The San Antonio Spurs are looking towards next season after their first absence from the NBA playoffs since 1997. Right now, that future appears to include star players LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan. However, the roster may have looked quite different if Spurs trade rumors involving the Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo ended up coming to fruition.
Spurs Trade Rumors Suggest Heat Deal Involving All-Stars
A new report popped up on Tuesday which involves Spurs trade rumors centered on current Miami Heat All-Star Bam Adebayo. The 6-foot-9 power forward and center was the No. 14 pick back in 2017 and nearly sent to San Antonio in a blockbuster deal in 2018. The Heat wanted to acquire NBA champion and Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard from San Antonio, with Badebayo amongst the potential players in the deal.
The rumors first arrived from a report on Twitter from Five Reasons Sports Network which is a Miami Sports on Demand network. They indicated that the Spurs were the only team that had any shot at successfully trading for Adebayo. However, it involved a trade focused on Kawhi Leonard. That means the Heat would have needed more in their deal than just Adebayo.
Five Reasons Sports Network also indicated that at the time, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Tom Thibodeau was interested in a deal for his All-Star Jimmy Butler. That was due to Butler requesting a trade due to unhappiness playing in Minnesota. Butler ended up staying with the Timberwolves, albeit briefly and was traded early in the 2018-19 season to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Ultimately, the Toronto Raptors ended up getting enough together for a trade to the San Antonio Spurs. That deal is what brought DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio and sent Kawhi to Toronto, where Leonard helped the Raptors capture their first NBA Championship in 2019.
Adebayo Flourishing in Miami, DeRozan’s San Antonio Future Uncertain
Miami’s Bam Adebayo just became an All-Star this past season for the first time in his career. He’s currently part of the Miami Heat’s playoff run which looks successful early on. After a 115-104 win on Monday night, they’re up 1-0 on the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The former Kentucky star finished second in voting for Most Improved Player this past season to New Orleans’ Brandon Ingram. Adebayo averaged 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 5.1 assists for the season.
Interestingly, Bam tried out for Team USA but was cut ahead of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich previously spoke about Adebayo not being the same player now that he was during the original tryout. Popovich noted it may have been Adebayo deferring to the other players he was around rather than showing all he really could bring to the team.
DeMar DeRozan hasn’t played poorly in San Antonio and is amongst their star veterans along with big man LaMarcus Aldrige. In just two seasons with the Spurs, DeRozan has averaged 21.6 points, 5.9 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Those numbers are higher than his averages over nine seasons in Toronto. However, DeRozan began as a rookie and didn’t average more than 20 points until his fifth season when he became an All-Star.
That said, DeRozan’s player option is a topic of conversation when it comes to the Spurs’ future. Should he opt out, he can explore free agency. Should he go with his player option, there’s also the possibility of Spurs trade rumors.
There is a small bit of speculation involving a Miami Heat deal, due to DeRozan being close with Jimmy Butler. However, it appears Bam Adebayo would probably be out of any discussions.