With Western Conference rivals beefing up their respective rosters, a lot of Spurnatics have called for PATFO to sign or trade for big name free agents like Igoudala, Smith, and Kirilenko, coupled by the never-ending calls to amnesty Bonner, which will never happen (Pop thinks that it is lucky to have a red hair on his roster). While we understand that any of these three guys would certainly improve our chances this coming season, the unlikelihood and the steep price it would take to acquire any one of them is something that PATFO ought to, and by the looks of it, may actually consider. In this piece, I will try to make a case for a far less popular choice and option - Omri Casspi.
Way back in the 2009 NBA Rookie Draft, Omri Casspi was among the draft prospects being eyed by the Spurs before Sacramento snagged him with the 23rd overall pick. Four seasons later, two in Sacramento and two in Cleveland, the once heralded rookie out of Israel has seen his team role, contribution, and performance regress year after year. His last season saw him riding the bench of a team that won only 24 games. As expected, Cleveland did not extend him a qualifying offer, which automatically made him an unrestricted free agent.
Casspi's gradual dip in performance, highlighted (or shall we say lowlighted) by his worst season to date, makes for one thing that will suit well to PATFO's liking... he will definitely be cheap! PATFO is best known for recycling other teams' trash and turn them into gems (Do Danny Green and Boris Diaw ring a bell?). At six-foot nine (6'9") and 225 lbs, with a respectable perimeter game, defense, and athletic ability, Casspi could be another prized find and is certainly a player PATFO needs to set their eyes on again over the remainder of this free agency period.
With the recent signing of shooting guard Marco Belinelli, the Spurs have addressed the need for an able backup for Danny Green and Manu Ginobili (especially when he's not playing like Manu). The addition of Casspi would then beef up our small forward depth and should provide the team with more flexibility in an evolving small-ball-driven league. If Green's light turns yellow or red, as was the case in the last 2 games of the finals, Kawhi could slide up to shooting guard (assuming he continues to improve his handle, passing, and dribble penetration skills) while Casspi takes the small forward position, which should give us size advantage for most teams without giving up speed and athleticism.
Of course, all of which largely hinges on our coaching and training staff's ability to develop and/or redevelop talents. Casspi's regression and unrealized potential could largely be attributed to the fact that he was playing for poor and less-organized teams. Should he keep a good mindset and determination to rejuvenate his career the way Danny Green did, then he won't be the first gem we dug out from the dumps of Cleveland. If history is any indication, then perhaps this isn't a bad idea after all. Another international player for the NBA's United Nations team couldn't be a bad idea.
For a little insight as to how he might fare against super athletic teams like Miami, feel free to view the links provided below.
Hereunder is a clip of his 20-point game against Miami when he was still with Sacramento... you may notice that he prefers to go right... but who cares? Even LeBron was accused of not having a move to the left, anyway.
And hereunder is the boxscore of a 2-point loss to Miami last November... a game when Irving didn't play.