A lot has changed in the past 24-hours for the San Antonio Spurs. Monday began with guard Patty Mills telling an Australian site he’s likely to test the free agent market, and we got word that Erazem Lorbek is coming to San Antonio.
Should Lorbek officially be signed by the Spurs, the team would have 10-players under contract. On Monday I wrote part one of my free agent list I thought the Spurs had a slim chance of signing. In part one, I focused on attacking style guards or backup point guards the Spurs could go after if they couldn’t match Danny Green’s contract offer from another team, or if Cory Joseph wasn’t ready and Mills signed elsewhere. Nando De Colo has San Antonio on his mind before he signs anywhere else, but are the Spurs ready to bring him over?
Assuming the team does choose to bring De Colo over, then they’d have 11 players under roster. Their number one priority will be to re-sign Tim Duncan, which would put their roster at 12 members, so what happens to the rest of the Spurs’ free agents?
In the backcourt, the Spurs would have Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Gary Neal (could be released), De Colo, and Joseph. The expectation is that the team will match any teams offers thrown at Green as long as they make financial sense.
The Spurs are set at the wing position with the young Kawhi Leonard and veteran Stephen Jackson. Their frontcourt now becomes interesting with Boris Diaw a free agent. The Spurs would have a frontcourt of Duncan, Tiago Splitter, DeJuan Blair, Matt Bonner, and Lorbek.
The Spurs will do what they can to try to re-sign Diaw as he made their offense even more dynamic and even showed a few good defensive performances. I’m here to see if there are any available free agents the Spurs could target to add to their frontcourt. Blair’s contract could easily be let go as it’s a team option whether or not they’ll keep him. If they do keep him, then he and Bonner are most likely trade bait either in the draft, free agency, or during the season.
As I went through the free agency list, I was looking for athletic defensive minded power forwards or centers that were taller than 6’8. It was really hard to narrow a list down realistically because we still don’t know how the financial situation will be in this offseason. So I’ve done my best to make a semi-realistic list of big men the Spurs could target in free agency, but again the chances of them signing any of these players is very slim.
- Darrell Arthur: Arthur missed all of last season with a severe injury. He should be ready by next season, but it’ll be very hard to make a strong enough offer at him with limited assets for the Spurs. The expectation is that the Grizzlies will match any offers he receives as long as they lie in their fiscal boundaries. In the 2010-11 season, he averaged 9.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 0.8 blocks, shot 50% from the field, and got to the free throw line 1.7 times per game.
- Robin Lopez: The Phoenix Suns might be willing to part with Lopez if he receives an offer they can’t match. They already have Marcin Gortat as their starting center, so Lopez could probably have a much bigger impact on another team. I don’t know that he’d be a great fit for the Spurs, but his height and size alone could be enough to help Duncan and Splitter in the paint defensively. The problem with the Spurs signing him is that they probably wouldn’t have a big enough offer that the Suns couldn’t match. Lopez averaged 5.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, shot 46% from the field, and got to the free throw line 2.2 times in just 14 minutes per game.
Unrestricted Free Agents
- Antawn Jamison: Right now, the Charlotte Bobcats are the only team said to be making a strong push toward Jamison because he lived in North Carolina in his high school and collegiate years. If he’s looking for a contender, the Spurs could definitely use his services even though he’s 6’9 and 36 years old, he averaged 17.2 points per game in a LOCKOUT season, played 33 minute a night, shot 40% from the field, grabbed 6.3 rebounds, 2 assists, 0.7 blocks, and got to the free throw line 4.1 times per game. I think if Diaw signs somewhere else, the Spurs need to make a strong push to sign Jamison. Yes he’s undersized, but he’s a guy who can get to the free throw line and score in a variety of ways.
- Chris Kaman: He doesn’t fit with the Spurs’ run-and-gun system, but he could probably give the Spurs their retro post system of Duncan and David Robinson because they’d be able to pair both he and Kaman in the post and pound the ball inside. Though the Spurs wouldn’t use the two together all the time, in times where the guards are having an off night shooting or penetrating, a dose of Kaman and Duncan in the inside could be another weapon for their already dynamic offense. Kaman is said to be gaining interest from contenders, which means the Spurs could have a shot at signing him. In 47 games last season, he averaged 13.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, shot 45% from the field, and got to the free throw line 2.3 times per game.
- Spencer Hawes: He’s tall (7’1) and kind of quick for a big man. He’s getting interest from a few teams already, and he’d be a decent fit for the Spurs as he’s only 24 years old and averaged 9.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and shot 49% from the field this past season.
Again, this is just an early look at some possible free agents the Spurs could target this offseason. I think the only way they make any serious moves in free agency is if they can’t re-sign Green or Diaw, Diaw especially. Assuming they re-signed Diaw, Green, and Mills, it would put their roster at 15-members. Joseph would probably be sent back to Austin if they needed to sign a free agent, and they’d still have the option of releasing Blair. Should De Colo and Lorbek join the squad this season, I think the Spurs would be interested in seeing what a full training camp and full season could do for the team that finished with the best record in the NBA, and two games shy of the NBA Finals.