After LeBron decided to return to Cleveland, the off-season picked up the pace. There have been a bunch of signings since last Friday afternoon, and at this point there are not a lot of notable free agents available outside of Kevin Love. The Spurs, meanwhile, tried to lure Pau Gasol but failed and signed Matt Bonner in what might end up being their last move of the summer. Let's take a look at where San Antonio stands today and see if there are still moves to be made.
Depth chart and roster analysis
PG: Parker - Mills - Joseph - Cotton (not guaranteed)
SG: Green - Ginobili - Belinelli
SF: Leonard - Anderson
PF: Duncan - Diaw - Bonner - Daye
C: Splitter - Ayres
The whole core is back along with almost all of the supporting cast. Aron Baynes remains unsigned but because the Spurs are so far under the tax line, they can keep that qualifying offer out there, making him a free agent. Knowing the way the Spurs operate, they will immediately withdraw it if they believe it's hurting Bangers' ability to get an offer. But if the idea is to simply let Baynes figure out his value in the open market and see if it makes sense to bring him back, the Spurs should be able to do that.
The back-up small forward slot is still waiting for someone to seize the reins but Green and Ginobili played there a lot last season and if Leonard remains healthy there won't be much time up for grabs. The center rotation also looks a bit thin, but both Splitter and Duncan spend time there. The back-up power forward spot is actually more worrisome.
Are the Spurs done for the summer?
I mentioned in the past and still believe the Spurs might be better off simply not using the MLE at all or only using part of it to sign a player to a small, short-term contract instead of overpaying for a role player they might not even end up needing. I think the front office might agree with that position, which is why we are not seeing much news about the Spurs pursuing free agents once most of their targets signed elsewhere.
And yet we can't rule out the team making additional moves because the Spurs are in a pretty unique position. They have both the mid-level exception and the bi-annual exception at their disposal and they are nowhere near the luxury tax line, unlike most contenders. They don't have many roster spots open but they could create them easily. And while there is no pressing need, they could stand to add a combo forward or a big that can play both the power forward and center positions.
The big names are either off the market (Pau Gasol, Trevor Ariza) or out of the Spurs' price range (Greg Monroe) but there are still some intriguing options out there. Any player that isn't signed by now has some flaws, but in the right environment they could thrive. So let's go over some names:
Potential free agents
Fixing Aminu's shot could be impossible even for shooting guru Chip Engelland. But he has the size to play the two forward spots, is still young at only 23 and rebounds like a big man. Lineups that include Diaw or Bonner need all the help they can get in the rebounding department and Aminu would provide that. If he's willing to sign for a portion of the MLE and understands that he will have to earn his minutes, he could be a very interesting addition that could shore up a weakness now and evolve into a role player for the future.
Marion is still as versatile on the defensive end as he ever was even if his athleticism has dwindled. He can guard virtually every position, hit open threes and rebound well. Marion might be looking for a starting role or one last big paycheck. If that's the case, he makes no sense on the Spurs. But if he's willing to play power forward for long stretches and sign a reasonable contract, it would be a great fit.
Casspi looked like he was headed for a steady career as a starter on his rookie season with the Kings. But his game stagnated on his sophomore season and after being traded to the Cavs for J.J. Hickson, things were never the same. For the past three years he has been a fringe player. But if he can regain his shooting touch and the energy with which he played in those first two seasons, he could be a good low-profile signing.
Johnson is living proof of how wrong the eye-test can go. He certainly looks the part of a NBA player and his shot is pretty, but he has been a gigantic disappointment so far in his career. There might be some role-player potential still there and he seemed willing to play power forward for Mike D'Antoni's Lakers, so for close to the minimum it wouldn't be a bad gamble to see if he can finally find some consistency.
Vesely has been an even bigger disappointment than Johnson, has limited range and is a very timid offensive player. But he is a decent rebounder and an incredibly disruptive defender. At 24, he might still have time to learn the basics of team defense and become a decent role player.
Davis is 25 years old, an athletic 6-foot-10 and moves fluidly. It's a mystery why he is still out there, even if his production has been very inconsistent in his four years in the league. What has harmed him more than anything is his inability to hit mid-range jumpers with any regularity but he is a great rim protector and finisher. That decent coaches like Dwayne Casey, Lionel Hollins and Dave Joerger haven't trusted him is a red flag but he could end up being a steal in the right situation.
Seraphin is a restricted free agent and it's possible the Wizards will match the type of small offer sheet the Spurs would sign him to if they were interested. And he's not exactly a perfect fit, as he tends to be a bit of a black hole in the post and is not a particularly great defender. But he is just 24 and has some moves on the block. He has the physical tools to be a decent defender and he could get there with some effort and patience.
Boozer was just amnestied by the Bulls after failing to live up to the max contract he signed in 2010. Putting up numbers has never been a problem for him but his defensive shortcomings were too glaring for coach Tom Thibodeau. The problem with Boozer is he was being paid too much, but as a third or fourth big on the cheap, his ability to rebound and score on mid-range jumpers would help any team. He might not clear amnesty waivers but if he does most contenders will give him a call.
No one knows how Okafor will look after missing a year to a neck injury. He's also 31 years old already and pretty much limited to the center position. But he could likely be had on the cheap and if he regains his past form, he could be a great get that would allow the Spurs to rest Duncan without ever lacking a defensive anchor on the court.
Udoh was an analytics darling, the biggest threat to Matt Bonner's reign as plus/minus king when he was playing a small role in Golden State. But everything unraveled once he was traded to the Bucks, where he couldn't crack the rotation on a really crowded front court. He's not a productive rebounder but can move his feet and block shots, so he could be an asset on defense. Offensively, finding a role for him could be challenging but for cheap, he could be an option.
So what do you think, Pounders? Should the Spurs stick with what they have or shop for an upgrade?