This summer has seen quite a few new faces for the San Antonio Spurs, with four non-rookie free agent signings.
Through free agency, the Spurs have added Pau Gasol, Dwayne Dedmon, David Lee, and Patricio Garino. With the retirement of Tim Duncan this summer, and likely retirement of Manu Ginobili next summer, the off-season moves now seem poised to be extremely vital for the future of the franchise.
Also, all new signings apart from Garino have options to become free agents next summer, as well as contract expirations of Patty Mills and Jonathon Simmons in 2017. Luckily, though, the summer of 2017 is slated to host a number of top quality free agents of all positions, which bodes well for the Spurs.
So lets take a quick look at a few possible targets for San Antonio and why they make sense.
Next: No. 1 Possible Free Agent Target For San Antonio
Mar 30, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) passes in the first quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
The LA Clippers guard is the highest profile free agent in 2017 that seems somewhat realistic for the Spurs. Paul has a player option that he can pick up or opt out of next summer. The point guard will also be 32 years old and *probably* without a championship to his name. After spending disappointing years in Los Angeles, it makes all the sense in the world for Paul to go after a ring in another city, and there won’t be many better suitors than the Spurs.
Chris Paul is an experienced, selfless, multi-faceted point guard that the Spurs could most certainly use now, and especially next summer when Tony Parker is a year older. Chris Paul being team-oriented and defensive- minded makes him a prime Spurs prospect. A big three of Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, and LaMarcus Aldridge would prove to be a top trio in the NBA, and championship caliber without a doubt.
Next: No. 2 Possible Free Agent Target For San Antonio
The 7-foot-1 Frenchman from the Utah Jazz would be an excellent addition to the Spurs, especially if Pau Gasol opts out. Gobert will be just 25 years old next summer, providing immediate impact as well as future dominance. Gobert offers a desperately needed elite true center option for the Spurs, and would likely form one of the most dominant front-court pairings in the league.
The Frenchman has shown his ability to be a true force on the defensive end, while being skillful and team-oriented on the offensive side of the ball.
The move also makes sense for Gobert, as he would move from a fringe playoff team to a yearly contender. Of course, we cannot mention this move without stating the obvious: the Spurs love their foreign-based players, so Gobert seems like a perfect fit.
Next: No. 3 Possible Free Agent Target For San Antonio
Apr 5, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) dribbles the ball during the first half against the San Antonio Spurs at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Hayward is a guy who is entering his true prime, while still yet to peak. He’ll be 27 years old next summer and primed to play the best ball of his career. Hayward is also a quintessential Spurs player; skillful, hard working, selfless, and quiet. He isn’t one to make headlines or highlights, but rather carry on with his business and score the basketball.
Hayward is a great option to stick at the shooting guard spot with Kawhi Leonard at small forward, because Hayward’s 6-foot-8 frame would give him a size advantage over just about any shooting guard in the league. He also could serve as a great small forward in small-ball line-ups that are becoming so crucial in today’s game. So he brings versatility, craft, and youth to a Spurs team that will likely need that when Ginobili retires.
While the summer of 2017 is still a long ways away, these are just a few players to keep an eye during the season and into the offseason. The NBA free agency period is always unpredictable, but some things just make sense; and hopefully for the Spurs, one of these stars finds it sensible to make a move to San Antonio and win some championships.