The Spurs re-signed Patty Mills, but there is no news on Boris or other free agents. So here are some scattered thoughts about the current off-season.
Davis Bertans leaves Partizan
Spurs' second round stash prospect Davis Bertans has agreed to terms with his former team Partizan Belgrade to part ways. Partizan is having a tough time financially and won't be playing Euroleague basketball next season, so an exodus was expected. Bogdan Bogdanovic is drawing serious interest from Euroleague power house CSKA Moscow as well as Turkish team Fenerbache. And Bertans was pursued by Turkish Euroleague team Galatasaray before his buyout scared them away.
Fortunately for Bertans, he seems to have gotten out of a contract with an insolvent team for the second time in his young career after leaving Union Olimpija on similar terms. Now he will be able to sign with whomever he wants, and there will be plenty of suitors for such a unique young talent. But don't expect the Spurs to be one of them. Not yet, at least.
Bertans came back late this past season from an ACL injury that kept him out for months. He is too skinny to play power forward and needs work on his handle and defense if he is going to play on the perimeter full time. The Spurs could bring him in for training camp and waive him in time to have him assigned to the Toros. But a D-League salary won't likely be competitive with what he can earn across the pond. And with so many roster spots already filled with players that know the system, it's hard to see Bertans cracking the rotation in his first season. It benefits both the team and the player that he stay at least one more year abroad.
What will be interesting to monitor is who signs him and what his buyout situation ends up being. Ideally, he will sign with a Euroleague team for a medium sized salary and buyout. If he's perceived as unproven, that's the best he would get. But Bertans has serious breakout potential due to his shooting and if someone sees that, he could be locked into a long contract with a sizable buyout, which could delay his transition to the NBA.
It will be very interesting to see how things develop.
Is the market for Diaw cooling off or heating up?
There were a handful of teams in the market for big men, but those roster spots are filling quickly. The Blazers signed Chris Kaman and the Clippers, Spencer Hawes. The Mavs traded for Tyson Chandler and the Pelicans for Omer Asik. Washington brought back Marcin Gortat and the Raptors re-signed Patrick Patterson. No rebuilding team could possibly want BoBo after the Bobcats fiasco. That doesn't leave many viable options for more than the MLE.
So the teams for which Boris Diaw might have been an option are moving on. The bad news? There are still a handful of good teams with cap room that could consider Diaw to be a great plan B.
If Carmelo goes back to the Knicks and the Miami Big Three stay put, Diaw suddenly makes a ton of sense for the Rockets. They would have to get rid of Jeremy Lin to make room, but Diaw's playmaking makes a point guard swap less risky. And with Parsons surely earning himself a huge raise, this might be the last chance the Rockets get to make a splash in free agency for a while. Diaw is not the big name Morey seems to be chasing, but he's a good player that would make them better. So they could break the bank for him if their preferred options become unavailable.
As bad as it feels to imagine BoBo in Houston, the nightmare scenario involves Diaw going to the Heat. Wade, James, Diaw and Bosh in the same lineup would be virtually unguardable. Diaw can operate in the post when James is out and simply keep the ball moving when he is in. Instead of always blitzing, they could switch picks, which could help them conserve energy. If his outside shot continues to fall, traditional centers would have no one to guard. Diaw is exactly the type of player that would fit well with Miami's Big Three, masking their weaknesses and highlighting their strengths.
Fortunately for the Spurs, they have his good friend Tony Parker under contract and Diaw seems to truly enjoy playing for this team. So it would take a really outrageous offer for him to leave. Having said that, I would feel better if the two parties came to an agreement sooner rather than later. The fact that there is no news yet is a bit unnerving, even if the Spurs tend to be cautious before tending an offer.
Joel Embiid is hilarious
Finally, the third pick of the draft is having some fun as he rehabs his foot by "recruiting" LeBron James to play for the Sixers.
@KingJames hey bro hope you're having a good day...... Want to join us in philly?? Peace— Joel-Hans Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) julio 1, 2014
I hope i'm not gonna get fined already with those Lebron's tweets is it legal to recruit over twitter @NBA ?— Joel-Hans Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) julio 3, 2014
If yall want to laugh, just picture me saying what I said to bron for those who know the way I talk ( my accent )— Joel-Hans Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) julio 3, 2014
Day 3: still no answers............— Joel-Hans Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) julio 4, 2014
He probably DM'd me but I dont read my DMs so I'm gonna go ahead and block him pic.twitter.com/PunjHSiQRI— Joel-Hans Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) julio 4, 2014
Y'all gotta stop mentioning him..... he doesnt have to see that LOL— Joel-Hans Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) julio 4, 2014
And just like, the recruitment is over— Joel-Hans Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) julio 4, 2014
What's Mr Rich Paul's twitter account? That might be his agent. Whoever finds it, gets a hug. I need to holla at him (idk if that's English)— Joel-Hans Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) julio 4, 2014
Pop always says that sense of humor is essential for success. And Embiid seems to have one and looks to be over himself. Too bad he's not a Spur.
The Orlando Summer League kicks off on Saturday
The Spurs will play in the Las Vegas Summer League and not in Orlando. But the event will be the first NBA-related basketball to be played in weeks and it will give us a preview on exciting rookies like Aaron Gordon, Marcus Smartand Elfrid Payton. Nerlens Noel, the sixth pick from the 2013 draft that has yet to suit up for the Sixers, will be there. So will a number of second year players, like Steven Adams and Victor Oladipo, and veterans like our old friend Roger Mason, Jr.
If you are looking for a more Spurs-centric angle, three players that will represent the Silver and Black in Vegas will be there: DaJuan Summers (Nets), Melvin Ejim (76ers) and Nobel Boungo-Colo (Heat). Former Spur Damion James (Pistons) will be there, as will last year's summer league invitee Hollis Thompson (76ers). And Davis Bertans' brother, Dairis Bertans will be playing for the Celtics. From what I saw in last summer's Eurobasket, that guy is very entertaining.
So if you are bored, there will be basketball played on League Pass.