The offseason starts now for the Spurs. After the conclusion of the NBA Finals on Tuesday Night, where the Milwaukee Bucks were crowned champions for the first time in 50 years, the NBA offseason can well and truly begin.
This will be the most intriguing and fascinating San Antonio offseason since 2015, which saw the arrival of LaMarcus Aldridge in a Silver & Black uniform — arguably their biggest free agent acquisition in franchise history. This summer, the Spurs organization is at a crossroads for the first time in what seems like forever. With their second straight lottery pick and $50 million of cap room at their disposal, the selections that the front office make will show their hand about how they really feel about the current state of the roster.
With only one player currently under contract above the age of 25 (Derrick White — 27yrs old) the Spurs seem destined for a rebuild, NOT a retool. Most Spurs fans have never experienced one, and trust me, it isn’t pretty. Although there is still a chance that San Antonio looks to bring in veterans and re-sign their own in order to stay relatively competitive, the problem with that approach, as it has already proven, is with the current roster it will only leave the Spurs stranded in an ocean of mediocrity: too good to get a future star in the draft, but not good enough to make a playoff run.
To make this less complicated, lets spilt the off-season up into 3 different parts; The Draft, Free Agency & Trade Season.
The 2021 NBA Draft is set for July 29th at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York. The San Antonio Spurs have the 12th selection, one worse than last year when they picked Devin Vassell at 11. The good news for the Spurs is that by all indication, this year’s draft class is a lot stronger and deeper than the year prior. This will mean the Spurs will have their fair share of good prospects to pick between if they stay and select at number 12. Lets explore who the Spurs may choose:
- Josh Giddey
- James Bouknight
- Davion Mitchell
Now I know what you’re thinking, “The Spurs already have an abundance of young guards on the roster”, and yes that may be true, but that should not stop the front office from selecting one if they believe the upside of the guards in this draft are higher than the ones on the current roster. This may be especially true about young Australian guard Josh Giddey, who at just 18 years-old may be one of the higher upside prospects in this draft class, and the Spurs would be without fault if they took Giddey if he was available at 12.
- Franz Wagner
- Jalen Johnson
- Keon Johnson
- Moses Moody
- Trey Murphy
With the seemingly imminent departure of DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay, the Spurs are going to lose a lot of minutes and points from the wing/forward position. So an option the front office may consider is to look to replace those minutes and points with a rookie. The wing/foward position in this years draft is loaded with talent. So the Spurs would be remiss not to take a look at certain players that can fill the role of a DeMar and Rudy.
- Alperen Sengun
- Usman Garuba
- Kai Jones
To many, the weakest position on the Spurs roster is their big man rotation, with only Jakob Poeltl and Drew Eubanks under contract. Even though Poeltl took big leaps in his development last season, it’s still to be determined if he can be a starting center long term in the NBA, and Eubanks is more of a glorified third option consistent back-up. With these questions out there and a shortage of big men on the roster, it would make some sense for the Spurs to use their pick on one. Especially considering there are some interesting choices in this position group. Two internationals in Sengun and Garuba are intriguing prospects, and then you have the upside of a Kai Jones. This will have to make San Antonio’s general manger, Brian Wright, think twice when choosing who to pick come draft day.
Check out PtR’s 2021 NBA Draft page to get caught up.
This year’s free agency kicks off August 2nd at 5 PM CT, and for the first time in what feels like forever, the Spurs have some money to spend. Actually, scratch that, that would be an understatement. The Spurs have the second most amount of cap space, only second to the New York Knicks. And after you account for the money the Spurs will pay to their 12th pick, the Spurs will have just a little under $50 million to spend at there will. The hope here is that the Spurs will be aggressive this summer, and even though the free agent class is weak compared to most years, the Spurs should throw money around (sensibly) at some of the top restricted free agents, such as John Collins, Lonzo Ball, Duncan Robinson & Jarrett Allen.
If the Spurs are hoping to get anyone on the restricted free agent market, they are going to have to pay more than those players are worth in order to make it hard for their current teams to match those deals. Because unfortunately if the Spurs can’t get one or two guys on the restricted market, the unrestricted market is a lot less desirable and the Spurs may be forced to try and re-sign some of their own guys just to be respectable next season.
Trade season in the NBA is underway, and one big trade was actually completed during the playoffs, when the Celtics traded Kemba Walker to the Thunder. Unlike Boston and Oklahoma, trades have not happened so often for the San Antonio ball club, unless you include the Marquese Chriss-for-money trade that happened on deadline day this year (Chriss was waived days later by SA).
Making trades may have to be an asset the Spurs use this summer especially if they don’t want to lose their own free agents (DeMar, Rudy and possible Patty Mills) for nothing. DeRozan is a big candidate for a sign-and-trade, because with only a few teams having cap space and DeMar most likely wanting a good chunk of money, most contending teams that could use him won’t have the cap space to sign him. Therefore they will have to do a sign-and-trade with the Spurs. The question to be answered here is, will the Spurs partake in a sign-and-trade where they may have to take something back they may not want in order to get a young player or a future draft pick?
The Spurs have never shown a sign of taking on salary dumps just for a future pick or young player, but to make a DeRozan trade work they might just have to do so. Another trade option for the Spurs will be at the draft. There is a chance the front office is locked in on a singular player, and to guarantee they get him they may have to trade up. The Spurs have the assets to do so, as they have a collection of good young talent and all future picks to use in any trade talks.
For more talk about potential Spurs trades from PtR, click here.
This summer should be an exciting one for Spurs fans, but I do say with caution to not get your hopes up, as we know this front office has a tendency to play it safe and wait things out. For all of our sakes, I hope to see the Spurs be aggressive in all three phrases of the offseason, starting with the draft then going into free agency, and then in any and all trade talks.
Stay tuned to Pounding The Rock, for the best San Antonio Spurs content this offseason!