As the NBA free agency moratorium began, Spurs fans were hit with a bit of bad news. Veteran forward Keita Bates-Diop signed a two-year $5 million deal with the Phoenix Suns, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Free agent F Keita Bates-Diop has agreed to a two-year, $5M deal with the Phoenix Suns, co-head of @CAA_Basketball Austin Brown tells ESPN. Deal includes a player option. Bates-Diop will have a chance to earn a starting forward spot.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2023
KBD started over half of San Antonio’s games last season and averaged a career high 9.7 points on 39% shooting from three. Bates-Diop played his last three seasons for the Spurs, where he established himself as an NBA level role-player. Now he will get a chance to play a big role for a contender in Phoenix.
He joins Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal as a versatile wing who can guard multiple positions, and knock down perimeter jumpers. He will join another former Spur, Drew Eubanks who also just signed a two-year contract with Phoenix.
San Antonio will miss KBD on and off of the court. This year he was named a finalist for the Bob Lanier Community Assist Award for his advocacy for CPR and AED training. He was a steadying presence for the young team on the court, who wore many different hats for the Silver and Black last season.
The departure of Bates-Diop means that the Spurs have another roster spot open to sign a free agent, or retain one of their own. They still await decisions from Tre Jones, Dominick Barlow, Julian Champagnie, Sandro Mamukelashvili and Romeo Langford.