For those not following NBA news this past offseason or living under a rock, the San Antonio Spurs have frequently made headlines as a trade candidate for maligned superstar Ben Simmons. These rumors nearly overshadowed drafting Joshua Primo, signing a potential cornerstone in Jock Landale, scoring versatile big Thaddeus Young, and Manu Ginobili returning to the bench. I’m hoping these rumors don’t overshadow just how fun and competitive the team has played to start the season.
Here at Air Alamo, we’ve covered just how lopsided some of these trades are extensively and multiple times, since, unfortunately, these trades keep resurfacing. But one thing that has been completely under-discussed is the ripple effect of doing so.
Trading for Ben Simmons, regardless of whether or not you think it’s worth it or not, is literally a game-changer. And by gamechanger, I mean trading for Simmons only starts with acquiring him but would also force additional coaching and personnel moves far beyond the initial trade for him.
Quickly moving through what we already know, Sixers GM Daryl Morey wants a king’s ransom for Simmons equivalent to what the Houston Rockets received for James Harden. Most packages seem to feature at least three of the four: Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, Derrick White, and Lonnie Walker IV, in addition to two to four future first-round picks for Simmons.
In the past, I’ve explored the Spurs’ positional logjam at the wings and pleaded with the team to trade a few up-and-comers to free up time for the others and grab a young core piece, preferably at the power forward position. I’m writing now to say, emphatically, this is not that trade.
Neither are the “conservative” versions of this trade. These feature, oftentimes, just two first-round picks plus Dejounte and Derrick. This trade is better than the first trade, but also something the Spurs, should never, ever consider.
I’m not going to do either of these horrible offers the courtesy of saying which I would accept because the answer is neither. But regardless of which package we are referring to, that means the trade starts with the Spurs at least losing Dejounte Murray, two first-rounders, and either Derrick White or Keldon, Lonnie, and two more first-rounders.
And as an obvious reminder, all of this would be for a guy who can’t shoot and is currently holding out on his team, citing mental health issues after first demanding a trade.
No one takes mental health issues more seriously than I do, but this effort clearly has all the trappings of someone trying to use an important clause in the NBA collective bargaining agreement, just to assure he gets paid millions for sitting out of games. That’s tasteless and certainly not the Spurs way.