NBA

Spurs trade Josh Richardson to New Orleans for Devonte’ Graham and multiple draft picks

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In the last hours of the deadline, the Pelicans have completed a trade that sends Devonte’ Graham and four second-round draft choices to San Antonio in exchange for Josh Richardson.

Where’s the catch? Richardson has an expiring contract while Graham, who was not a regular this season in Louisiana, still had two more years remaining on his contract at about $12 million per year. As both are experienced players, the transfer of these guards allows future financial flexibility for New Orleans.

Let’s get to know Richardson better. The shooting guard, who’s in his eighth NBA season out of Tennessee, has played for the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, and finally, the San Antonio Spurs for the past six months.

You could say it’s been hard for the 29-year-old to stay put and enjoy some stability in a single franchise, as he’s used to being a trade asset for the NBA market. Richardson has largely come off the bench for San Antonio this season and has averaged 11.5 points in about 23.7 minutes per game.

As New Orleans have a number of players competing for time at shooting guard, their new signing will have to prove he’s the man for the job as he’s been dropping 43.6% of his field goal attempts, 35.7% efficiency beyond the arc, and 88.3% of his free throw shots.

One of his best recent performances for San Antonio was just this past February 1st, as he led the Spurs’ offense in a defeat against Sacramento with 19 points to his name, and added 8 rebounds and three assists in only 29 minutes.

Check out his highlights from last week’s game for the Spurs:

When All-Star forward Zion Williamson has been healthy and playing front court, usually swing players such as young Trey Murphy III and Brandon Ingram take the spot as shooting guards. Ideally, the rest of their starting squad are completed with forward Herb Jones and center Jonas Valanciunas.

Another New Orleans player who’s been positioned as a scoring guard is Dyson Daniels, who was the first round pick of last summer’s NBA draft. The 19-year-old still has ways to go, although he was playing regularly and even at times as a starter before he injured his ankle. Pelicans starting point guard CJ McCollum’s most natural position is as a sharpshooter, so he can also rotate towards this role.

As for Graham, the Pelicans initially acquired the 27-year-old in a sign-and-trade with the Hornets during the 2021 offseason, with the expectation that he would be increase their shot efficiency from long range. During his first season in New Orleans the point guard averaged about 28 minutes on the court in New Orleans, but this last campaign his play time has cut down almost in half, averaging 15.3 minutes per contest.

Although Graham’s outside shooting could potentially help San Antonio, he is just averaging 5.3 points per game this season, he’s been hitting 34.7% from three-point range.

As strange as it may sound, Graham just achieved a season-best 21-point game on 6 of 11 3-point shooting in the 129-110 win over the Spurs a couple of months ago. And now he’s set to join his third NBA squad after being selected in the second round by the Atlanta Hawks in 2018.

Besides adding the point guard, the Spurs are also recieving 2024, 2026, 2028, and 2029 second-round picks.