Durant and Lebron pretty well, so he could help out against Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones, and he’d be an extra body to try out on Lamarcus Aldridge. So can Pop get him to lock in and stay focused with a championship in arm’s reach? It would require featuring him enough to get him to lock in completely, but we’ve seen them give Marco a big responsibility in his first year. I’ve always been a Jeff Green critic, and a Thad Young believer, but if Green could be had cheaper than Young, then he’s my first choice of the options above. Besides being cheaper, I think Green — as the more experienced shooter — is the better fit right now.

    If Buford is actually dangling Livio Jean-Charles or Bertans, I think Ainge would take that deal (either foreign player for Green is a good long-term move for Boston). Livio projects as a Thad Young himelf, or a Terrence Jones, and Bertans as a Kyle Korver, so it could hurt the Spurs going forward, but as a win now move, is it worth it?

  • landstar534

    i say trade either tiago or bynes and a draft pick or even tiago or bynes and cory joseph to the lakers for gasol.duncan,gasol,and leonard on the front line nice. plus gasol a better player then tiago

  • Andrew A. McNeill


  • Scott W

    Why not see if the team can get a long term replacement for Duncan now. I’d like to see the spurs make a run at Greg Monroe. Pistons need floor spacers and Spurs could send Bonner, Green & Diaw to help in that regard. Would need to include picks as well but it’s possible they would look at something like that.

  • Tyler

    Why would Chicago trade Noah? Next season, if Rose comes back healthy, Butler and Snell progress, Mirotic is as good as advertised, they add a player with their pick and the player they get with Charlotte’s pick (unless it’s in top 10), they’re right back as a top 3 team in the East. There’s no need to gut this team. They’re not going to embark on a full scale, 3-4 year rebuild like Milwaukee, Boston, Philly, etc.

    Realistically, if Chicago is going to move Noah, at that point they might as well move Rose (which would never, ever ever happen). Trading Noah doesn’t make sense for them.

  • LukeDawg

    I’ll let espn insider Chad ford Handle this one: “Don’t think so,” Ford said when asked if the Bulls are done making moves this season during a chat session. “Lots of talk about those two (Noah and Hinrich) as well as Boozer. I’ve said this in several of our last Tank Ranks, management has made the decision to tank this season. Coach isn’t on board, but they can keep taking cards out of his hand to play.”

    So they would get rid of Noah for the same reason they would get rid of their most versatile player in Deng, to shed payroll, stockpile picks and increase chances of a higher slot in the draft this year. I think the Deng move shows they think they are still a couple years away atleast from truly competing against the elite.

  • Tyler

    While I love me some Chad Ford, I have to believe the “talk” over Noah is coming from other teams simply kicking the tires. Sure, Chicago will answer the phone, but that doesn’t mean he’s being shopped by any means.

    Also, Chicago has already won 18 games – they’re already too good to tank. To be a bottom five team at this point, they can only win, at most, 14 or so games. Can you see a Thibideax coached team going on a skid like that? I certainly can’t.

    Given the players they’re due to bring in next year, chicago’s future is still very bright. You don’t give away your second best player, a player who is on a very reasonable deal, a guy at possibly the second most vital position, and the heart and soul of your team.

    I could be horribly wrong, but I doubt Noah is going anywhere.

  • Tyler

    Also, they got rid of Deng because he’s a FA after this season and will be on the wrong side of 30. They also have Butler to replace him. Noah is under contract for a couple more seasons at a reasonable figure. There’s a big difference in both players in terms of age, contract status, and replacement players behind either.

  • LukeDawg

    I would agree that he is not being outright “shopped”, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t at all available though for the right price. Most are touting this draft as one of the deepest in NBA history, so team are doing everything they can to give themselves as many chances as possible to get incredible talent on the cheap. I think you would be surprised what trading a top 8 pick would net you in this draft.

    As for the tanking, I will once again quote Chad Ford: ” I’ve said this in several of our last Tank Ranks, management has made the decision to tank this season. Coach isn’t on board, but they can keep taking cards out of his hand to play.” So as is, no, I don’t see the Bulls losing that many games. But if management wants to tank and they trade away Noah, Dunleavy, Boozer and Hinrich (all whom have popped up in various trade rumors), and you are left with one of the worst rosters in the modern NBA. Um yeah, I could see them going on quite a skid under those circumstances.

  • LukeDawg

    Also, you are speculating as to why they got rid of Deng. I disagree that The bulls future is “really bright”, I think they realize they may have to adjust their long term plans. They have a few nice, young pieces, but this team was always built solely around Rose, a player who is in all likelihood, done being an MVP type player. I hate saying that because I love watching him, but name me another player relying on elite athleticism who has survived 2 major knee surgeries to be as good as he was before. Meanwhile Deng is only 28 and is in the prime of his career. You said there was a big difference in age disparity between the two, but you realize Deng is actually younger than Noah right? And a case could be made that he did every bit as much for that team as Noah does. And according to Deng, they did not even really consider resigning him. He said they gave him an insulting take it or leave it deal and he left it. So I would apply your own logic and say that if this team is really concerned about winning championships in the short term. You don’t let Deng go without even an attempt at negotiation, UNLESS, another angle we have not mentioned, you are wanting to free up cap space to make a big move in free agency. In which case, cutting ties with Both Noah and Deng allows you to collect cheap assets AND go after another Max contract guy. I don’t think this can be ruled out as a possibility either.

