Realistic Trade Destinations for Every San Antonio Spurs Role Player
With many players—DeJuan Blair, Gary Neal, Patty Mills and Boris Diaw—entering the free agent market, the Spurs will have to look to retain them while also making the necessary moves to ensure that their 2012-2013 playoff fate will have a different outcome than this year.
Trading their role players to surround Kawhi Leonard with youth for the future will be one of the Spurs' top priorities during the offseason.
Here's a look at possible trades involving these role players, and the destinations where they may end up.
San Antonio Spurs get: Joel Anthony
Miami Heat get: Matt Bonner
Matt Bonner provides the Spurs with few benefits. Beyond the arc, he is one of the league's best. But beyond that, he brings little to the table.
Unlike most power forwards, he runs into trouble in the paint and prefers to spend his time around the perimeter. However, while Bonner's shortcomings may not be pleasing to San Antonio, which has a plethora of better candidates to be the three-point specialist, his unique talent should draw the attention of other teams.
Sending Bonner to Miami seems to be a match made in heaven, as his ability to shoot the long ball would integrate perfectly into Miami's offense.
With LeBron James constantly needing to drive into the paint, another big body to clog the middle is unnecessary. Bonner would allow the Heat to spread the floor so James could attack, while also forcing defenses to guard the perimeter. Mike Miller appears to be on his last legs, and on the verge of retirement. Bonner would help fill his role as the Heat's three-point specialist.
Joel Anthony has become wasted space in Miami, as his playing time has dwindled since Bosh's return. Udonis Haslem seems to be Miami's preferred big man, making Anthony expendable if they wish to bring in a different type of player, like Bonner.
Anthony would provide a solid compliment to Duncan, with his rebounding and defense. And Anthony can play the center position comfortably, allowing Duncan to play his natural position, power forward.
San Antonio Spurs get: Linas Kleiza
Toronto Raptors get: Tiago Splitter
After one of Tiago Splitter's mistakes caused Gregg Popovich to explode with anger, Splitter's spot in San Antonio is far from guaranteed. It takes a lot to make Popovich angry, and Splitter's name is certainly no longer on his "nice" list.
If San Antonio does explore the possibility of moving the Brazilian big man, Toronto seems to be the ideal destination.
On the Toronto's depth chart, the lack of strength at the center position sticks out like a sore thumb. With Andrea Bargnani playing out of his comfort zone as the 5, a true center should headline their priority list.
In return, the Raptors would send Linas Kleiza, the stretch power forward who is easily replaceable in Toronto. In San Antonio, however, he would provide a nice package of strength and scoring ability.
Kleiza's IQ and toughness make him more suitable to play the stretch four position than Matt Bonner, whose game was strictly limited to shooting threes.
He also can play the small forward spot, allowing him to be on the court at the same time as Duncan and another big man.
San Antonio Spurs get: Marvin Williams
When the Hawks signed Tracy McGrady for the season, they were looking for a player to fill Jamal Crawford's role as the sixth-man on the team. Despite a decent start, it is fair to say that McGrady proved that he is only a washed-up superstar, and not a key piece any longer.
The Hawks seem to be a playoff team every year, yet they can never grab hold of that "elite" status. This is largely due to their lack of bench production, and by trading for a dominant bench scorer, they could become contenders.
Stephen Jackson's second half of the season showed what he has left to offer to a team. His energy, both on offense and defense, could be valuable to a team looking to add a spark to come off of the bench.
Marvin Williams, on the other hand, is not an elite scorer, and can't fill Atlanta's needs at the sixth-man position.
However, in San Antonio, Williams could be very useful. His youth would allow the team to slowly rebuild, while his raw talent would be a perfect canvas on which Gregg Popovich could operate his mastery.
He wouldn't drive the Spurs to the next level, but he would fill a larger role than he did in Atlanta, while also helping the team plan for the future.
San Antonio Spurs get: Daniel Orton
Orlando Magic get: Cory Joseph
The Spurs have plenty of talent at the guard position, so the premature drafting of Cory Joseph last year came as a complete shock. He was shuttled between San Antonio and the D-League multiple times last season, and it is clear that he is nothing more than a benchwarmer for the Spurs.
Orlando lacks a talented point guard, and with Jameer Nelson unsure about his future with the Magic, the need for a point guard is growing. Chris Duhon is rarely used, so even the need for a backup should be one of their top priorities—after, you know, solving the Dwight Howard drama.
Daniel Orton spent his year warming the bench for the majority of the season. The Magic clearly have little use for him, and his time and talents would be better spent in San Antonio.
The 6'10'' Kentucky product is far from a star, but he provides the height and strength to be a valuable asset to the Spurs. With Boris Diaw and DeJuan Blair both undersized by NBA standards, a true big man would be a great addition to the roster.
Neither team is investing too much into this deal, but both benefit as it helps to strengthen their weaknesses.