San Antonio Spurs: 3 Best Options Remaining in 2017 NBA Free Agency
By Rob Wolkenbrod
The San Antonio Spurs only re-signed Patty Mills, but there are still options for them in the free agent pool.
The San Antonio Spurs haven’t been overly active in NBA free agency, but did retain one of its own minutes into the “legal tampering” period. This came with Patty Mills re-signing, as he’ll get four years, $50 million to remain in the Black and Silver.
Other players were scooped up by franchises, but plenty remain in the available pool. That could be good news for San Antonio, as they will potentially land a player or two below market value.
Who are the top remaining targets for the Spurs, though? There’s three of them, all of whom are from outside the organization.
3. Kyle Korver
According to AmicoHoops.net, the San Antonio Spurs have an interest in Kyle Korver, formerly of the Cleveland Cavaliers. That came hours before NBA free agency began, but two days in, the Spurs and Korver haven’t agreed to a deal.
If the Spurs sign Korver, he could be a replacement for Danny Green, who was on the trade block before the 2017 NBA Draft. Korver works as a spot-up shooter, but is one of the best at it, in the league.
Where Korver wouldn’t replace Green in, is defense. The former was never known as a top-notch defender, and, if anything, may be a liability on this end of the court. That could be a concern for the Spurs, if they were to start him.
However, Korver would fit better in a bench role. He can be instant offense, pretty much serving as a sixth man that plays 20-25 minutes per game. This was done in his half-season with the Cavaliers, tallying 10.7 points per game on 48 percent shooting.
Korver to San Antonio is an interesting fit, something the organization is reportedly considering. There’s a potential spot for him on the bench, unless there are other plans. Will he become a Spur this summer?
Next: Rudy Gay
2. Rudy Gay
Hours before NBA free agency began, Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News reported the San Antonio Spurs “doing their due diligence” on Rudy Gay. It’s a fit that doesn’t immediately jump off the page, but could work.
It’s possible the Spurs see Gay as a buy-low candidate. He ruptured his left Achilles tendon in January and missed the rest of the season, with the Sacramento Kings. This was Gay’s third full season in Northern California, as he averaged 19.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.
Achilles injuries hampered other players’ careers, like the one Chauncey Billups suffered, with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2012. He returned the following season, but didn’t look like the same player and called it quits after the 2013-14 campaign.
Will Gay suffer a similar fate? That’s difficult to know until he returns to the court.
An issue could be money, as Gay has mostly been a consistent performer through his NBA career. He only averaged below 17 points per game once, and that was in his rookie season. So will the Spurs offer up the potential double-digit salary that the 2006 NBA Draft pick will want, despite the injury concerns? Or will they let him go elsewhere?
Nene looked to be off the board just minutes into NBA free agency, signing a four-year, $15 million deal to stay with the Houston Rockets. That changed, however, according to ESPN.
The Rockets weren’t allowed to give Nene a four-year deal, due to the Over 38 rule. It essentially ended the talks between the two sides:
“The fourth season of the initially proposed contract would have been during Nene’s 38th birthday. The Rockets have countered with a three-year, $10 million offer to Nene that he has not accepted, a source said.”
It’s an unfortunate situation for Nene, who could have taken this deal to his age 38 season. He’ll now have to rely on other teams offering him a multi-year deal similar to what the Rockets were willing to do. So could that mean the San Antonio Spurs sweep in?
Our own Dylan Carter looked at why the Spurs should pursue Nene, before the contract holdup. He noted the physical intensity, floor spacing and veteran leadership that the Brazilian center brings to the table, something that could be valuable to this San Antonio team that’s getting younger by the season.
Nene could backup Pau Gasol at center, spelling him for around 15 minutes per game. He did this at a 17.9 clip in the 2016-17 season, only the second time he played exclusively as a second-stringer.
Next: Top 10 First-Round Picks in Spurs History
Will these players join the Spurs this summer? Who else could be a legitimate target?