So we've had a post already going over the series and how if a thing or two had been different the Spurs would have been in it (Of course every series is like that). We've already gotten an off-season things the Spurs need to do thread. And we've had several fan posts with opinions both good and bad, not that I'm judging...oh, yes I am, sorry 'bout that. I know we will have countless hours, days and weeks to throw around theories of what should and should not be done by the Spurs in order to improve, but I thought I'd throw out some thoughts on the matter.
Not worth $15 million, but better than nothing at the SF spot.
Firstly, let me say that you folks wanting Richard Jefferson to opt out of his contract need to slow your roll. I'm not some huge RJ fan wanting him to stay here. That being said, if he opts out of his contract and we re-sign none of our free agents our cap situation is still awful, worse in fact. RJ is owed $15.2 million. The estimated cap is going to be around $58 million next year, or possibly lower. The Spurs are locked into $69 million next year assuming RJ keeps his 15.2 million. If he opts out the Spurs will be sitting at 4 million under the cap with only 9 players. A team does not get a MLE if it's under the cap, so that's less money to offer Splitter and then very little money to do anything else with. My point is that RJ is going to be expensive to be sure, and I'd love to see a sign and trade or just a trade with RJ in it, but him opting out is not going to help the Spurs. Find out about the Spurs cap here at Sham Sports.
So what do the Spurs need to do? Well, first let's get Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili healthy and rested. Then I hope to see R.C. Buford and Co. over trying to get Splitter headed this way. You can talk of getting some third rate big man (Haywood, ect.) to help clog the middle, but the upside of Splitter is much higher than any plausible free agent the Spurs might get. It's been pointed out several times on this blog that the need for a big to help Tim Duncan is very important, I agree. That's why I think that getting Splitter is the teams #1 priority this off-season.
Hopefully this is a sight we'll see soon.
So let's assume that the Spurs get their man in Splitter. What other needs do the Spurs have that they must fill. Well there are several: Shooters who can play defense, defensive stopper who can shoot, an additional big to help with depth, a SF who can help RJ (if he comes back) with defense and scoring.
That's a pretty formidable list considering the Spurs cap status. Let's take a closer look at what the Spurs have on the roster and in the farm system (that's a baseball term for guys in the minor leagues, or in this case in the D-league).
- Malik Hairston - A possible answer to defensive stopper who can shoot and play at the SF spot.
- Garrett Temple - A tweener guard with the size to match up on the smaller SF's of the world
- Alonzo Gee - A SF who can score. I don't know much about him, possible SF back up.
- Curtis Jerrells - A PG who will doubtfully be playing for the big club.
It would appear that the SF position is full of young guys who should be able to play and with Temple our backup PG situation is fine. All three of these guys can play two positions. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Spurs go with Hairston and Gee as the backup SG/SF and stick with Temple as the backup PG One thing that the Spurs could use is a SF/PF type of player in the Robert Horry / Lamar Odom.
Then there's the draft. I'm not sure what's going to be there when the Spurs draft. There's been talk of Quincy Pondexter or other SF types. Having done very little research I went over to nbadraft.net for some free draft info. They have the Spurs taking Daniel Orton, a PF freshman from Kentucky. I've seen Pondexter play and wasn't that impressed, albeit was just one game. Orton, from the little I've seen of him looks like he has loads of potential, but is very raw. Seeing how the Spurs have drafted in the past I would expect to see somebody none of us expect to see. Also, counting on a big impact from a draftee is a good way to be disappointed.
So that leaves us with the wonderful world of Free Agency. Here's a list of who's available or might be available. Some interesting names to be sure, very few of which the Spurs have a shot at. I believe the Spurs have an MLE at their disposal and do not have BAE (no BAE since they had one last year and after all it's bi-annual). Please correct me if you discover something different. So we are very limited as far as FA's go. This is where I have little to no knoweldge, re-signing our own FA's. I think bringing Matt Bonner back would be a good idea and I wouldn't be upset to see Ian Mahinmi back for a discount. I'm not sure how that effects the cap space and would be happy for somebody to explain it to me.
To summarize: I think this team is in need of a serious upgrade in big men. We have an answer for that in Splitter, if the FO can't manage to get him here, I'd love to see us get a solid big guy, who's got some years left, to help out our defense. Our one glaring need that I'm not sure can be filled by the guys we have is shooters. I'm not sure how the FO plans to address that, but it's something that I hope they take a hard look at. I think our young guys will be asked to step up and be good shooters and defenders. I think some of them will.
This team isn't done. We've got the foundation for winning basketball, it just needs some framing and wood work with a piece here and there.
Let the work begin.