After a first round defeat at the hands of the Clippers, the Spurs are headed home with next season in mind. R.C. Buford will likely be searching hard for a new piece, and lucky for us, it’s a free agency class filled with talent that fits the Spurs needs.
There are many things that are more likely than Marc Gasol going to the Spurs. Like Dennis Rodman signing up to go to Mars, Tim Duncan doing table dances in a bar, and Robert Horry bricking a game winning 3. It’s doubtful that the All-Star center will leave his Memphis Grizzlies, and even if he does it will likely be to a team with more money to spend than the Spurs.
But remember, Marc Gasol doesn’t have a championship, and his brother does. If he doesn’t feel that Memphis is moving in that direction at season’s end, he could end up signing with a team that gives him a better chance at at evening up the sibling rivalry a little. For the Spurs, it would be the absolute best case scenario. Duncan (if he comes back) would be able to play alongside a true center, and the Spurs front court of Leonard, Duncan, and Gasol would be the best defensive front court in the NBA. Don’t get your hopes up for this one, but it sure would be nice.
“Dragic has a special place in every Spurs fan’s nightmares.”
The one that everyone is anticipating. Aldridge makes sense for the Spurs, as they’ll need a strong post presence to lead them into the post-Duncan era eventually, and the Spurs have reportedly sparked an interest in the 30 year old. One thing that worries me are Aldridge’s comments a while back this past summer, when he said that he wanted to stay with Portland and become “the greatest Trailblazer of all time.” That would be quite a challenge if he’s playing for a different team. More recently he’s seemed less sure of himself in that respect, but if he’s that driven to be a big-time franchise player, would he be content in filling the shoes of an NBA legend in Tim Duncan? On the other hand, Texas is his home, and NBA players returning home is a bit of a trend at the moment. So hopes are still high.
Another excellent option for the Spurs inside, Millsap is a strong defender with a wide array of low
May 5, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) shoots against the Washington Wizards during the second half in game two of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. The Hawks defeated the Wizards 106-90. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
block post moves. He wouldn’t be as huge of a pickup as Gasol or Aldridge, but this is certainly an addition that could catapult the Spurs right back into championship contention. He’s also played in Mike Budenholzer’s system all year, which is the child of Pop’s gameplan. He’s an underrated power forward that hasn’t enjoyed a whole lot of winning throughout his career, so the Spurs may be an appealing option for him.
I’ll try to tone down on the big men for a second. Dragic has a special place in every Spurs fan’s nightmares, but the talented point guard has shown amazing growth over the last few years as he tried to fill Nash’s shoes with the Suns. Oddly enough, he was moved to shooting guard before being shipped away to the Heat this year, and a late season injury held him back from showing what he was capable of. But Heat fans have really grown to like Dragic already, and he has stated several times that he plans to stick with Miami as long as they offer a fair deal. In case they don’t, the Spurs may jump on the opportunity to sign a crafty playmaker and limit Tony Parker‘s minutes heavily this next year.
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From the temporary superstar of New York to the backup point guard of the lowly Lakers, Lin had some shining moments this year but was never able to live up to his always high expectations. As strange as this idea may sound, I think this is a move that actually makes a lot of sense for both parties involved. Lin would be able to play for a quiet, basketball-focused franchise in a system that will open the court up for him, and the Spurs would get a potentially high reward for what probably won’t be a very big contract, and that’s exactly the kind of thing they’ve been doing for years. Of course, San Antonio doesn’t need him to go all out into “Linsanity” again, but giving Parker a break (or even moving him to the bench to be a sixth man) would be nice.
Then there’s “Big Al.” He’s spent his career dominating the low block with unguardable post moves for mediocre NBA teams. His scoring is about as good as it gets when it comes to current big men, and his reputably bad defense has been reputably improved. The defensive efficiency stats back that up, as well. I would be excited about giving Al Jefferson a chance with the Spurs, but it is a little bit scary. As mentioned before, Jefferson’s teams have never been very high in the standings, and this year the center had one of the most mind-blowing real plus minus scores in the game with -.05, ranked 40th among all centers.