As you may have heard, the Spurs have been quite active shuffling their roster of late. They've traded away Tiago Splitter to Atlanta and said "good-bye" to free agents Cory Joseph, Aron Baynes and Marco Belinelli, losing them to Toronto, Detroit and Sacramento respectively. They traded for Kings backup point guard Ray McCallum and agreed to bring on former Pacer David West for the veterans minimum.
Oh, and they got LaMarcus Aldridge from Portland, too.
That's four guys they've lost (and remember, Matt Bonner, Jeff Ayres and Reggie Williams might be ex-Spurs as well before long) and just three gained. The Spurs need to sign more guys to fill out the roster.
About 20 minutes after finishing up LaMarcus Aldridge's press conference, the Spurs added Serbian giant Boban Marjanovic to a one-year, $2 million deal to back up Aldridge and Tim Duncan and fight off wights on off nights.
And now the Spurs have apparently decided to give Kyle Anderson some competition for the backup small-forward spot by signing small-forward Jonathon Simmons to a two-year deal, with the first season fully guaranteed, according to RealGM.
Simmons, who like Marjanovic will turn 26 before next season, is 6'6 and a biscuit shy of 200 pounds, and played for the Austin Spurs the past two seasons (meaning he was Anderson's teammate for most of the year). He averaged 15.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists last season in 50 games and was Third-Team All-Defense in the D-League. What makes Simmons particularly intriguing, aside from his defensive chops, is that he shot 39.8 percent from downtown last season, greatly improving his accuracy from his maiden campaign in Austin. As a rookie in the D-League, however, he shot 61.5 from two-point range, which ranked third overall in the league and is pretty impressive for a wing.
A Houston native, Simmons earned numerous regional and conference honors playing for Midland Junior College for two years before transferring to the University of Houston for his junior season. He averaged 14.7 points (.512/.386/.716) and 5.0 rebounds in 30 games for the Cougars but apparently took some bad advice and decided to make himself eligible for the draft instead of returning for a senior season. He went undrafted and has been toiling in relative obscurity since.
Regardless, Simmons' play has raised enough eyebrows to earn him a spot on Brooklyn's summer league squad in Orlando this past week and he averaged 12 points and 4.7 rebounds in three games for the Nets. The Spurs must have been impressed because you don't offer a first-year guarantee for someone you intend to cut. Out of nowhere, Simmons sure looks like he's one of the 14 or 15 fellows who'll be on the roster in some form or fashion next year, even if they decide to send him back to Austin for more seasoning. That he's already familiar with the big club's system should help his transition during training camp and the pre-season.
At the least, Simmons' signing should serve to exert some subtle pressure on Anderson and make it plain to him that he shouldn't get cozy just because he's a former first-round pick and Belinelli has moved on.
Here's a highlight clip of Simmons scoring 28 against something called the "Bakersfield Jam" in a D-League playoff game this past April. Take it with a grain of salt. The quality of defense being played in these clips goes a long way toward illuminating how people like Anderson and Nando De Colo put up dominating numbers there.