As is their custom, the Spurs didn’t make much noise this summer. After exploring some trade options for max players, they ultimately decided that keeping the core intact while fluffing up the edges was the most logical way to go. Free agents Patty Mills and Manu Ginobili returned (with Pau Gasol presumably close behind), while newcomers like Rudy Gay, Joffrey Lauvergne, and first round draft pick Derrick White joined the fray.
Beside the return of San Antonio’s favorite Argentinean, the most notable event of free agency was the exit of promising swingman Jonathon Simmons, who signed with Orlando and opened the door for what was perhaps the Spurs’ least noticed move — the signing of Brandon Paul: a 26-year old shooting guard out of the University of Illinois who went undrafted in 2013.
After spending the last four years hopping between the D-League, Russia, Spain and Turkey, Paul finally got the chance he’s been dreaming of. He impressed many in the Summer League while playing for Dallas and Cleveland and ultimately agreed to a two-year deal (first year guaranteed) with the Spurs. Here are some links to help you get to know the Spurs’ newest diamond-in-the-rough a little bit better:
- According to his hometown paper, The News-Gazette, Paul actually received a smaller offer from the Spurs before Summer League after impressing in the Euros last season, but he turned it down feeling he could do better. Clearly it was the right move for him as he ended up earning the contract he sought from the same team that initially wanted him.
- This was included on a previous links post, but in case you missed it here is what The Champaign Room (the SB Nation site for the Fighting Illini) thinks he can bring to the Spurs.
- Basketball Insiders has the scoop on Paul’s journey from college right up until he heard about the chance of a lifetime following a game in Las Vegas, and the way he told his mom (who is a Spurs fan, by the way) about his new gig is priceless.
- Sometimes a good way to get to know a guy is on Twitter, and combined with his work ethic, willingness to learn, and improving game, it’s looking like the Spurs could have another steal on their hands:
It's not everyday you get a call from the best Coach in the game welcoming you to the best… https://t.co/s3CGw0ivkK— Brandon Paul (@BP3) July 14, 2017
I don't want to sound cliché but the support has been truly overwhelming. Thank you so much..I haven't done anything yet! Ready to work!— Brandon Paul (@BP3) July 14, 2017
Mood #onemoreyear pic.twitter.com/g7jgAPjiVp— Brandon Paul (@BP3) July 18, 2017
- Finally, here are some highlights from his time in the Euros. A good shooting stroke from beyond the arc and being able hit off the dribble or in catch-and-shoot situations is a promising way to earn minutes under Coach Pop.
Welcome to San Antonio, Brandon!