Free agency kicked off Tuesday night at 11:01 SPURS time. At this point, all they can do is talk and make offers. No contracts can be signed. Here's my rundown of the situation. What we have? What we can spend? Who we want?
What do we have?
With Michael Finley exercising his player option, we have upped our current roster to 10.
- Tim Duncan
- Ian Mahinmi
- Matt Bonner
- Richard Jefferson
- Marcus Williams (unguaranteed)
- Manu Ginobili
- Michael Finley
- Roger Mason
- Tony Parker
- George Hill
We also have our draft picks and old draft picks. None of those guys, however, are signed to contracts and should be considered iffy.
What Can We Spend?
My trusty bean counter at Sham Sports tells me that the salaries for the above 10 players comes to $72,054,727. We are WAY over the salary cap area and almost assuredly over the luxury tax already. While the numbers won't be official until about a week from now, last year's luxury tax was in the $71 million range and it is expected to go down.
What does that mean? Well, it means we are limited to using the mid-level exception, the biannual exception, and the veteran minimum to sign guys. The mid-level exception is about $5.5 million (again, the number won't be official until the next week), the biannual dohickey was $1.9 million last year, and the veteran minimum was $1.2 million.
What can I take from this? We can sign one decent to good player for the $5.5 million. Then we can sign as many scrubs as we can find for the minimum. OR, we can spend the $5.5 million on two OK players. Then sign as many scrubs as we can find.
Who Do We Want?
Well, 'who' is really dictated by 'what'. What we need are big men. And more than one. If you look at the guys I listed on the roster, you'll see that we have 3 -- yes, 3 -- big men. We normally carry 5-6 big men. In 2008, we have Tim, Horry, Bonner, Fab, KT, and Ian. Last year, we had Tim, Bonner, Fab, KT, Drew, and Ian. Right now, we have Tim, Bonner, Ian. That won't fly. We need three bigs. One or two will come from the draft guys though, so we'll probably target just one big man in free agency. The free agent list is LONG. Peruse at your leisure.
What Bigs Will We Get?
That $5.5 million MLE is going to the best big the Spurs can attract. I think #1 on their list will be Rasheed Wallace. He fits EVERYTHING the Spurs like in a big man next to Tim. 1) He can shoot the three. 2) He's a solid defensive player. 3) He has a very high basketball IQ. 4) He's old as dirt. Do you guys realize that Tim is the second oldest player on our roster and Manu is the third? Pop isn't going to let that fly.
If we can't snag Rasheed, I'm not sure where we go. I give the thumbs down to McDyess. I think he has less in the tank than Rasheed. Gortat seems like a guy who will be overpaid. Rasho wasn't that good when we traded him 3 years ago. Birdman...please.
I'm firmly on the Sheed bandwagon, but I think McDyess might be the next best fit. Don't discount Drew Gooden. I could see the Spurs going with him if they could get him on the cheap. A combo of Pachulia and Gooden might be interesting.
What About the Non-Bigs?
I want Bruce back. I think Bruce, at the veteran minimum, as the back up small forward would be fantastic. We don't really need another guard. Tony, Roger, Manu, George, and FinDog (FinDog is more of a SG than a SF) should be more than adequate. I think with the emergence of George, and Roger's and Manu's ability to run the point in a pinch, we don't need the Jacque Vaughn veteran-savvy third point guard this year. With the addition of Jefferson, there is no way we are spending any money at the small forward position and whoever we bring in will have to be dirt cheap.
Unless the Spurs pull off another trade, I really don't see us doing much in free agency besided chasing a big man and signing a few guys for the minimum. I'll bet those minimum guys are familiar faces.
Odds and Ends
- The Pistons have a TON of cap space. Do you think they'll sign Artest? Please, pretty please.
- What's up with Allen Iverson? I haven't heard anything. Nothing. Zero. About anybody being interested in him.
- Jerome James is available. I think Tim would like it if we signed him.
- Several former Spurs big men are available: Rasho, Malik, Sean Marks, Francisco, Melvin Ely
- Anybody heard anything about Shawn Marion going somewhere? Me neither.
- Do you remember how the Suns fans were all stoked about the signing of Matt Barnes? They can't wait for him to get out of town now.
- Chris Wilcox is a free agent. If the Spurs are looking for a talented guy who needs a fresh start, he might be the man. He'd be cheap.
- Hmmmm, what about Joe Smith?
- Or Anderson Varejao? Hold it he's now #2 on my list ahead of McDyess. I forgot about him.