The San Antonio Spurs have waived Luka Samanic.— Noah Magaro-George (@N_Magaro) October 11, 2021
San Antonio had until Haloween to exercise his fourth-year team option, and they will now accrue a dead money cap hit of roughly $2.9M unless another team claims Luka off waivers in the next 48 hours.
The Spurs drafted Samanic with the 19th overall pick in 2019, making him the sixth international player to come off the board that year.
Luka joins Sekou Doumbouya as just the second first-rounder from the 2019 draft class waived from an NBA roster.
The six-eleven forward averaged 3.8 points per game across his first two seasons in San Antonio, appearing in 36 games and making five starts for the big league club.
Samanic showed promise as the go-to scoring option for the Austin Spurs during an abbreviated season in the G League Bubble a year ago, posting 21.8 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.
There was even a five-game stretch when multiple cases of COVID-19 left San Antonio’s roster shorthanded, where the six-eleven forward appeared as though he was making an NBA breakthrough.
Despite a strong showing, Samanic was relegated to the bench once the regulars returned to health. From there, he mostly saw action in contests that were no longer within reach.
Some fans have pointed the finger at head coach Gregg Popovich for keeping the 21-year-old prospect out of the rotation, but the truth is, we have no way of knowing what went on behind closed doors.
PATFO are in charge of the organization. And, like it or not, they did what they believed was in the best interest of the future of this franchise.
San Antonio had to trim their roster down to 15 guaranteed contracts by the beginning of the regular season. And Samanic’s exit leaves them with one more cut to make as they prepare for their final preseason matchup.