With the San Antonio Spurs agreeing to trade Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks, they are best suited to maximize their outlook for a rebuilding process. The best way to further their efforts would be to trade some of their remaining veteran players.
Murray, 25, was the lone All-Star talent on the Spurs and his trade value reflected the circumstances. The Hawks traded two of their own future first-round picks, a 2023 lottery-protected first-round pick (CHA), and a future first-round pick swap with Danilo Gallinari's contract as salary filler.
The Spurs can continue to capitalize if they desire by trading some of the veteran players with coveted skill-sets that could command more assets in trades. The process seemingly began at the midseason deadline when Derrick White was traded to the Boston Celtics for what became the No. 25 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
The Spurs added three rookies in Jeremy Sochan, Malaki Branham, and Blake Wesley in the first-round of the 2022 NBA Draft. San Antonio also used consecutive lottery picks to add talents like Joshua Primo and Devin Vassell. With so much youth on the roster, prioritizing clearing a path for more opportunity could be ideal.
Every team has a wish list of free agents or trade targets they want to pursue entering the offseason. It tends to quickly unravel when the action unfolds. The Spurs could be a helpful trade partner for the teams that miss out on their preferred options.
Here are some veteran players the Spurs should consider trading after moving on from Murray:
Doug McDermott is a natural trade candidate for the Spurs. He'll be 31 years old during the upcoming season and his catch-and-shoot skill-set is best utilized on a contending team with established playmakers. Last season, he averaged 11.3 points and shot 42.2 percent from 3-point range.
It's not easy to find a complementary talent like McDermott who thrives when deployed in off-ball screening actions and handoffs. The defensive attention he commands presents a legitimate shooting gravity, which can help to create advantages when he spaces the floor or is involved in actions.
There are undoubtedly defensive limitations that a potential trade suitor would need to account for if they were to acquire McDermott. He isn't a liability as an on-ball defender, doesn't make an impact as a help defender, and is largely limited to filling a bench role in meaningful games since rival teams deploy his man in screening actions.
McDermott is signed through 2023-24 and will earn $13.75 million during each of those two seasons. He has fair contract value that would become a much greater value on a contending team who needs the spacing he provides and has the playmaking talent to maximize it.
There were trade conversations involving Jakob Poeltl around the trade deadline, but no deal was ultimately reached. Given he is entering the final year of his current contract, a mutually beneficial outcome could be to find a trade suitor.
With averages of 13.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.7 blocks last season, Poeltl put together what was by far the most productive campaign of his NBA career. He will be due for a lucrative contract next offseason as a result.
Poeltl is an all-around steady traditional big man but lacks any one area that would classify as being elite. For a rebuilding team, paying to retain players who possess a limited ceiling is not necessarily the ideal outcome long-term.
Poeltl's $9.4 million salary would be simple for many teams to trade for if they seek a stable option at center. With free agent center options like Isaiah Hartenstein and JaVale McGee already agreeing to contracts, the options will only continue to shrink.
The Spurs received strong production from Josh Richardson after acquiring him in part of the trade that sent Derrick White to the Boston Celtics. San Antonio could look to gain another asset in exchange for Richardson by sending him to a contender.
Richardson, 29, is another veteran player who is entering the final year of his current contract with the Spurs. There is a lot of wings on this team even after letting Lonnie Walker IV walk in free agency. Between Devin Vassell, Joshua Primo, and Malaki Branham, there are other options to prioritize in a rebuild.
Richardson's production has declined since his career-year for the Miami Heat in 2018-19. He remains an impactful 3-and-D talent who is coming off a 2021-22 campaign with averages of 10.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists.
Perhaps most intriguing of all about Richardson's current trade value is that he shot 41.5 percent from 3-point range after shooting just 33.0 percent with the Dallas Mavericks in 2020-21.
Any team that seeks a versatile defender who can knock down shots from beyond the arc and do a little bit off the bounce should give the Spurs a call about Richardson. As teams reconfigure their rosters, adding talent on the wing will become a priority.
You can follow Grant Afseth on Twitter at @GrantAfseth.
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