SAN ANTONIO (Jan. 17, 2015) - The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have waived forward Austin Daye.
Daye, who was obtained by San Antonio on Feb. 20, 2014, appeared in 26 games for the Spurs this season, averaging 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.3 minutes.
The reason behind it is to use the roster spot to sign big man JaMychal Green, according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:
San Antoino is waiving Austin Daye, clearing the way to sign JaMychal Green to a 10-day contract, league source tells Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) enero 17, 2015
Once Kawhi Leonard returned, there really was no need for Austin Daye, who filled in as a starter for a few games at small forward. Green was drawing interest from several teams after a good season in Austin and a standout performance in the D-League showcase, so the Spurs decided to be the first to give him a shot by reportedly signing him to a ten-day contract.
Let's take a brief look at the two transactions.
Daye's NBA career might be over
Were the Spurs ever truly interested in Austin Daye, or was the trade for him simply to accommodate a disgruntled Nando De Colo? Pop joked at the time of the trade that he didn't know who Daye was and while that was obviously an attempt at humor, I have no problem believing Pop had lost the track on the former first round pick once he washed out of Detroit. Daye just could never find his place in the league -- not with the dysfunctional Pistons, the Grizzlies or the Raptors. To think that he would become a diamond in the rough just because the Spurs traded for him was naive although a few decent performances made it look possible.
This year has left no doubt that Daye is not suited to be a rotation player on a good team. Daye trails only Patty Mills on the Spurs in field goal attempts per minute, with the difference being that Mills is actually good at converting shots. Daye shot 35 percent from the field and 34 percent from beyond the arc. You can maybe live with those numbers if the player is stuffing the stat sheet but Daye was mostly a shooter and an occasional rebounder. His defense was mediocre at best and his decision-making and awareness left a lot to be desired. His saving grace was that he was long enough to snatch some boards and block a shot or two. That's enough to keep you on a roster if you are 19 and in your rookie season but not as a 25-year-old veteran. It's quite possible Daye's NBA career is over.
And yet even now he remains intriguing thanks to his combination of size and (alleged) shooting touch. If he ever gets his three-point shooting percentage into the high 30's as a volume shooter, he would make a decent stretch four. He can put the ball on the floor and with experience could use his length to his advantage on defense. I could see yet another team buying on the promise of a relatively young 6-feet-10 shooter. If no one bites now, Daye should sign with the D-League and play power forward full time somewhere until he catches the eye of a team feeling experimental.
Who knows what the future holds for him but I speak for all of Pounding the Rock and most of Spurs fans when I say that I genuinely wish him good luck.
Is JaMychal here to stay?
JaMychal Green is a good player. I'd say he's an NBA player. He just needs to find a team that will give him a legitimate chance to prove his worth. That team is not the 2014/15 Spurs. San Antonio has a set four-man rotation down low with Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter, Boris Diaw and Aron Baynes getting most of the minutes at the four and the five. After them there's Matt Bonner for when the team needs spacing and Jeff Ayres to sop up minutes in case of injury. Green would be part of that second group of situational players that will fight for the scraps.
That doesn't mean I hate the signing -- not even close. Green has a dependable mid-range jumper and the athleticism to finish inside. The guy is shooting 57.7 percent from the field!
His rebounding has been solid in Austin and he's the leader of that team, which shows the type of maturity that comes with being through multiple Summer Leagues, training camps, a D-League season and a European stint. Defensively he's not a difference-maker and probably never will be one at the NBA level because he lacks top-tier awareness but he has very good physical tools, so you never know. Overall, he's a good prospect.
What I find strange are the reports that the Spurs are signing Green to a ten-day contract. What San Antonio has done in the past with fringe players is lock them up for two years, with the second year non-guaranteed. That way they have them for next training camp and if they pan out they will have early Bird rights after the second year. It's possible the Spurs are biding their time with the two ten-day contracts they can offer Green just in case teams remain trade-crazy for the time leading up to the trade deadline -- which is 33 days away, on February 19 -- and they can find a contributor on the waiver wire.
More likely is the Spurs are just being careful. After having to waive Malcolm Thomas despite guaranteeing his contract for the year, thanks to unforeseen injury woes, they are taking their time with Green. JaMychal could be a cheap back up for next season, when Ayres, Bonner and Baynes all become free agents. Hopefully he gets a real shot and sticks around because he has the makings of a solid rotation big.