Jan. 1 was the halfway mark to 2018 free agency. The San Antonio Spurs will have multiple players hit the market, so where do they stand?
July 1 starts the NBA’s New Year. Contracts expire, money gets handed out and it’s all part of the most chaotic time of the year. That’s not usually the case for the San Antonio Spurs, who usually build through the NBA Draft and make low key free-agent signings (Rudy Gay, Joffrey Lauvergne, Brandon Paul in 2017).
When 2018 hit, it marked the halfway point toward July’s free-agent period. It’s too early to tell if the Spurs will be active, but multiple players are expected to hit the open market.
A shade under six months before, where do the impending free agents stand? Let’s take a look:
Tony Parker’s contract will be the most expensive one to leave the books at over $15.4 million. It would be a surprise to see him receive a contract in this ballpark, given the past five years of declining production and minutes and the torn quad that sidelined Parker for most of the fall.
Through Jan. 4, Parker has played 15 games, averaging 9.0 points and 4.1 assists on 52 percent shooting. It’s via a career-low 21.2 minutes.
The Frenchman wants one last contract in San Antonio. He could get it, but a future role may be in question, whether the Spurs choose to start Dejounte Murray or acquire outside help at point guard. There should at least be a backup spot available, similar to Manu Ginobili‘s deployment of the past few years.
Aside from a stint on the Cleveland Cavaliers, Danny Green has been a Spur for life. That may change in July, however, if he opts out of a $10-million player option.
For 2017-18, Green’s numbers are slightly ahead of his past two seasons, with 8.6 points and 3.6 rebounds on 41 percent shooting and 38.7 percent from behind the arc. Along with the strong presence on the perimeter, the former Tar Heel has played his part.
Could Green receive more on the open market? He’ll be 31-years-old by July 1, and older age means fewer opportunities for getting a multi-year contract. What if he opts in, has the worst year of his career and saps any remaining value?
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the North Babylon, NY native choose free agency and eye that long-term deal. Whether it’s with the Spurs or someone else, look for this to happen.
Next: Rudy Gay and Kyle Anderson
This may be the most interesting of all the player options, for the San Antonio Spurs. Rudy Gay signed a two-year deal in July 2017, at a lower rate from the $14 million he could have made on the Sacramento Kings. He hadn’t played since suffering a ruptured Achilles in January, so there was risk all over this transaction.
In 34 games, in a sixth-man role, Gay averaged 11.5 points on 47.6 shooting. The points mark is the second lowest of his career, but in the fewest minutes per game of his 11 years (22.7).
A right heel injury recently put Gay on the shelf, potentially for two weeks and beyond. Obviously, it won’t help his offseason value, if he plans on opting out. A strong end to the season could lead to him eyeing a bigger contract and a starting role on another team, but he can also stay in San Antonio and keep the same role. It’s something everyone should get a better feel for near the end of the season.
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) December 29, 2017
The 2017-18 season looks like Kyle Anderson’s breakout. He started during Kawhi Leonard‘s absence, and began to shed the role-player mantra that surrounded him for the previous three seasons. The UCLA product couldn’t get past Leonard or find an opportunity via injury. So, when this arose in the fall, he took advantage.
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Anderson provided steady production at forward, complimenting LaMarcus Aldridge‘s scoring and doing enough to contribute to a third place standing for the Silver and Black. He still gets starting chances, too, when Leonard sits for “return from injury management.”
However, the Spurs may have an offseason issue. Anderson can be a restricted free agent, meaning the organization can match any offer he receives, as long as it first makes a qualifying offer (somewhere between $2-3 million). If another team likes him enough, it can make an offer that the Spurs can’t touch, especially after the money they handed out to Aldridge and Pau Gasol.
A full-time starting opportunity may tempt Anderson to seek outside options. If not, he can choose to accept a qualifying offer and wait to be an unrestricted free agent in 2019, when the Spurs can’t have the advantage.
Next: Joffrey Lauvergne, Davis Bertans and Bryn Forbes
The Spurs gave Joffrey Lauvergne a two-year deal, with a player option for a second year. It was on the veteran’s minimum.
After suffering an ankle injury and finding trouble staying in the rotation, it could lead to Lauvergne’s offseason departure. That’s unless he wants to guarantee one more year of financial security, instead of testing the market and potentially striking out.
It’s difficult to tell which direction the Frenchman will go. So, it could depend on what happens to his role.
Davis Bertans sits in a similar situation to Anderson. He can be a restricted free agent, but they don’t share the same value. Anderson’s starting opportunities boosted it, while sporadic appearances and a one-dimensional offensive repertoire haven’t helped the Latvian forward.
2018 NBA teams covet outside shooting, however, so it’s possible someone falls in love with Bertans’ 3-point shot and makes him a multi-year offer. He provides size and length, but if someone makes a pricey offer, would the Spurs let him go?
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) January 4, 2018
Bryn Forbes closes the list of potential free agents. He bounced between the G-League and the NBA in his rookie season, but turned that around in his sophomore campaign, which began with a strong performance in the 2017 Summer League.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has shown little hesitation with Forbes. He starts the shooting guard when Danny Green can’t play. If not, there’s always an in-game role for the Michigan State product, who played in every game this season, to the tune of 40 percent 3-point shooting for 6.9 points.
Will Forbes get a big offseason deal? Maybe not. Given the Spurs’ deployment of him and the potentially low cost of his services, it’s possible the organization gives him a short-term deal to stay. Restricted free agent status could change this, as other teams can make an offer. Brandon Paul is under contract, too, in 2018-19, on the minimum salary. Will that be insurance for a potential Forbes departure?