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RUMOR: The trade proposals the Spurs are turning down for core young players


The San Antonio Spurs have missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. Ever since Kawhi Leonard was traded by the team to the Toronto Raptors, San Antonio has not been generally viewed as a serious threat to win the Western Conference title, let alone an NBA championship.

For most of the past few years, the Spurs have been in a competitive limbo; they haven’t been good enough to win a championship, but not that bad to be counted out as a playoff contender. In the process, the Spurs missed out on getting high picks in the draft. Even when presented an opportunity to secure such assets, the Spurs refused to budge because they did not want to let go of their youngsters, per Zach Lowe of ESPN.

The best-odds pathway to those players is at the top of the draft. It’s a common criticism of the post-Leonard Spurs that in dealing for a win-now floor-raiser (DeRozan) and keeping its veteran bench together, San Antonio missed its window for Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and Cade Cunningham. (The Spurs have also — justifiably — turned down offers of single protected first-round picks for some of their core young guys, sources said.

The Spurs finished with losing records in each of the last two seasons. They also haven’t made a splashy acquisition so far in the offseason, one that would make rivals clench their fists. They have youth, though, including the likes of Derrick White, Dejounte Murray, and Jakob Poeltl. The 2021-22 NBA season will reveal a lot about whether holding on to those guys is worth it.