5 Free Agent Swingmen Spurs Should Pursue to Sign Minimum Contracts


The San Antonio Spurs have dominated the 2015 edition of NBA free agency, but the front office still needs to fill out the roster—particularly in one role.

Unless head coach Gregg Popovich is ready to utilize Kyle Anderson or Reggie Williams on a nightly basis, San Antonio needs to find a perimeter player who will contribute off the bench. That duty belonged to Marco Belinelli last season, but he signed a $19 million contract with the Sacramento Kings.

However, since the team has used its allotted cap space on the 10 current Spurs—most notably free-agent signing LaMarcus Aldridge—the only type of deal remaining is a minimum contract.

San Antonio must be selective, since the best remaining options are likely a handful of veterans who will accept a low salary in exchange for a chance at a championship. The Spurs probably won’t find another gem like David West, but some quality veterans remain on the market.

Next: A Prince for San Antonio

Tayshaun Prince, Small Forward

Mar 27, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince (22) drives to the basket against the Orlando Magic during the first half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tayshaun Prince wouldn’t be a glamorous addition, but the 14th-year veteran offers respectable defense, a decent three-point stroke and championship experience.

Once considered a lockdown asset, Prince is more of a capable defender at his increased age. While the 35-year-old shouldn’t be expected to shut down an opponent’s best perimeter option, he won’t get torched often either.

Prince won’t be mistaken for a volume shooter, but a smooth shooting stroke helped him to knock down a career-best 46.3 percent beyond the arc last season. The left-hander also buried 43.3 percent of his two-pointers from 16 feet or farther.

When Prince appeared headed toward a buyout in January 2015, Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale suggested that San Antonio could resurrect Prince’s career. Favale said:

"“The Spurs have taken veterans seemingly on their last legs ( ) and transformed them into prominent contributors before. Prince could be next.” Boris Diaw"

Prince won a ring with the Detroit Pistons in 2004.

Next: Paging Butler No. 1

Rasual Butler, Small Forward

Jan 11, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Wizards forward Rasual Butler (8) takes a three point shot against the Atlanta Hawks in the second quarter at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Rasual Butler experienced a resurgent season during the 2014-15 campaign, reviving his career after appearing in just 84 NBA games from 2011 to 2014.

The small forward came off the Washington Wizards bench and provided a consistent three-point threat. Butler netted 38.7 percent of his triples and drained at least two three-pointers in 25 games. For comparison’s sake, Belinelli hit two or more trifectas in 27 outings.

Following a 14-point performance from Butler in March, teammate Paul Pierce explained why Butler’s presence is so valuable, per Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. Pierce said of Butler:

"“He’s huge for us. You talk about a guy that can stretch the defense, a perimeter threat. And when he’s playing well like that, it gives me a lot of rest. I was able to sit for the fourth quarter and just watch us enjoy the win.”"

Butler could do the same thing for Kawhi Leonard or Danny Green, though in a slightly altered way. If Butler catches fire from long distance, the Spurs could stretch the lead and give their starters extra rest during the regular season—but more importantly, the playoffs.

Next: Paging Butler No. 2

Caron Butler, Small Forward

According to Shams Charania of RealGM, Caron Butler is expected to draw interest from San Antonio in free agency. So, if the Spurs land Butler, expect two things: defense, and a willingness to shoot.

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Now, don’t confuse the 14-year-pro with three-and-D magician Danny Green, but Butler is no slouch on the defensive end of the floor.

Though he’s liable to get caught in traffic and held up on screens, Butler still displays a physical nature that serves him well when isolated against. According to NBA.com, he surrendered just 0.70 points per isolation play.

On average, Butler hoisted 2.8 triples last season. The small forward connected on 37.9 percent of those attempts, which was right on track with his career mark of 38.3 since the 2010-11 campaign.

Butler also started 21 games for the Detroit Pistons in 2014-15, so he’d be a decent stop-gap if Leonard sustained an injury.

Next: Reaching Out to an Old Friend

Carlos Delfino, Shooting Guard

Reaching out to a player who hasn’t recorded NBA action since 2013 isn’t an optimal scenario, but according to Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News, the Spurs have contacted Carlos Delfino.

A teammate of Manu Ginobili‘s in international play, the Argentinian shooting guard recently visited San Antonio.

"“[Delfino] has some rapport with Manu Ginobili after the two played together for Argentina’s national team,” Bleacher Report’s said. “That kind of tie could figure prominently in potential mutual interest between the two sides.” Stephen Babb"

The 6’6″ guard last played for the Houston Rockets, though he was a member of the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers but did not appear in a game. Nevertheless, if Delfino has retained his form, there’s no reason the 32-year-old can’t make an impact.

He was the classic definition of a volume shooter while in the league, considering Delfino launched 6.3 three-pointers per night for the Rockets. More importantly, he disrupted the sanctity of the net 37.5 percent of the time.

Delfino’s defensive ability is a question, especially since he’s undergone a pair of foot surgeries in the past two years. But if he’s anything remotely close to what Belinelli could do—which wasn’t much—Delfino would be an adequate replacement.

Next: Overcoming Painful History

Ray Allen, Shooting Guard

Apr 6, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Ray Allen (34) reacts after missing a three point basket against the New York Knicks during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Miami won 102-91. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It would hurt Spurs fans; It would sting them badly. It would conjure up memories of arguably the most disappointing memory in the Tim Duncan era. But San Antonio should take a look at Ray Allen.

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After taking a year off, the soon-to-be 40-year-old could chase one final ring, and he’s been linked to the Spurs in the past. Before the beginning of the 2014 season, ESPN’s Marc Stein reported San Antonio joined the hunt to sign Allen. Eleven months later, the Spurs could again gauge his interest level.

Fortunately for bitter San Antonio followers, a source told Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders that Allen, an 18-year veteran, may officially retire.

But the Spurs need a three-point threat. Perhaps the player who swished one of the most iconic shots in NBA Finals history could be their answer.

Next: Manu Ginobili Describes Why He Returned: 'The Fire Is Still Burning'