Dewayne Dedmon is still a free agent, but all hope shouldn’t be lost on him re-signing with the San Antonio Spurs.
Nearly one month ago, Dewayne Dedmon opted out of his contract with the San Antonio Spurs. He had a player option for a second season with the five-time NBA Champions, but chose to enter NBA free agency.
Dedmon played a backup center role for the Spurs, even playing some games as the starting center. It led to a career season for him, which could mean a bigger contract in the open market.
However, Dedmon has yet to sign in free agency. It’s still early in the process, but that might bode well for the Spurs. So what reasons could lead him back to Gregg Popovich and co.?
4. The Desire to Keep a 60-Win Team Together
The 2016-17 NBA season was consumed by the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. They were deemed the automatic favorites to win it all in June, and both made the NBA Finals for the third consecutive season.
The San Antonio Spurs stood a chance of making the NBA Finals, but an ankle injury to Kawhi Leonard essentially ended their hopes, in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors swept them and won the NBA championship.
However, lost in everything was the Spurs having the second-best record in the NBA, and by eight games. They finished at 61-21, six games behind Golden State.
The Spurs already started retaining the look of this team. They re-signed Patty Mills to a four-year, $50 million deal, and still have cap space left. So could this and a desire to keep this 61-win team together lead to San Antonio pushing to keep Dewayne Dedmon?
Dedmon became a defensive spark for the Spurs, emerging as a backup rim protector for the team. He was a good change of pace from Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge, whose games have moved away from the basket.
If Dedmon sticks around, he could fill this role again and continue keeping things looking similar. It wouldn’t be the worst fit and even makes sense for him to come back to.
Next: Dedmon Had His Best Season in San Antonio
3. Dedmon Had His Best Season in San Antonio
Prior to the 2016-17 season, Dewayne Dedmon played three years in the NBA, joining the Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic. He never averaged above 5 points and 5 rebounds per game for any of these teams, but that changed in San Antonio.
In Dedmon’s only season with the Spurs, he put up 5.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game in 17.5 minutes. These all matched or were career-highs for the USC product, as he emerged in a backup center role on one of the best teams in the NBA.
With things clicking for Dedmon in the Alamo City, who’s to say he won’t return to the place he played his best basketball in?
While other factors go into this, Dedmon had a leading role off the bench for the Spurs. He may not get this anywhere else, especially if teams near the bottom of the league pursue him to be their starting center. That would potentially come with more money, but would the situation work?
Maybe if Dedmon returns to San Antonio, Gregg Popovich taps even more into his potential. Would his numbers further take off? It’s a risk worth taking if the Spurs see a future in this center.
Next: Backup Center was Never Filled
2. The Spurs Never Filled the Backup Center Role
It’s still early in NBA free agency, but the San Antonio Spurs haven’t filled the backup center role yet. So far, Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge and Davis Bertans are the only big men under contract for next season, and the latter two are mostly power forwards at the respective stages of their careers.
The Spurs were hardly rumored in backup center options in free agency, so it’s possible they’re discussing a reunion with Dedmon. That’s only speculation, but given the lack of hype around Patty Mills re-signing with San Antonio, maybe this is going on behind the scenes.
Dedmon played the backup center role well for the Spurs, acting as am active defensive presence off the bench. He even got the chance to start 37 games, putting up the previously-noted career-high numbers in points, rebounds, field goal percentage and minutes.
Dedmon could easily step into this role for the 2017-18 season, if the price is right. He’s proven to be able to handle this role on a top team, so with how well he performed, why wouldn’t the Black and Silver at least consider bringing him back?
Plenty of backup center options remain in free agency, some of which may come cheap. For familiarity, though, don’t rule out Dedmon’s return.
Next: Money is Drying Up
1. Could Dedmon Turn into the Starter?
Dedmon played 76 games and started 37 of them in the 2016-17 season, so the starter’s experience is there. However, could that turn into a bigger role for the next campaign?
Dedmon would battle with Pau Gasol for the full-time starting role at center. Gasol will decline his player option and return on a smaller annual salary.
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In the Spaniard’s lone season in San Antonio, he put up just 12 points and 7 rebounds per game in 25 minutes, which is well below what he did in Memphis, Los Angeles and Chicago. That may be evidence of the decreased minutes, but also potentially due to age.
Gasol played last season at age 36 and will turn 37 on July 6. He’s not getting any older, so could signs of a decline start by this fall? It’s possible, but his Per 36 Minutes numbers weren’t down much from his previous season with the Bulls (17.5 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 2017; 18.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 2016).
If Gasol starts to fall, Dedmon could step in. His own Per 36 numbers have been sharp over the past two seasons. It’s seen him average 11.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. So the double-double potential is there as a starter, along with an increased presence as a rim protector.
Dedmon hasn’t averaged above 20 minutes per game in the NBA, however. Could that be an issue for the 27-year-old?
Will Dedmon return to the San Antonio Spurs? If not, who could sign him?