clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Which of the Spurs' free agents are coming back?

In this installment of In The Bonus, the PtR staff takes a look at the Spurs' free agents and discuss who is coming back and who is moving on?

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

1. Kawhi Leonard is getting the max. Do you see any scenario in which he signs an offer sheet with another team or is he going to take the five-year max from the Spurs?

Michael Erler: It really depends on how much influence his agent has. Last year that fellow showed himself to be inexperienced and reckless side, but as far as I know Leonard hasn't changed representation. Everything I've heard whispered points toward Leonard not signing anyone else's offer sheet, specifically because A) he wants to stay and B) he understands that to preserve the team's cap space, he has to sign last, after the outside free agents. If he signs his max early on, it'll count against the team's cap space and they won't have any left for guys from other teams.

Bruno Passos: Of all the big questions with the Spurs this offseason, Kawhi's decision seems to be the only certainty.

Jesus Gomez: The only scenario I can imagine is if the Spurs get Manu and Tim back but get too greedy trying to target other free agents and ask him to take a pay cut. But that doesn't sound likely at all, so I think he will sign the five year max.

Chris Itz: No, I think Kawhi will take the 5-year max that the Spurs will offer. It's great for everyone involved. Kawhi and his grandchildren get financial security for life and the Spurs get a little bit of flexibility in a couple of years when the cap skyrockets which will allow them to spend more easily to support Kawhi as he approaches his prime.

J.R. Wilco: Kawhi's coming back. No other possibility seems even remotely probable.The Spurs have known since last off-season what they wanted to do with him and I'm certain PATFO has him fully up to speed on all of the different ways things can go. He'll sit tight and let the process run its course so the organization can sign whoever they're targeting ... and then use Kawhi's Bird Rights to give him a great deal.

2. Danny Green is an unrestricted free agent. Will he wait around until the Spurs are ready to bring him back or will he sign elsewhere if he gets an offer early in free agency?

Erler: It depends on what Pop and R.C. have told him during exit meetings. If they gave him or his agent the parameters of what they're thinking about offering him and it sounds reasonable to Green, then he can trust them and wait, just like Leonard. If PATFO told him to shop himself around and seek the best offer he can, then he should. It really makes no sense for the Spurs not to re-sign him as long as they have his Bird rights. Why waste that cap space on a shooting guard when you can use it in an area where the team has holes?

Passos: He loves playing in SA, but this could be his only big contract. I don't think he'll make the decision early, but I'm also not sure he sticks around next year if/when the Spurs get outbid.

Gomez: That's the third biggest unknown of the offseason, closely behind Duncan's and Ginobili's retirement. Will Danny be patient enough to wait for the Spurs to figure out what they will do with the rest of their cap space? Unless the Spurs offer him the max, which is very unlikely, they can get outbid. Unfortunately, unless the Spurs figure things out quickly, I can see Green signing with another team.

Itz: I don't know with Danny. On the one hand, I believe that players should grab as much money as they can, but on the other, without the Spurs (and his hard work, for sure) he probably wouldn't be in the league. I'd like to see Danny and Kawhi terrorize opposing wings for at least the next half decade and I hope that Danny values his relationship with the team enough to leave a few million on the table if that's what it comes down to.

Wilco: At first I thought Green's tweet meant that he intended to re-sign with San Antonio and be that #Spur4Life, he mentioned. But now -- for reasons I'm not quite sure of -- I think it was his farewell to an organization he loves but knows can't afford him. Notice the picture he chose is the one with George Hill and the team from after the Indiana game. Instead of, "I'll always be a Spur," I now think his tweet said, "I'll always be a Spur in my heart."

I hope I'm wrong.

3. Marco Belinelli, Cory Joseph, Aron Baynes, Jeff Ayres and Matt Bonner will all be free agents. Which of them, if any, do you think will return?

Erler: In order, from likeliest to least likely: Baynes, Bonner, Belinelli, Joseph, Ayres, but to answer your question just the first two.

Passos: Ayres is gone and CoJo may have played his way into a better role elsewhere. I think the other three come back for modest contracts.

Gomez: Hopefully Matt Bonner will return for the minimum because he's awesome. I think Baynes is a good bet to return if the Spurs bring Manu and Duncan back and don't need the cap space. He's a restricted free agent and while he earned himself a raise, he won't likely command a big salary. He showed he can be a solid back up center, so I'l love to have him back. I think the other three are goners.

Itz: I could see all five of them not returning, but I'm going to go with CoJo and Baynes returning. Beli seems like he may get a bigger offer than the Spurs are willing to match, Ayres might as well have left the team in February and Matt Bonner, well I could see Matt come back as the 14th man if the Spurs have room, and I would support this.

Wilco: Bonner for sure, and if Splitter is dealt then Baynes too. Other than those two, and my abiding love for CoJo, the rest are completely up in the air.

4. Do you think Manu Ginobili will return for one more year? Do you want him to if he costs the Spurs the chance to sign a marquee free agent?

Erler: I'd want Manu to return if he was 50, so I'm not the most unbiased person to ask about this. I don't think him returning or not will matter too much as far as costing the team a free agent because he'll probably get something between $3-5 million and the cost of replacing him with someone of similar quality would cost more than that. Manu fills a unique niche in that he's a two-guard who is actually a playmaker, and without him Patty Mills' value drops considerably. Anyway, I'll be optimistic and say he returns, only because Tim will. Besides, his twin boys are like 5 years old and they run around all day like manic little demons. By October Ginobili will be dying to get out of the house. Training camp will probably feel less exhausting

Passos: One last ride! A good summer's rest, without playing for the national team, should rejuvenate Manu some, and I don't think any Spurs fan can be against the idea of seeing him on the court again, especially if it's for a nice, cap-friendly figure.

Gomez: Yes and yes, but I know I'm not being objective or practical here. The people that think Manu can't play anymore are flat out wrong but four years of INSERT FREE AGENT NAME is better than one more year of Ginobili. Still, I'd take the latter.

Itz: I think he returns for one more ride. And yes, I would mortgage a little of the future to watch Manu do his thing for one more season - I'm sentimental, he's still good and I'm not ready to stop celebrating great Ginobili dimes.

Wilco: I feel increasingly certain that Manu will return, and I don't think he'll be asking for too much.

5. Do you think Tim Duncan will return for one more year? Should the Spurs bring back the role players if he does or get him new teammates?

Erler: I do think Duncan will return, and he's famously hands off as far as the teammate stuff goes, trusting PATFO's judgment on all that stuff. My guess is he's made it clear to them that he'd prefer Ginobili and Green to re-sign, above all else, but it's just a guess.

Passos: Another season seems like such a grind for someone who's almost 40, but he just looked like he was having too much fun this season. I don't see how he walks away from it now.

Gomez: Yes, I do. Duncan is too good to retire. It's always possible he just wants to spend time with his kids but he'll have years to do that and he only has a couple more seasons as a high level player. And no, I don't think the Spurs should bring everyone back if Tim returns. Joseph, Ayres and Belinelli should probably be allowed to move on, as the team focuses on bringing in a solid defending wing (Alan Anderson?) and a young, athletic big.

Itz: I've never thought that this was the last ride for Timmy, he's still too good and he clearly still has great passion for competing. As for new blood or old, a little of both, but Danny, Tim and Kawhi go a long way toward an elite defense.

Wilco: Tim played too well and looked too good to not come back. For all of Pop's talk about next year's team looking different, he values that corporate knowledge enough to make those changes only as big as they have to be. Myself, I'm just wondering whether the beard will stick around for all next season as well.