Could these two play together in a different uniform soon?
As has been the case for quite a few years running, the Spurs have a large cache of international players they hold the rights to. And, as has also been the case for several years, the Spurs do not have cap space to work with in free agent signings, so they may have to turn to the foreign markets to bring in additional help this offseason.
With free agency starting tomorrow, let's go over some of the options.
Draft Rights Held
Let's start with players the Spurs already have the rights to, and we'll go from there.
* indicates a 2012 free agent
Excellent scoring power forward, recently earned ACB Finals MVP honors. Can shoot the 3, midrange, baseline jumpers, and score in the post. Good passer. Rebounding and defense leave something to be desired. Allegedly, he's going to be receiving a big offer from reigning Euroleague champs CSKA Moscow, which makes it tougher for the Spurs to get him. The Spurs also face a decision on whether to try to keep Diaw, which would likely make Lorbek's signing impossible.
Chance of joining the Spurs: 60%
Nando De Colo*
Great ball handler and passer at the combo guard position(unlikely to play point in NBA). May be mistaken for a poor man's Ginobili on offense. Shooting should improve in Spurs' offense, but defense leaves a lot to be desired. Reports out of Spain have consistently said he's very likely to be a Spur next season, but with so many guards already in the fold, I'm not so sure.
Chance of joining the Spurs: 60%
Skinny combo forward with a knack for rebounding. Averaged a double-double in Italian league last season. Bears a slight resemblance to Tim Roth. Limited range, may not possess enough size/strength to defend NBA post players.
Chance of joining the Spurs: 30%
Quick, athletic shooting guard with good size. Best when playing above the rim. Excels at disrupting passing lanes. Poor shooter in first ACB season, but looked much better over final month. Dark-horse candidate to be bought out and join the team this summer.
Chance of joining the Spurs: 15%
Total Enigma. Quick, athletic 7-footer with ball-handling and shooting skills. Hasn't played against elite competition, and switched teams several times in the last year. If he's still more willing to play in Austin than in Europe, his chances of being in training camp this fall will skyrocket.
Chance of joing the Spurs: 15%
Tall, skinny combo forward(would have to play the 3 in NBA). Excellent shooter. Needs on basically everything except spot-up shooting skills. Is very young, and needs more time to develop. At 19, has plenty of time, and Spurs appear committed to his development.
Chance of joining the Spurs: 5%
I'm not listing any others because I don't think the rest of the guys whose rights the Spurs hold have a realistic shot of ever making the team.
So there are plenty of good players curently overseas, some of whom signed during the lockout. Here's 3 of the top players they might have interest in.
AK47 was the best player in Euroleague this season, leading CSKA Moscow to the title. At this point of his career, he's more of a 4 than a 3, but he's a very good 4. He might cross the pond again, but it'll probably take more cash than the Spurs can offer.
This New Orleans native is also a national hero in Macedonia, after leading that country to a strong showing at Eurobasket last year. He's an incredible shooter, scorer and ball-handler, and would be a great fit with the Spurs' second unit.
Malik Hairston (free agent)
Malik is the best former Spur currently playing in Europe, and led Milan in scoring* this season. The team had a poor showing in Euroleague, and may look to shake things up again in the offseason. Hairston is a good buyout candidate, but he doesn't really address a need for the Spurs, and he may be signing an extension soon.
* = not counting Danilo Gallinari's lockout stint with the team
There's tons of other guys I could list here, but I'll hold off writing about them until I see them in summer league or being signed by the team.