It is time to throw away the American inferiority complex with its place in the sport, where many blindly claim that technique should come above all in choosing and developing the best prospects and that the U.S. is not an international power because it cares too much about athleticism.
Far-Fetched Friday: The San Antonio Spurs Acquire a Star this Offseason
By: Ryan Stein
Outside of LaMarcus Aldridge in 2015 and DeMar DeRozan in 2018, the Spurs don't have much of a track record when it comes to acquiring star players from other teams; most of their damage is done in the draft. Even now, most of the franchise's core pieces were drafted by the team, such as Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, and Devin Vassell. That will change this offseason, however, as San Antonio has all the assets to make some noise, ultimately leading to the acquisition of a star player.
Welcome back to Far-Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction that we believe will come to fruition. This Friday we go down to San Antonio, Texas and a budding star.
The only truly untouchable player on the Spurs should be Dejounte Murray. Averaging 20.7 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 9.3 APG, Murray has taken a significant leap toward stardom, and is on a ridiculously team-friendly contract. For the Spurs, the key now should be finding a star to pair with the point guard, which would likely be enough to vault San Antonio back into the playoffs. As far as assets go to make a major trade happen, the Spurs have no shortage. Johnson, Vassell, and Lonnie Walker IV are all young, productive players, they project more as mid-to-high level role players than do franchise cornerstones. As such, the Spurs' front office should be willing to move those players for the right price. On top of talented youth, the Spurs also boast an influx of draft picks. They will likely have three 1st round draft picks this summer (their own, Raptors', and Celtics') and they are in possession of all their own picks through 2028. Any team looking to offload a disgruntled star could get a nice package from the Spurs in the form of young talent and valuable draft picks.
What star players would the Spurs target? That's a little trickier, since a lot of unhappy stars have been moved recently. That being said, there are still a few options out there. Julius Randle carried the Knicks to a surprise playoff appearance last season, but the team has regressed tremendously this year. Randle has been at the forefront of a lot of criticism in New York, but the fact is he doesn't have much help on the team outside of RJ Barrett. Randle is a player who could likely be acquired without giving up too many assets.
The Atlanta Hawks are another team that has disappointed after overachieving last year. If this season ends in disappointment (which seems likely considering the Hawks' current trajectory,) it's possible the team looks to make a couple moves to maneuver their way back toward the right direction. In that case, strong players like Clint Capela and John Collins would be potentially available. Collins may be a longshot, but the Spurs would definitely be able to trade for someone like Capela pretty easily.
As far as trade targets go, there's one major star that has shown signs of being unsatisfied with his current team: Zion Williamson. This year has been a strange one for Zion, between injuries and him seemingly distancing himself from the team for some reason. Adding him to the Spurs would take a mountain of assets, which the Spurs luckily have. The Spurs would almost definitely have the best combination of players and draft picks in any package trade for Zion. While it would be hard for the Pelicans to part with the star forward, the Spurs could provide an offer that is too good to refuse, especially given the question marks surrounding Williamson. Greg Popovich has a little bit of experience when it comes coaching and developing star power forwards, to put it lightly. There's perhaps no better coach to ensure Zion reaches the height of his potential, and being next to a star point guard like Murray would be a recipe for one of the best duos in the league for the next decade.
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