Legitimate interest or a head fake? With the NBA Draft on the doorstep, the San Antonio Spurs have an increasing interest in getting to know more about Donovan Clingan according to a report headlined by ESPN's Jonathan's Givony and Jeremy Woo.

For all the players linked to the Black and Silver as they look to build around generational talent Victor Wembanyama with the fourth and eighth picks this week, the former Connecticut big man has not been one of them. A look here at why there's more to the Spurs “interest” in Clingan.

What the Spurs are looking for in the draft

It's no surprise given their 22-60 record last season, but San Antonio has several needs. Many say a point guard is a priority. Others are adamant the team needs a wing who can score and work with Wemby off pick-and-roll sets. Some insist a long, athletic big man alongside will serve Wemby well. Because of that, just about every top prospect in the draft has been linked to the Spurs: Nikola Topic, Stephon Castle, Zaccharie Risacher, Rob Dillingham, Reed Sheppard, Matas Buzelis, Devin Carter, Cody Williams, Dalton Knecht, and on and on.

Sheppard, Dillingham, Buzelis, Knecht, and others have reportedly been in for workouts. At any given point over the last month-plus, many of these players have projected in and out of San Antonio's range, like, for example, Risacher, who's now the analysts' take at number one to the Atlanta Hawks.

Alex Sarr is one of the few top prospects who hasn't been linked to the Spurs. Neither has Clingan. There are reasons.

Donovan Clingan's value to the Spurs

Purdue Boilermakers guard Braden Smith (3) passes the ball over Connecticut Huskies center Donovan Clingan (32) during the Men's NCAA national championship game at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on April 8, 2024.
Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Sarr is perhaps the only prospect who hasn't been projected lower than the top two picks. Slotted by mock drafts to go first for a couple of weeks, those same predictions now proclaim he won't slip past the Washington Wizards at the two spot. Because of that, there's been no connection to the Spurs, whose reported interest in the top pick has come because of Risacher.

Clingan might be the only other prospect that hadn't been linked to the Spurs, until now. Like Sarr, there's a belief that Clingan could go first. Unlike Sarr, Clingan's game is the reason he hasn't been thought to be on the Spurs' radar nor has any previous information leaked regarding Spurs' interest.

Why now then? Does Gregg Popovich have visions of replicating a Tim Duncan, David Robinson “Twin Towers” pairing with the 7-foot-5 Wembanyama and the 7-foot-3 back-to-back NCAA national champion as a UConn Husky?

More likely, with Risacher potentially taken first, Sarr at two, and Reed or another wing player going third, Clingan could fall to San Antonio at four according to the latest buzz. Should that happen, GM Brian Wright and company would like the option of a potential trade partner who'd be interested in the Bristol, Connecticut native. They've gone so far as to interview him in recent days per ESPN.

Like with everything else the Spurs are approaching the 2024 NBA Draft with diligence. That doesn't mean they're above playing a couple of games in the process.