With just one game to go in the preseason, the San Antonio Spurs had a decision to make with its roster. With 16 players on guaranteed contracts, San Antonio needed to cut a player in order to get to the league standard 15 roster spots. To meet that requirement, the Spurs waived veteran big man Khem Birch on Thursday, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Birch was traded to San Antonio as part of the Jakob Poeltl deal in February that netted the Spurs a 2024 first round pick and two second round picks (2023, which became Sidy Cissoko, and 2025.) Birch appeared in just one preseason game for the Silver and Black, where he played 11 minutes, tallying 4 rebounds and 2 assists. He was sidelined for most of his Spurs career with a knee injury.
With an increasingly talented big man group that includes Victor Wembanyama, Zach Collins, Charles Bassey, Sandro Mamukelashvili and Dominick Barlow, Birch was on the outside looking in. The Spurs have prioritized their youth over the veterans they picked up in draft compensation trades. Birch, Cam Payne, Lamar Stevens and Reggie Bullock were all waived after being acquired via trade.
With the Spurs down to 15 players, their main roster is set. However they do have one available two-way contract that could be handed out to a player throughout the season. Candidates currently with the team include Charles Bediako and Erik Stevenson. San Antonio could also look externally to find a player to fill the spot.
The Spurs will take their 15-man roster into the regular season with just three newly acquired players, Wembanyama, Cissoko and Cedi Osman. They’ll face off agains the Dallas Mavericks in their regular season opener on October 25th.