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2 best trades to make before the 2023 NBA trade deadline


After a strong start to the 2022-23 NBA season in October, the San Antonio Spurs went all-in for Victor Wembanyama. In fact, the Spurs have gone 8-24 since the start of November and are currently second to last in the entire Western Conference. They are just 2.5 games ahead of their local rivals, the Houston Rockets. We’re not convinced Spurs want to win a ton more games this season, so it might be odd to give them suggestions in the context of the trade deadline. Still, assuming it wouldn’t be so bad for Spurs to continue sourcing active or young players who could fit Wembanyama’s ideal timeline if they land him this year. Here, we’ll be looking at the top two trades the San Antonio Spurs have to make before the 2023 NBA trade deadline.

Spurs are in the midst of a full-scale rebuild, and they must not lose sight of their ultimate goal. It is the acquisition of the fashionable French 7’4 center. As part of that process, Spurs should continue to offload any veteran players who don’t fit their long-term plans. Guys like Jakob Poeltl, Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott all loom as natural trade candidates. Again, they are good individual players, but none of them are perfect for a rebuild.

These players also have enough talent and experience to attract contending teams such as the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls, among others. Spurs should definitely try to use them as trade bait to acquire valuable draft picks and more young talent.

This is nothing new, of course. Remember that over the past few seasons Spurs have already jettisoned many of their notable veterans as they focus on the future. Their milestone activities should continue to reflect this focus on long-term reconstruction and preparedness. While it may be tempting to try and retain these veteran players, Spurs should resist that temptation and continue to prioritize their long-term goals.

Ultimately, Spurs’ success will depend on their ability to identify and develop young talent. Moreover, it will also depend on their ability to make smart moves in the draft and in rallies. By continuing to trade in veteran players and acquiring draft assets and young talent, Spurs can put themselves in a strong position to build around Victor Wembanyama (should they have him).

Now, let’s discuss the top two trades Spurs have to make before the 2023 NBA trade deadline.

1. Maximize the business value of Jakob Poeltl

Center Jakob Poeltl is the player receiving the most attention from potential business partners. The Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors, in fact, have both expressed interest in signing Poeltl, as reported by LJ Ellis on Spurs Talk.

“According to two sources, the two most persistent teams to acquire Poeltl are the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors. Talks with the Raptors date back to last season’s trade deadline, but Toronto remains hesitant to offer anything else. only a package highlighted by a single first-round pick with moderate protections.

Interestingly enough, Poeltl was a first-round pick for the Raptors in 2016. Since then, he’s become one of the best defensive centers in the NBA. It is, of course, known for its elite rebound and strong rim protection. On offense, he’s also an effective scorer and solid playmaker. Recall that Poeltl was traded to the San Antonio Spurs as part of the deal for Kawhi Leonard. Poeltl has spent the last few seasons with Spurs. Of course, they are looking for additional asset projects in exchange for Poeltl.

Given that, a possible trade scenario with, say, the Raptors is to trade Poeltl for a 2024 first-round pick and an additional asset (perhaps a player like Khem Birch). This makes perfect sense for both teams. The Raptors would finally have a legitimate center in the middle. Meanwhile, Spurs would improve their chances of hitting bottom and another draft pick.

2. Ship Josh Richardson

Recall that prior to the season, the Los Angeles Lakers had actually offered Russell Westbrook and a lottery-protected first-round pick for Josh Richardson and Doug McDermott. However, negotiations stalled because the Spurs demanded an unprotected first-round selection, which the Lakers refused to give up.

Looking ahead, we expect Richardson to continue to attract interest from playoff-caliber teams trying to strengthen their backcourt. Keep in mind that Richardson is entering unrestricted free agency this summer. As such, Spurs would rather get something for him than nothing. Maybe they should call the Lakers back?

The Bulls could also be a potential trade partner. Richardson can be packaged by Spurs in exchange for Coby White and possibly a pick or another player.

In Chicago, White’s playing time has gone down. This comes on the heels of the signings of Goran Dragic, Dalen Terry and the rise of Ayo Dosunmu. However, Spurs, a side in desperate need of ballhandlers, could give the 22-year-old’s career a boost.

Meanwhile, Richardson is a two-way wing. He can definitely boost the Bulls’ chances of making the playoffs with his three-point shot and versatile defense. Moving white now for seasoned support is the best course of action for the Bulls. That’s if Chicago doesn’t want to re-sign him this summer.




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