You know I'm stoked about Summer League being around the corner. However, before Summer League, is free agency. And while I don't expect the Spurs to be serious players in the sweepstakes for overrated players, it is still an important time for us and it is worth taking a look at what we can expect them to do.
Who We Have Now
As of right now, we only have 7 players under contract. Tim, Tony, Manu, Ant, RJ, George, and DeJuan. James Anderson is as good as signed. That makes 8. Between now and October, we have 5 spots we have to fill (the league has a 13 player minimum). The Spurs will generally go with the full 15. Additionally, I think we all know who will be on the team.
Not A Free Agent, But...
Tiago isn't a free agent, but he gets to play like one. I think. I'm guessing his signing has to be like that of a free agent under cap rules, but I'm not sure. Let's just play like he is. He's the Spurs number one target and will get most, if not all, of the mid-level exception. Let's go ahead and call him #9.
What Does That Give Us?
Well, those nine give us the top of our rotation. We have Tim, Antonio, DeJuan, and Tiago up front. Tony, Manu, and George in the back court. RJ and James on the wing. Those are easily our five starters (or finishers) in Tim, Tony, Manu, RJ, and Antonio. Then George is our third guard. Tiago and DeJuan are the second string front court. James will give us what he can. Unless the Spurs pull off a trade, I think that is who we are going to see as our big guns for next season.
Our Free Agents
Matt Bonner, Keith Bogans, Ian Mahinmi, and Roger Mason are the guys from last year's team who are free agents. I presented them in the order that I think they are likely to be with the team. I don't see Bonner leaving. He provides something none of the other guys currently signed do. A long distance shot from the 4. He is what he is and the Spurs, if they can get it cheaply, like that commodity. I think Keith is likely to be back. He's a very solid defender and he is our only real tough guy. He's really the only guy we had last year who provided toughness. At least, toughness in the way of really getting into opposing players and pushing them around. I also think he does a great job of executing the defensive game plan. He may not be awesome, but he's very solid. And at the league minimum, you can't get better than that.
You know I love me some Ian. However, I just don't think Ian, aka Ianni, will be back in the silver and black. I think, and his comments support it, that he wants to sign where he will play. If the Spurs sign Tiago, I just don't see it happening. It will be with great sadness for me if Ian signs somewhere else. Ian's a beautiful man. Life isn't getting better when his kind are more distant.
See you Roger. I expect him to be gone. He came out mid-season and said he'd be OK with a trade if it got him more playing time. With the continued improvement of George, I just don't know where he'll get the minutes next year. Maybe, over the summer, he'll decide that he's not a big minutes player, but an opportunistic minutes player. I think it unlikely and I think he'll be somewhere else. I don't think he had a good year at all, but I do think we should give him a lot of credit for pushing through and playing with an injury that required surgery. Thanks for the big shots you did give us Roger.
So...Where Does That Leave Us?
Well, I think we'll keep our eye out for a veteran or two that we can snag at around the min or the bi-annual whatever. Once the big names sign, money might get scarce in a hurry and some real value might present itself. Therefore, I expect our free agency season to be at the end of July and on the fringes. In Tiago I Trust.
NOTE: I left out the guys who are on unguaranteed contracts. Malik, Garrett, Alonzo, and Curtis all have some possibilities.