San Antonio Spurs Free Agency

San Antonio Spurs: Predictions for Remaining 2017 Free Agents

By Rob Wolkenbrod
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 27: David Lee
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 27: David Lee
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San Antonio Spurs, SAN ANTONIO – APRIL 18: The logo of the San Antonio Spurs in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at AT
San Antonio Spurs, SAN ANTONIO – APRIL 18: The logo of the San Antonio Spurs in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at AT

The San Antonio Spurs have multiple free agents remaining. Will they be able to retain them?

The San Antonio Spurs became busy over the past 7-10 days. They re-signed Patty Mills, the only free agent they’re officially bringing back. Rudy Gay and Joffrey Lauvergne are the outside-the-organization pickups the team made, as they’ll man a wing and big man spot, respectively.

Six free agents remain from the Spurs, however. None of them were signed to contracts by other teams, so San Antonio may remain in play for any of these players that were part of the 2016-17 team.

Do free agents like Jonathon Simmons and Manu Ginobili have a chance of returning to San Antonio next season? Let’s predict if they will or won’t.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – FEBRUARY 8: Joel Anthony
PHILADELPHIA, PA – FEBRUARY 8: Joel Anthony

Joel Anthony

Joel Anthony remains a free agent and is a candidate to not get signed by anyone. He played in just 19 games for the San Antonio Spurs, averaging 6.4 minutes per game.

If Anthony returns to the Spurs, he’ll take on a 15th-man role, which means he’ll rarely dress. That may be for the best at this stage of his career, given his limited use as a role player since 2012.

Prediction: Won’t re-sign

Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol is technically a free agent, but is supposed to re-sign for a lesser annual salary. He’s coming off making $16 million in the 2016-17 season, and could have made the same amount next year.

When Gasol returns, he should take on the part-time starter role he had at center and power forward. The Spurs only needed the Spanish star to play 25 minutes per game, which was one of the lowest totals of his career.

Gasol’s new deal is yet to be known, but should be for multiple years. Could he get a double-digit salary?

Prediction: Will re-sign

Next: Manu Ginobili

SAN ANTONIO, TX – MAY 22: (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission with alternate crop.) Manu Ginobili
SAN ANTONIO, TX – MAY 22: (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission with alternate crop.) Manu Ginobili

Manu Ginobili

Manu Ginobili’s status is still one to follow for the 2017 offseason. He hasn’t made a formal announcement about his future, which is up in the air.

Ginobili played the 2016-17 season at age 39, which was his 15th NBA season. It saw him post a career-low of 7.5 points, 39 percent shooting and 18.7 minutes per game. Ginobili also started zero games for the third consecutive season, and in fewer minutes than his former sixth-man role.

If Ginobili were to return to the Spurs, he would take on a similar spot. He’d be a veteran leader and someone that can still shoot from beyond the arc (39 percent last season). It’s more like an eighth or ninth man off the bench.

The Spurs are stuffed at the guard spot; they have Dejounte Murray, Tony Parker, Derrick White, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Bryn Forbes (if he makes the team), and Patty Mills there. The organization letting Ginobili return wouldn’t be surprising, but at the expense of a younger player. The Argentinian, himself, may see fewer minutes, as well.

So, it’s Spurs or bust for Ginobili. If it’s the latter, he’ll get welcomed into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame, one day.

Prediction: Won’t re-sign

Next: David Lee

NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 27: David Lee
NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 27: David Lee

David Lee

David Lee was once one of the best power forwards in the NBA. However, the league transitioned to the spaced-out, athletic version that’s seen today, which contributed to Lee’s reduced role. Injuries also factored in, but the game shifted away from the power forward whose game stands close to the basket.

However, with the San Antonio Spurs, Lee developed into a quality role player. He played 79 games, averaging 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds in 18.7 minutes. No 3-pointers were attempted, but the former New York Knick provided insurance for Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge, in-game and as a replacement.

Lee is replaceable, however. With the signing of Joffrey Lauvergne, that may indicate the Florida product’s time in the Alamo City is up, or the odds of his return decreased.

There’s still a spot for Lee on someone’s bench. With the lack of veteran players getting signed, due to team’s unloading their salary cap on the biggest names, it limits opportunities for players like Lee. It could result in him receiving an opportunity to make a team, but spots are running out for him.

It’s possible no one signs Lee. He still doesn’t fit the stretch four or rim protector role of the modern-day league, so players that fit the mold will be scooped up to counter teams like the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Prediction: Won’t re-sign

Next: David Lee

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 24: Dewayne Dedmon
LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 24: Dewayne Dedmon

Dewayne Dedmon

Dewayne Dedmon played just one season with the San Antonio Spurs and impressed. He started 37 games, after doing this just 41 times in his first three years in the NBA, averaging 5.1 points and 6.5 rebounds (both were career highs).

Dedmon became a steady defensive presence at the center position, which arguably gave him extra notoriety, especially on one of the top teams in the NBA. It hasn’t been enough to land him a free-agent contract, however.

The Boston Celtics showed interest in Dedmon. After signing Aron Baynes in free agency, that may have ended their pursuit of the four-year pro.

That leaves Dedmon’s immediate future unknown since he hasn’t been subject to the chaotic NBA rumor mill. That makes it difficult to speculate where he may go, but given his rim-protecting skills from last season, someone should scoop him up.

Will the Spurs take Dedmon back? The Lauvergne signing could keep that from happening, especially with roster space decreasing, too. If they find room for the USC product on a veteran minimum deal (or a desire to go above the cap), along with Manu Ginobili retiring or roster space getting cleared out, then there’s a chance of this happening. In other words, it seems unlikely.

In other words, it seems unlikely.

Prediction: Won’t re-sign

Next: Jonathon Simmons

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 26: Jonathon Simmons
WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 26: Jonathon Simmons

Jonathon Simmons

Jonathon Simmons is the San Antonio Spurs’ highest-profile free agent remaining. He’s unlike the rest, as a restricted free agent. That means the Spurs can match any offer Simmons receives. So they’ll have every chance to retain him, but it’s possible an organization makes the price too high for RC Buford and company to equal.

Simmons drew interest from the New York Knicks. After their signing of Tim Hardaway Jr., the odds of them targeting another restricted free agent seem slim.

More from Spurs Free Agency

Losing Simmons would hurt, as he developed into one of San Antonio’s best perimeter defenders. It was only as a role player, but a valuable one like Tony Allen. Like Allen, Simmons isn’t a game-changer on the offensive end, but is athletic enough to potentially start, score a handful of points and lock down the opposition’s top guard.

The price can only be so high for a player like this, that doesn’t offer a complete two-way game. So if a team offers Simmons more than the Spurs can handle, they could let him walk. If that’s the case, Kyle Anderson may be in line for more minutes at the wing spot.

If the Spurs choose to re-sign Simmons, they’ll potentially close out the offseason with him and others that were signed or already on the team for the 2017-18 season. It may create future salary cap problems, if he doesn’t continue his development.

Prediction: Will have offer matched by Spurs

Next: FA Targets If Manu Ginobili Retires

Will any of these remaining free agents return to the San Antonio Spurs? If not, where will they sign?

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