San Antonio Spurs: What the Joffrey Lauvergne Signing Means

By Rob Wolkenbrod
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 16: Joffrey Lauvergne
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 16: Joffrey Lauvergne
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The San Antonio Spurs will bring in Joffrey Lauvergne on a two-year deal, with plenty of effect on the team.

On Monday, The Vertical’s Shams Charania reported the San Antonio Spurs’ acquisition of Joffrey Lauvergne, as they signed him to a two-year contract. Lauvergne recently became an unrestricted free agent after the Chicago Bulls pulled his contract tender.

At 6-foot-11, Lauvergne can man either the power forward or center spot. Given that the Spurs never re-signed backups, David Lee and Dewayne Dedmon, it’s possible the French big man is one of their replacements. That leaves an interesting scenario for the team’s rotation for the 2017-18 season.

Lauvergne isn’t known as a shot-blocking big man, given he averaged just 0.2 blocks per game through three seasons. He’s mostly known for his solid post game and outside shooting, the latter of which climbed to 33 percent from beyond the arc — a career high — last season. It’s likely not going to lead to many starts, but as a backup that fills in from time to time.

If Lauvergne, Pau Gasol, Davis Bertans, LaMarcus Aldridge and one more veteran-minimum signing becomes the big-man rotation, then potentially look for the former three to come off the bench. It’s due to neither Lauvergne or Bertans being rim presences, including the former’s lack of length. Bertans won’t block many shots, and is someone that can stretch the floor as a four in limited action.

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The Spurs can make Gasol a supersub off the bench, getting around 25 minutes per game like he did last season. He only started 39 of the 64 games he plated, too, so he’s already taken a lesser role on this contending team.

By having Gasol off the bench, it spaces out San Antonio’s two rim protectors, with the other being Aldridge in the starting lineup. The Texas product isn’t known as an elite presence at the goal, but averages a steady block per game for his career. That could leave Aldridge, Rudy Gay, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Dejounte Murray as the potential opening night lineup.

As for re-signing someone like Lee or Dedmon, will that be off the table? Roster space is steadily disappearing. If Derrick White and Jaron Blossomgame are included, along with Bryn Forbes making the team, and Manu Ginobili not retiring, it leaves the roster at 14 players. That’s without Jonathon Simmons, who’s still a restricted free agent. So despite the strong seasons Lee and Dedmon provided in 2017, it looks like they could be elsewhere, barring another move or the loss of Ginobili and/or Simmons.

Next: FA Targets If Manu Ginobili Retires

It’s a potential scenario for how the Spurs could look next season. The offseason is far from over, however, so more changes may be in store.

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