Matt Bonner has been a staple of San Antonio Spurs basketball for years now, whether in the form of a starter or an extra body at the end of the bench to come in and hit some timely perimeter jumpers.
As an unrestricted free agent, his future with the Spurs appears unsettled. Although he likely wouldn’t represent a major cap hit to bring back, the Spurs may wish to pull the plug on their relationship with Bonner and other aging veterans off the bench and opt to bring in more youthful complimentary pieces to surround Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Bonner appears optimistic that he’ll return to play in the NBA next season, and while he hopes it’s for the Spurs, he wouldn’t rule out leaving for another team.
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“Come July, hopefully the Spurs come calling. If not, whoever else,” said Bonner. “My body feels good, I’m healthy, and if someone wants me on their team, god willing, hopefully I will be playing next year.”
Bonner is 36 years old, and looked at times last season like his body was beginning to break down. His confidence regarding his health is encouraging, though, and if he can remain durable throughout a season, his smooth shooting can come in handy for any team.
He praised the Oklahoma City Thunder for their playoff series win against the Spurs, commenting on their strong play. He also lamented that the Spurs happened to hit a cold streak with their shooting at the worst possible time.
“That’s something you can’t always control-the ball going in the hoop,” Bonner explained. “You do your best to get open shots. Some nights they fall, some nights they don’t. The general trend for us in that series was that we really didn’t have a good shooting series.”
Bonner also defended the notoriously controversial end-of-season costume party, saying that it was about gathering as a team for possibly the last time to celebrate a fantastic season together.
“Before everybody leaves town, get together one last time, just celebrate. Not that you lost, but you celebrate this whole process you went through together,” Bonner said.
It probably held even more significance for Bonner, because as a free agent, it’s very likely that it’s the last team function he attends as a Spurs player.
Bonner has always been able to hit 3-pointers with the best of them. He doesn’t have much in his repertoire besides a silky perimeter jumper, but it’s a skill that translates to any offensive system around the league.
It will be interesting to see what the Spurs decide to do with Bonner. Although he’d be cheap to bring back, the Spurs may need every extra penny available to be able to lure a premier free agent to San Antonio with a max deal.
If this is the end for Bonner in a Spurs’ uniform, we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors. The Red Rifle has been a consummate professional and great teammate.