So Tim C. took a good look at Small Forward's that the Spurs might draft, keep or sign a week or so ago. I wanted to go a little more in depth and a take a look at the free agents that will be available or might be available. The Spurs are going to be limited in their ability to get top level FA's, so I will take a look at some of the folks that the Spurs might be interested in getting as well as guys they realistically have a chance to go get.. I'll toss in a possible a pipe dream or two.
LeBron, you want to play for the MLE? No?
So, let me start by saying that the Spurs are clearly not going to get LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh or any other huge "super" star. The bottom line is the Spurs can't afford any of those guys and I don't see any kind of sign and trade going down for one of those headliners. I believe the Spurs will stick with the core they've built and try to add some pieces to help improve the roll players. Also, I'm going to assume for the rest of this little write up that the Spurs will not get Tiago Splitter. If the Spurs get Splitter obviously the needs will change, they will also change after the draft, but for now, we'll just take a look at what's out there for the taking.
Free Agents - Guards
- Ray Allen - unrestricted - He's old, but he's the kind of old that helps you win. I don't really like Ray-Ray as a person, but the guy can ball and he would clearly help the Spurs shooting problems. Probably out of the Spurs price range.
- Anthony Morrow - restricted - He's young, and can shoot lights out (45% from 3 last year). He would also be fairly cheap, he has a 1 million dollar qualifying offer. He's a good rebounder at the 2 spot and hustles on defense. This guy would be a great under the radar guy to pick up for some offense off bench.
- J.J. Redick - restricted - I hate Duke and therefore Redick, but I have to say that Redick has really picked up his game of late. I think he will probably cost to much for the Spurs, but he's a hustle guy who can shoot lights out.
- Ronnie Brewer - restricted - This guy can defend. I'm not sure he can shoot well enough to pay what he'll want and he will probably cost more than the Spurs will want to pay, but he would be a nice defender and at 6-7 is tall enough to guard the 2 and 3 positions.
- Steve Blake - unrestricted - He'd be a nice backup PG. He can shoot really well from 3, but is really bad inside the arc. He shot around 40% inside the arc last year. I'd probably rather have Garrett Temple run the back up PG spot.
A 6-5 SG who shoots 45% from downtown for a million bucks? Yes, please.
Free Agents - Small Forwards
- Richard Jefferson - player option - If he opts out the Spurs probably will not be able to afford him and it might cost them their MLE. My opinion is, unless the Spurs can workout a sign and trade or a trade with his current contract, they aren't going to be able to afford a better SF.
- Travis Outlaw - unrestricted - Rudy Gay would be great, but he's going to cost way to much. Outlaw probably will too, but I can dream right? Outlaw is 6-9 and 25. He's athletic and can shoot and plays decent defense. Yeah, he's going to cost to much.
- Linas Kleiza - restricted - He's making 6 million a year in Greece, but it might be worth coming back before the CBA expires and getting a long term deal. He's 25 and can shoot. Defense is not his specialty. Denver has his rights. He might demand more than the Spurs would want to pay.
- Matt Barnes - player option - Barnes is a defender. He can shoot ok, but he'd be brought here to defend and rebound. I like Barnes and his intensity. I'd rather have him than Jefferson if RJ continues to be nothing more than a rebounding SF.
Mike Miller - unrestricted - The man can shoot, if he will shoot. He didn't have a good year in DC. He's often considered a SG and can play either spot. He's not a defensive stopper, but he hustles at least when I've seen him. I'm not sure he'd be what the Spurs need, but it'd be nice to see him shooting for the good guys. All of this goes for Kyle Korver as well.
- Dorell Wright - unrestricted - This guy is under radar. He's a defensive guy who can shoot the three fairly well and he's done in Miami. Sound familiar? I know very little about this guy, but if he's as good at defense and 3-point shooting as I've read he might be the bargain defender we've been looking for at the SF position.
No, don't dunk! Pop won't want you if you dunk!
Free Agents - Power Forwards and Centers
Luis Scola - restricted - I can't see Houston letting him get away for a mere 4.1 million. It'd be great for the Spurs to get him cheap if they don't land Splitter, but I can't see that happening. David Lee and several other PF/C fall into this category of "it'd be nice, but not gonna happen".
Udonis Haslem - unrestricted - Undersized, but a better version of DeJuan Blair. I like Haslem, but I don't think he would fit the needs of this team. I'd rather see the Spurs spend money else where unless they can pick him up for really really cheap.
- Ian Mahinmi - unrestricted - I'm not going to lie, I'd like to see what Yawn can do with regular playing time with good players (see: Manu Ginobili and George Hill). I can just see him going to the Knicks or the Heat and tearing it up for 1 or 2 million a year. I'd love to see the Spurs get the benefit of all the time they've put into Ian, but only at a good price.
Amir Johnson - unrestricted - This is the big man that seems to be under the radar (I know I've beaten that phrase to death, I'm sorry...sorta). He's played in Toronto and is a defensive and rebounding specialist. Very young, at 22, and since he's limited offensively he might come at a discount. I think if the Spurs lose Mahinmi, this guy might be what they need. This is who I'd want for us to bring in. Got loads of potential and has the motor and desire for defense.
- Brad Miller - unrestricted - He's old. He's a guy that can give you a lot of what Antonio McDyess already does. He'd rebound better than Bonner and still spread the floor to some degree. He's not the defender he once was, but if you can get him cheap, he'd be a nice big man off the bench.
- Matt Bonner - unrestricted - Here he is. You knew he was going to have to be on the list at some point. Bonner is a shooter in a big man's body. He's not a great rebounder and struggles on defense, but he hustles and is the type of quality guy that we all love. If he comes back it'll have to be at the right price, aka very cheap. Channing Frye is Bonner light. Yes he hit some shots against us, but has done nothing else the rest of the playoffs. I'd rather have Bonner.
Amir Johnson, I'd love to see some of that for the Silver and Black
As you can see, there are guys out there who the Spurs could use. Not everybody is going to get a max contract and if the Spurs front office is on top of things, as I'm sure they will be, there are plenty of good "cheap" players out there to be had. Here are three guys that I am really interested in:
- Anthony Morrow - His shooting and hustle really appeal to me. The Spurs need shooters and with a guy that young there is lots of room for improvement and he shouldn't cost that much. Of course the Warriors might like him and match whatever is offered, but young shooters are always welcome.
- Dorell Wright - He wouldn't be my first pick of SF's, but if he comes cheap and hungry it might be worth the risk. He is considered a plus defender and a good shooter, both of which the Spurs need at the SF spot.
- Amir Johnson - Yeah, he's limited offensively, but would the Spurs really need a lot of offense out of him? I think not. If he could come in and be that big man defensive guy and be a force on the boards that would keep the Spurs from missing Splitter to much. He's also very very young.
With a good draft and some smart FA moves this Spurs team could be poised to some serious damage next year. It should be an interesting free agent season if nothing else. Let's just hope that while all the big names are moving and getting the press, the Spurs are busy loading up talent that can help the Big 3 get things back to the level we've come to accustomed to.