Now that there are indications that the Spurs are looking to make a trade a or two, we’re listing out the players in order from least to most untouchable.
The San Antonio Spurs didn’t used to be big players in the trade market unless it involved assisting other teams with fringe players or someone relatively inconsequential asking out. There were still some surprises here and there — like trading George Hill for Kawhi Leonard and picks in the 2011 draft, Richard Jefferson for Stephen Jackson midseason in 2012, etc. — but usually the trade deadline would come and go without any excitement.
However, that started to change in the last five years after Leonard demanded a trade. The Spurs then became more open to moves at first meant to maximize the LaMarcus Aldridge-DeMar DeRozan era, then get assets in return for DeRozan as he left in free agency, and finally to pick a direction for the franchise. They ultimately landed on “tank”, leading to them trading away Derrick White, Dejounte Murray, Jakob Poeltl, and other veterans for future assets.
If the last two seasons have proven anything, it’s that no one on the Spurs is truly “untouchable” anymore, and with rumors currently swirling that they are looking to acquire another first round pick to draft a point guard. That will likely require moving a player or two to get other teams to play ball with the lottery winners, so I decided to rank every player relative to how open the Spurs would be to moving them, from essentially “we’re all ears” to “don’t call again without your best possible offer.”
We will be looking at the ten Spurs who, as of today, are currently under contract for next season (including non-guaranteed Zach Collins) since they can actually be traded, so this won’t include players like Tre Jones, Sandro Mamukelashvili, etc. (You can click here to see where all Spurs from last season currently stand contractually heading into the offseason.) Beginning at the bottom of the totem pole:
You have an offer? I’m listening…
Khem Birch: Acquired from the Toronto Raptors as part of the Poeltl trade, Birch has yet to suit up for the Spurs while dealing with ongoing knee issues. He’s an undersized center who will likely find himself on the outside of the main rotation next season, so the Spurs could possibly accept something as low a couple of second rounders if they want to open a roster spot. (Or even just waive him; they have the money.)
Devonte’ Graham: Also acquired midseason, in this case from New Orleans for Josh Richardson, Graham theoretically brings some much-needed outside shooting to the Spurs’ backcourt, but he’s streaky and hasn’t been consistent for a couple of seasons now. Still, he’s a veteran many teams may be interested in and could bring in another solid player and pick(s) in return.
Charles Bassey: Now we’re getting into players with at least some kind of personal tie to the club. The Spurs clearly believe in Bassey, otherwise they wouldn’t have signed him to a four-year deal (last two years non-guaranteed). Still, despite the backup center position likely being his to lose for now, he is still very expendable based on his contract and the fact that the Spurs could easily get an upgrade at his position with all their cap space.
Blake Wesley: Wesley had a rough rookie season in large part thanks to a knee injury, but also due to his sheer rawness as a player. With the Spurs so deep at shooting guard, his time to prove himself may be shorter than usual, but them’s the breaks. The Spurs likely won’t be actively seeking to trade him this soon — he still has massive potential — but he could just as easily be included as a sweetener in any deal.
I’m listening, but this better be good…
Doug McDermott: I know, some of you will say McBuckets should be in the previous category, but I believe the Spurs value him more than some fans do. He has been a great leader and mentor for the young squad, and his shooting and constant off-ball movement brings a huge boost to what was at times an offensively stagnant club. Many other teams would value his presence as well, and while the Spurs will likely field offers for him, they shouldn’t accept anything that undersells his value.
Malaki Branham: Unlike Wesley, Branham did prove his worth his rookie season, enough so that the Spurs will certainly want to see more, especially as they work to boost the scoring of their second unit. Is he expendable? Of course, but the Spurs won’t be actively seeking offers for him. At this point, he has earned his spot.
Zach Collins: Already dubbed next season’s starting center by Gregg Popovich, Collins is exactly the type of center to place next to Victor Wembanyama early in his career. He can spread the floor on offense while letting Wemby work down low (and vice versa), while banging with opposing centers on defense while Wemby uses his length and durability to cover everywhere else. Collins will be on a steal of a deal next season, and it will be hard to match his production in any trade at that value.
I’m hanging up unless your offer is too good to pass up…
Keldon Johnson: Johnson will be entering the first season of his new contract extension as the heart of the team, the leading scorer from last season, and the only Spur under contract after next season (for now). He’s far from a perfect player — his outside shooting betrayed him last season and will need to improve — but he’s an established, young veteran that many teams would be interested it, especially any mid-to-late lottery team that feels it’s “one piece away” and is willing to work with the Spurs to get that second first-round pick they desire. Even so, it will take a lot more than that to pry KJ away from San Antonio (and not just to make the money work).
Jeremy Sochan: The Spurs’ highest draft pick between 1997 and 2023, Sochan was a starter from day one and showed massive improvement on offense during his rookie year. The Spurs are very high on his upside and likely have zero interest letting him go, let alone in wasting three more years of his talent on a rookie-scale deal. The only thing that makes him even being the tiniest bit expendable at this point is he’ll need improve his shooting enough to affectively play the wing (or maybe even point-forward) alongside Wemby.
Devin Vassell: Perhaps the closest piece to untouchable currently on the roster, Vassell has the highest upside as a scorer and the potential to be a perfect number two to Wemby’s one. He looked the part until a knee injury hampered the second half of his season, but it’s easy to assume he will sign an extension this summer (which would kick in in 2024) and will likely demand the highest asking price from the Spurs if anyone comes a-calling about trading for him.
Blocked for even asking
The top pick in 2023, a.k.a. Victor Wembanyama: We’ve already established that this pick is close to, if not the most untouchable asset in the league, and the fact that anyone would even suggest trade options is laughable.