Report: Spurs reach deal to trade Tiago Splitter to Hawks, create cap space for LaMarcus Aldridge offer

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You know it’s a wild start to free agency when the San Antonio Spurs — a franchise normally lurking in the background — are major players.

San Antonio has reached the framework of a deal that will send center Tiago Splitter to the Atlanta Hawks, something first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The Spurs are sending out his $8.5 million will not be taking back any salary in this deal — which, along with their other moves (such as signing Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, and eventually re-signing Tim Duncan at a steep discount) will give them to cap space to offer LaMarcus Aldridge a max contract (they may or may not be able to keep Patty Mills). The Spurs were always considered the front-runner to land Aldridge (with the Lakers close, although their meeting with him may not have gone as well as they thought) and now San Antonio can offer the chance to return to his native Texas and walk right into a serious title contender.

And when Tim Duncan retires in a year, Aldridge will step into Duncan’s role in the offense.

As for the Hawks, there are moving parts here but this much becomes clear: They need to re-sign Paul Millsap. The Hawks have prioritized bringing Millsap back — he and Al Horford would make a great front court rotation — but Millsap is considering Orlando. With DeMarre Carroll choosing to play in Toronto, the Hawks need to land Millsap or they will have taken a healthy step back this summer.