Spurs fans have mixed reactions to San Antonio's controversial draft-night trade

The Spurs drafted Stephon 'Malibu' Castle and traded the No. 8 pick for more future draft pick.

click to enlarge About 1,000 fans gathered at The Rock at La Cantera for the Spurs 2024 NBA Draft watch party. - Meradith Garcia
Meradith Garcia
About 1,000 fans gathered at The Rock at La Cantera for the Spurs 2024 NBA Draft watch party.
The San Antonio Spurs left some fans dazed and confused Wednesday night by trading No. 8 overall NBA draft pick Rob Dillingham for a couple of picks the team won't be able to exercise until 2030 and 2031.

Many in Spurs Twittersphere lambasted the trade, saying it offers no short-term help for the team as it looks to end its five-season playoff drought. However, one Alamo City sports analyst told the Current the move is smart given the slim pickings in this year's draft.

With the No. 4 overall pick, the Spurs drafted Stephon "Malibu" Castle, a nickname that resonated with Alamo City residents who remember a beloved but long-gone go-kart race track on the city's North Side.

"Malibu Castle is back," a fan watching the NBA Draft at party at Pete's Place in Helotes blurted following the pick.

Meanwhile, Spectrum News reporter and lifelong San Antonio resident Jose Arredondo posted on social media platform X that he was "going honking in Castle Hills driving by the old Malibu Castle building" to honor the draft pick.
The pick earned a muted response at the Spurs' official watch party at The Rock at La Cantera, the team's training facility. About 1,000 people attended the free event, where it lines stretched so long it took some fans 45 minutes to get a beer.

"Not the most exciting pick, but I trust the organization, and they'll probably develop him into a great player," Spurs fan Aaron Chbeir told the Current.

The 19-year-old, 6-foot-6 University of Connecticut guard averaged 11 points and nearly three assists during his college rookie season, meaning he could contribute to the Spurs' sometimes-stagnant offense.

The night's bigger story, however, came when the Silver and Black traded No. 8 pick Rob Dillingham to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a 2031 unprotected first-round pick and a 2030 top-one protected pick swap.

An audible gasp could be heard from the crowd at The Rock after the trade was announced.

"We traded for a 12-year-old, a literal 12-year-old," AirAlamo sports blogger Tyler Glasscock said in a video posted on X that's since garnered more than 30,000 views. "We may have somehow gotten worse in this draft."
Glasscock blasted Spurs General Manager Brian Wright for the move.

"I will be married and have children by the time that pick is made," Glasscock added. "Fire Brian Wright. Unless he's on the phone with Atlanta or Cleveland getting Darius Garland or Trae Young, fire Brian Wright."

Some fans at The Rock watch party were similarly disappointed.

"It just sucks because we needed a play maker," Dylan Perez said. "[Dillingham] would've been perfect."

Meanwhile, Pete's Place in Helotes, where the Alamo City Podcast Network hosted its watch party, sports podcaster Mike Jimenez told the Current that he agreed with the Spurs' decision to trade the pick.

"The Spurs are going to need to get some free agents to come in to compliment [star Victor Wembanyama], and because of that, they had to get rid of that pick," said Jimenez, a former KENS5 news producer. "If you get a couple of first-rounders for it, then it's the right thing to do, even though it's a 6th grader and a 5th grader that we just picked up."

Jimenez added that the Spurs have four first-round picks in the next NBA Draft, which analysts expect to have a more competitive and talented roster than this year's.

"We're running out of roster spots," Jimenez said. "The idea that the Spurs are going to be able to just draft first-rounder after first-rounder is not appropriate. It's not going to happen."

Even so, with a string of disappointing seasons, a young star hungry to win and a frustrated fan base, the Spurs front office may want to consider making a major move this offseason to keep the pitchfork crowd at bay.

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Michael Karlis

Michael Karlis is a Staff Writer at the San Antonio Current. He is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., whose work has been featured in Salon, Alternet, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Orlando Weekly, NewsBreak, 420 Magazine and Mexico Travel Today. He reports primarily on breaking news, politics...

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