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Spurs make Jones, Barlow and Champagnie Restricted Free Agents

One the eve of free agency, San Antonio tenders a trio of contracts

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday, June 29th marked the deadline to tender the contracts for players that are eligible to become restricted free agents. A RFA is a player with a qualifying offer and can only sign with an opposing team after their current team gets a chance to match the offer.

The Spurs tendered a trio of the five players eligible for restricted free agency on Thursday. The San Antonio Express-News’ Tom Orsborn reported that Tre Jones, Julian Champagnie and Dominick Barlow all were extended qualifying offers and will now become easier for the Spurs to retain on the open market. Sandro Mamukelashvili and Romeo Langford were also eligible for restricted free agency but did not receive a qualifying offer. They will both become unrestricted free agents, where they can sign with any team they please (including the Spurs).

Jones will likely draw the most attention on the open market after averaging 12.9 points and 6.6 assist in a full-time starting role. With a weaker free agency class, the 23-year-old could draw a larger offer that the Spurs would need to consider matching. San Antonio lacks depth in the back court, which could make Jones a priority in free agency.

Champagnie received praise from Spurs summer league coach Matt Nielsen on Thursday.

“He did a really good job with (his) three-point shooting,” Nielsen told the press. “He can guard multiple positions. He is a good rebounder. There are a lot of things that excite you.”

Clearly the Spurs value Champagnie as a piece and can still bring him back on a two-way contract, if they’d like to open a roster spot for another free agent. Champagnie averaged 11 points and 4 rebounds while shooting 40% from three in 15 games for the Spurs last season.

Barlow showed flashes of his high defensive upside, alongside of toughness on the interior. He appeared in 28 games for the Spurs on his two-way contract, averaging 3.9 points, 3.6 rebounds on 53.5% shooting from the field. At 20-years-old, Barlow is a prospect who could earn a rotation spot with continued development. He shined late in the season when given the opportunity to prove himself.

Spurs fans will be disappointed to hear that Mamukelashvili was not offered a qualifying offer after playing well in his stint with the team. He averaged 10.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 34% from three. Mamu entertained fans with his ball skills as a big man and perimeter shooting. He was one of the team’s bright spots late in the season. However, questions about his defensive fit may make him cheaper on the open market than other players. San Antonio can still sign Mamu in free agency but will have to compete with other teams to do so.

Free Agency’s moratorium period begins at 5 p.m. CT today. Expect a flurry of activity as soon as the period begins.