May 7, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich talks with media before game four of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The San Antonio Spurs left the 2017 NBA Draft with plenty of questions.
The 2017 NBA Draft came and went on Thursday night, with the San Antonio Spurs selecting Derrick White and Jaron Blossomgame at pick No. 29 and 59, respectively. They’ll add to a team that’s looking to top the Golden State Warriors and make the 2018 NBA Finals, after getting swept in the Western Conference Finals.
The Draft was only the first part of the offseason, however. The Spurs have plenty more to do, including going through free agency and the Vegas Summer League.
Questions remain for San Antonio, too, as the offseason kicks into high gear. What are the biggest ones as the summer begins?
May 22, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili (20) drives to the basket as Golden State Warriors center JaVale McGee (1) defends during the first half in game four of the Western conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
5. Is Manu Ginobili Actually Done?
Did Manu Ginobili play his last game with the San Antonio Spurs? Well, as of Friday, that’s yet to be seen. Ginobili received a standing ovation in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, as fans assumed it was the last time he would play in San Antonio.
If Ginobili returns, it will be for his 16th NBA season at age 40. He would be one of the league’s oldest players and remain as one of the last parts of the 2000’s Spurs that won three NBA championships, as fans hold onto that piece of nostalgia.
However, in Ginobili’s 15th season, he showed his age. This saw him shoot only 39 percent from the field — a career-low. The 39 percent from beyond the arc was one of the highest marks of the Argentine’s career, however.
Gregg Popovich has also lessened the workload on Ginobili. He averaged just 18.7 minutes per game last season, coming off a 2015-16 campaign of 19.6.
If Ginobili returns, he could see similar court time to the previous season. That may come as a three-point shooter who can play some defense, which is more than enough from a role player and someone with the legacy this player has.
Next: Depth at PF and C
Feb 15, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Dewayne Dedmon (3) reacts after making a basket in the act of getting fouled against the Orlando Magic during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
4. Depth at Power Forward and Center
Pau Gasol will return for the San Antonio Spurs, declining his player option and re-signing for less money. It solved at least one problem the Spurs had at power forward and center, but there’s plenty more to go.
Dewayne Dedmon was the backup center last season, but will be on his way out, after declining his player option. If Dedmon receives a deal similar to what Timofey Mozgov got in the 2016 offseason, then San Antonio will have little chance of re-signing him.
Then, there’s David Lee. He also opted out of his contract to become a free agent. Lee spelled LaMarcus Aldridge last season and made the occasional start.
With the Spurs not taking a big man in the NBA Draft, free agency will be the obvious spot to look for replacements at center and power forward. It’s always possible Lee and Dedmon come back, but if they look for multi-year offers, then the front office may be able to find cheaper alternatives, similar to when both of these players were brought in last season.
There are options in free agency, including these five names. Could the Spurs target any of them to fill in for Lee or Dedmon?
Next: Will Hill Return?
Nov 4, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz guard George Hill (3) dribbles the ball as San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) defends during the first quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
3. Will George Hill Return?
George Hill had a three-year run with the San Antonio Spurs, until he got traded in the 2011 NBA Draft. He’s become known as the player that was moved for Kawhi Leonard, who the Spurs traded up to get in the draft. Since then, Hill has played for two teams and Leonard became a 2014 NBA Finals MVP and MVP candidate for the 2016-17 season.
However, according to Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News, Hill is interested in a Spurs reunion. He will be a free agent in July.
Hill has long desired to reunite with Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich since 2013, when he re-signed with the Pacers, who traded him to the Utah Jazz last summer. Hill still maintains a residence in San Antonio, and frequently works out at the team’s practice site when in town.
Despite the selection of Derrick White and presence of Dejounte Murray, Hill could join the team and take pressure off these two younger players. It’s also a veteran replacement for Tony Parker, who tore his quad and will miss a chunk of next season. Hill also has the ability to play shooting guard, opening up time for White and Murray at the one spot.
Next: Will Aldridge Be Dealt?
May 7, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) walks on the court in game four of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
2. Will LaMarcus Aldridge Be Dealt?
LaMarcus Aldridge was a hot topic on Thursday. He was made available in trades, and for a top-10 pick in the NBA Draft. However, nothing came to fruition.
After the draft, RC Buford spoke on the Aldridge rumors. Buford mostly avoided them, saying he likes the current group of players.
Despite these comments, it’s difficult to believe Aldridge’s name won’t come up again this offseason, especially once July 1 hits. Teams will sign free agents and for those that don’t at power forward, maybe they’ll look at San Antonio’s big man.
No organization immediately sticks out for Aldridge, but whoever is interested will need over $20 million in cap space open. Plus, he can opt out after the 2017-18 NBA season. These factors could potentially take the former Texas Longhorn off the table, at least in the mindset of opposing executives.
Aldridge may be a name to watch this offseason. If not, then he’ll continue as the starting power forward on one of the top teams in the Western Conference. That’s not the worst thing, even though his playoff performance — especially when Kawhi Leonard went down — was disappointing.
Next: Can Chris Paul Be Signed?
Mar 8, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) in the third quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. The Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Los Angeles Clippers 107-91. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
1. Can Chris Paul Be Lured in?
Before the LaMarcus Aldridge and Danny Green rumors, Chris Paul was the talk of the San Antonio Spurs. Paul will reportedly give the team “serious consideration” in the offseason, if he terminates the final year of his contract.
If Paul signs, Hill would seemingly be off the table, as the former’s possible contract has the chance of engulfing the remaining salary cap space. He’ll require a max deal that will shake up the rest of San Antonio’s roster, leading to others likely being moved before an official signing is made. That means Green is probably out, along with free agent rights being renounced for just about anyone the team could lose this offseason.
Getting CP3 away from the Los Angeles Clippers will be no easy task, though. Remember when they locked DeAndre Jordan in his house in 2015, and led to him not signing with the Dallas Mavericks? That may not happen again, but it would be shocking to not see the Clippers do everything possible to keep their franchise point guard in Los Angeles, even with the teams’ recent postseason struggles.
A core of Paul, Leonard and Aldridge would be intriguing but is it enough to defeat the Warriors? How much more might be needed?
What are the biggest questions of the San Antonio Spurs’ offseason? Let us know below.