The San Antonio Spurs have made some confusing and perplexing moves this offseason. The Spurs have been rebuilding since the 2019-20 campaign and won the second-fewest games in the NBA last season. Moreover, San Antonio has parted ways with two young talented veterans at the trade deadline in the past two years to obtain draft capital. While the team selected three players (one was traded) in June’s draft to help their rebuild, including potential franchise changer Victor Wembanyama, they also received three veterans in trades who don’t necessarily fit their plans. According to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express, those three players may not be in San Antonio long.
NBA Rumors: Three Spurs Who May Be Traded
Per McDonald, Cameron Payne, Reggie Bullock, and Cedi Osman are the three players who could be traded before or during the season. The Spurs could consider dealing the trio to continue building around Wembanyama.
Payne, Bullock, and Osman are all on expiring contracts and could be valuable off the bench for teams making a playoff push.
San Antonio currently has 17 players on standard contracts. So, the Spurs will have to make a couple of cuts before the start of the season. All 17 players’ contracts are fully guaranteed for this year.
Spurs Projected NBA Depth Chart
Here, the Spurs have many options. There is an excellent chance that Jones, Vassell, Johnson, and Sochan will be in the starting lineup with Wembanyama. There is also a chance that the Spurs would start Johnson at power forward, Vassell at small forward, and Branham at shooting guard. However, San Antonio will most likely use a different starting lineup when Wembanyama sits out, as he is projected to play between 50-60 games this year, and Collins will start in his place.
The more concerning issue for Gregg Popovich will be how he doles out minutes to his bench. Branham will likely be the sixth man, with Payne being the second guard off the bench. Meanwhile, Collins will be the first frontcourt player off the bench, followed by McDermott, Bullock, and Bassey. The rest of the depth chart is a gamble since it is unknown who the Spurs plan on cutting if no trade is made.
Graham is likely ahead of Wesley on the guard depth chart. Osman and Birch are probably higher on the chart than Champagnie and Mamukelsahvili. But it is very close at this point.
San Antonio acquired Payne from the Phoenix Suns for a protected 2024 second-round pick. The Spurs also received a 2025 second-round pick owned by the New Orleans Pelicans and cash considerations.
Payne came into his own in his four seasons with the Suns. The 28-year-old averaged 9.8 points, 4.2 assists, and 1.5 turnovers while compiling a shooting slash line of 43/38/83. However, Payne thrived when he was inserted into the starting lineup, especially the past two years.
Payne is slated to backup Jones, who signed a two-year, $19 million contract as a restricted free agent this summer. Graham could see time at both guard spots. He was acquired by the Spurs this past February at the trade deadline and played exceptionally well for them. Graham compiled 13.0 points, 2.7 threes, and 4.0 assists in 20 games. Vassell, Branham, and Wesley can also handle lead guard duties for a short period.
Payne, who was essentially a salary dump by the Suns, should get a lot of attention during the season and at the trade deadline. This is especially true of teams needing an experienced point guard who can start or come off the bench. Payne has made 42 playoff appearances over the last three seasons.
San Antonio got Bullock in a three-team deal with the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics. The Spurs also got a pick swap from the Mavericks in 2030. They sent out three future second-round picks too, with two going to Dallas and one to Boston.
Bullock is the prototypical 3-and-D wing, as all he does offensively is stand behind the three-point line. The problem is that the Spurs already have McDermott and Vassell, both better scorers than the 32-year-old. Bullock is a career 38% shooter from the three-point line.
San Antonio added Osman, Lamar Stevens, and a second-round pick as part of a three-team deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat. The Spurs didn’t send anything out in the transaction. They have already waived Stevens.
Osman is more like Bullock than McDermott. However, Osman does possess more offensive tricks than Bullock, though he is not quite the sniper as him. Osman is coming off one of the best shooting seasons of his career, averaging 8.7 points on 45% shooting from the field and 37% from deep.