Spurs 'Dark-Horse' Contender For Donovan Mitchell Trade?

The San Antonio Spurs played out the 2021-22 season in part of a transitional period for the roster. Despite finishing with a 34-48 record and losing in the NBA play-in tournament, Dejounte Murray emerged as an All-Star, and Keldon Johnson showed progression. More starpower is needed, though.

It’s challenging to recruit top free agents to come to a smaller market like San Antonio. Traditionally, the top talents in the market have been acquired via the NBA Draft before developing into a top talent.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs appear to be well suited to pull off a big trade to acquire an intriguing star if they seek to pair one with Murray. Much of those moves are dependent on what the market has available. With the Utah Jazz coming up short again, could Donovan Mitchell be an option?

NBA Analysis Network identified two dark-horse contenders to trade for Mitchell with the Spurs being among them. With the intent being to acquire him to pair with Murray, San Antonio would need to get creative with putting together a potential trade offer.

The Jazz came up short in the playoffs yet again after losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. With Luka Doncic missing the initial three games of the series, it was particularly concerning that Dallas managed to hold a 2-1 lead through three games. It’s become clear, that change is needed in Utah.

It does help the Spurs’ outlook for a Mitchell trade by having the No. 9 overall odds for the top pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Going the route of using players like Doug McDermott and Josh Richardson for salary matching purposes and parting with a pick-heavy package could be appealing if the Jazz were to seek to undergo a rebuild. 

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

If the Jazz were to seek more of a win-now type of return, the Spurs could part with Keldon Johnson along with McDermott, Richardson, and some draft compensation to put together an enticing package. 

The Spurs would need to determine how competitive they project themselves being in an improving Western Conference after acquiring Mitchell. A Murray-Mitchell backcourt is enticing, but they’d likely still need to get to work adding more talent around them to be title threats. 

Regardless of what the Spurs do, they at least have the long-term upside of Devin Vassell to continue to tap into. Murray and Johnson also made plenty of strides in their development, too. The supporting cast around a potential superstar acquisition could continue to come into form by being patient.