NBA Free Agency: San Antonio Spurs Preview
What Happened Last Season:
The epitome of consistent success, the San Antonio Spurs haven’t missed the playoffs in 20 years. Despite this past season being the first in two decades the Spurs were without the services of all-time great Tim Duncan, the team finished with the second seed in the west, positioned to make a deep playoff run. Following yet another great season with a 61-21 record led by quiet superstar Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs seemed to be headed towards a competitive conference finals showdown with the Warriors.
After getting through the first two rounds in six games each, the Spurs looked poised to be the first team of the 2017 playoffs to give the Warriors a serious battle. Despite having what seemed like an insurmountable lead, the Spurs blew Game 1 as Kawhi Leonard went down with an ankle injury and failed to return to the series.
The Warriors completely capitalized on the injury and they never looked back, ending the series in a sweep and leaving Spurs fans heartbroken with their superstar sidelined in silence. The expectations had fallen short but there wasn’t much doubt in the minds of NBA fans that the Spurs would return to greatness.
Unrestricted Free Agents:
Patty Mills: The Aussie backup point guard should be a top priority for the Spurs to re-sign. His tenacious defense and immediate energy off the bench are imperative to the Spurs success going forward in a guard-dominant league.
David Lee: After his first season with San Antonio, veteran big man David Lee is anticipated to opt out of his contract following one of his best seasons in recent years. Lee came off the bench averaging 18 minutes per game, his most since his championship season with the Warriors. It remains to be seen how much of a push the Spurs will make to re-sign Lee or if they head in another direction.
Other notable unrestricted free agents include fan favorite Manu Ginobili who is juggling with the possibility of retirement, notable big man Pau Gasol (expected to opt out and re-sign), and centers Dewayne Dedmon and Joel Anthony.
Restricted Free Agent:
Jonathan Simmons: Simmons is likely to test free agent waters to see if he can cash in on some of the hefty paychecks with the new CBA. But the Spurs would be losing another key player who puts his entirety into the game if they were to not match Simmons’ potential contracts.
It’s no secret the Spurs are targeting star point guard Chris Paul as their top free agent signing. CP3 can opt out of his final year on his contract with the Clippers and join an established franchise that already boasts a superstar in Kawhi Leonard and one of the greatest coaches ever in Gregg Popovich. Just imagining the collective basketball genius that the Spurs would become (even more so) with the addition of Paul seems like a gift that NBA fans everywhere could appreciate.