4 early Spurs trade targets in 2023 NBA offseason

The San Antonio Spurs are in borderline-uncharted territory for the franchise; they have a 67 percent chance of landing a top five pick, setting themselves up nicely for the future after a mad dash towards the bottom of the NBA standings. Of course, this effort to bottom out included some blatant tanking shenanigans, including random rest days for some of their best players, such as Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, and Zach Collins.

While the Spurs’ focus will definitely be on the 2023 NBA Draft, returning to contending status remains an uphill climb for them, even if they manage to luck out and nab Victor Wembanyama by winning the lottery. It’s not too often that a rookie is good enough to elevate one of the worst teams in the league to immediate contention, which becomes especially hard to pull off these days given the parity of the league.

Thus, no one should be surprised if the Spurs trade for a few reclamation projects here and there as they try to restore the franchise to its former glory. Of course, there are no guarantees that the potential trade targets even find their way onto the trade block, but the Spurs could do very well to maximize their cap space and expiring contracts to try and facilitate the potential career revivals of a few players whose stars have dimmed in recent years, whether due to injury, poor team fit, and other external circumstances.

Here are four trade targets the Spurs must set their sights on during the 2023 NBA offseason.

Ben Simmons

Ah yes, what do the Brooklyn Nets do with the conundrum that is Ben Simmons? There is no mistaking the talent Simmons possesses. Beyond his athletic gifts, his feel for the game on both ends of the floor is what separates him from most players.

However, Simmons has been a major swing and a miss for the Nets, his strong stretch during November notwithstanding, and he’s now on the cusp of losing his luster for good.

Simmons has compounded his inability to space the floor with his inability to stay healthy, his inexplicable hesitation around the hoop, and one-dimensionality. His confidence issues seem to be at an all-time high.

There’s also the problem of Simmons’ contract. He still has two years left on his max deal, making around $78 million for the next two seasons — fully guaranteed. With his lackluster production of 6.9 points, 6.3 boards, and 6.1 dimes per game, it’s difficult to envision him attracting any sort of interest on the trade market.

But that’s where the Spurs kick through the door.

Ben Simmons is just 26 years old, and if there’s any coaching staff that has earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to bringing the best out of their players, it’s the Spurs’. Under Gregg Popovich’s tutelage, Simmons will have plenty of chances, especially on a rebuilding team, to revive his career.

And with all current members of the Spurs roster able to space the floor, aside from, perhaps, Tre Jones, Simmons should have all the space he needs to be his most dynamic self should he manage to recover the confidence he has lost over the past two seasons.

John Collins

Yet another player who has found a home on the trading block, the Spurs would do very well to take on John Collins’ huge contract as well in hopes of getting him back to the nightly 20-10 threat he once was. After all, Collins is just 25 years old, so it’s not like his skills that have made him who he is to this day have completely disappeared in the blink of an eye.

The Atlanta Hawks forward should also be a good fit alongside his surname-mate Zach Collins, who has shown flashes of being an offensively versatile rim protector for the tanking Spurs. With Zach’s ability to space the floor, John could then feast on the interior, as he is at his best when he’s rolling to the hoop, as evidenced by his performances during the 2019-20 season.

Plus, it shouldn’t take a lot for the Spurs to nab Collins away from the Hawks given how steeply his value has fallen over the years, so nabbing a dynamic frontcourt threat for cheap could end up being a shrewd move for the Spurs — especially if they manage to draft Victor Wembanyama.

Kevin Porter Jr.

Tre Jones has had his moments of solid point guard play; he’s averaging 12.5 points and 6.4 assists as the Spurs’ starting point guard, his feel for the game apparent even as they continue to rack up one loss after another. Alas, Jones is not a dynamic scoring threat. He’s also shooting just 27.4 percent from deep on low volume, which effectively puts a ceiling on just how much he could impact the game from the point guard position.

Enter Kevin Porter Jr.

One gripe the Houston Rockets have with Porter Jr. is that he isn’t a true point guard. However, his scoring threat makes him a more dangerous player to put alongside the likes of Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell.

Of course, the Rockets are more than likely to keep Porter, given his team-friendly contract and his young age (22 years old). But should the Rockets veer onto another direction, the Spurs should be all over the idea of adding KPJ.

Killian Hayes

The Spurs have had success with French point guards who struggled to shoot from deep to begin their career in the past. So why not take a chance on another one in Killian Hayes?

(Hayes, of course, is no Tony Parker. It’s not even close.)

Hayes has had his problems with efficiency and shooting from beyond the arc. But there’s no denying that he can dish the rock and defend actively. With the Detroit Pistons giving the keys to the offense to Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey, there might no longer be a place for Hayes in the Motor City, which could pave the way for the Spurs to develop him.

The post 4 early Spurs trade targets in 2023 NBA offseason appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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