    The point is though, as smart as you and I are, I am probably going to defer to someone with the abundant Nba connections like Ford has. I agree it may not be highly likely, but at the same time, I have enough respect for Ford to believe if he reports it, there might be atleast the faintest shred of possibility to it, enough atleast to create a fake trade about ha.

  • skeptic210

    How about Tiago, Bonner and Nando for Pau Gasol ? Works on the trade machine.

    We have the mid-range jumper from a big to counter any defense.

    LA does this because they want to trade Gasol, and gets a defense first C and complimentary player for Kobe who doesnt need his share of shots.

  • Mac Mac

    If Noah is traded it will be for multiple lottery picks, or a the VERY LEAST, one incoming lottery pick and a few other assets. Seriously, you can count the Spurs out of any such trade.
    Beyond that, Deng got a low return because he was due for an expensive payday and he there is no guarantee he won’t jump to a new team this summer. Chad Ford is mostly wrong when it comes to trade rumors, as is most everybody. Let it go.

  • LukeDawg

    I guess you did not really read the original deal that was proposed, i clearly explained that the Bulls would be getting a lottery pick, an unprotected likely top 8 pick from from a rapidly sinking Pelicans team along with one or 2 of the Spurs overseas assets. So I believe that satisfies your “VERY LEAST” requirement. Also you can’t really be wrong about trade rumors, just the trade itself. Obviously he is hearing rumors or he wouldn’t have reported it, now whether the source can be trusted or the trade actually happens, of course that is a different story. Clearly this is all speculation, but Chad Ford’s speculation does atleast have some real NBA connections behind it, which is why I based my trade off of his reporting, rather than just making stuff up for the heck of it.

  • Tyler

    Noah is under contract for another few seasons. Deng’s new contract will mean more money and run farther into the future than Noah’s current deal. So even though they are similar age, any Deng deal comes with more risk. The Bulls most certainly dealt Deng because they didn’t want to pay him huge money. They reportedly offered him 4 yrs, $40M which Deng turned down. Fair or not, they just didn’t want to pay him.

    The Bulls could certainly trade Noah, but if the goal is to get max or near max cap space, they can do that by amnestying Boozer this offseason. For that reason, there’s really no need to make that trade. Also, the FA class isnt great this year unless you plan on lobbing a big deal toward a restricted player like Stephenson or Haywood.

    And really, all Ford reported was that there was talk about Noah, not that he was on the block. Unless there’s a top 5 pick and salary relief (ie someone eats Boozer’s deal), I doubt the Bulls could get equal value. Either way, in the event they do trade Noah, I look forward to Thib’s head blowing up on the sidelines because that’s what will happen if they take away his best player and anchor.

    Also, good discussion.

  • Tyler

    FYI, your link didn’t lead to a trade, just to the trade machine splash screen.

    If Chad Ford said it, no doubt he’s heard it thrown around. He’s a must read for any NBA fan.

  • LukeDawg

    Yes, I do not disagree that long term cost certainly factored in to the Deng deal (or lack of one), my only point is that when a big market team doesn’t even want to explore negotiations in keeping their two time All star who does a little bit of everything and is a crucial piece for contending now, it probably means you are blowing things up, or atleast considering heading in a new direction. This isn’t to say they are looking to get rid of Noah, but maybe just that they aren’t immediately hanging up on someone inquiring about him.

    And they absolutely might amnesty Boozer, although if the Bulls are wanting to cut costs, that is a lateral move because if they then use that cap space to sign another max guy, it will be the same financially as if they were in the luxury tax because they still have to pay the 17 million owed on Boozer. If they were planning on the amnesty route they probably should have done it already (obviously hindsight is 20/20). He only has one year left and it will be very tradeable as a monster expiring this time next year. As far as max free agents go, there is talk that maybe Carmelo might be interested in joining Chicago, although obviously the same “rumor” caveats apply. But regardless of how you feel about the fit, I don’t think it could be ruled out as atleast a slim possibility they might consider if everything fell in to place perfectly.

    But you are right about not getting equal value for Noah. But teams wanting to cut costs for All stars rarely get equal value in return, which is why if there is any chance that the Bulls are even considering the slightest possibility of moving Noah, I think the Spurs should atleast call and see what it would take. And you are definitely right that if they do trade him, Thibs would go nuts. Or maybe just quit on the spot, I don’t think you can rule out either reaction.

  • LukeDawg

    Well that’s embarrassing. All my hard work undone by my inability to provide a proper hyperlink… Just use your imagination and trust me when I say it was epic in scope and the Bulls would have Definitely said yes ha.

  • Ryan McShane

    Tiago is the reason the Spurs’ defense was so good at the start of the season. Pau Gasol is an awful defender and the amount of points you’d gain from having him on offense wouldn’t make up for the amount of points Tiago stops. And also Pau is close to retirement!