San Antonio Spurs Free Agency

Spurs free-agent predictions: Kyle Anderson

By Rob Wolkenbrod
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 11: Kyle Anderson #1 of the San Antonio Spurs reacts after a timeout during the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 11, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 11: Kyle Anderson #1 of the San Antonio Spurs reacts after a timeout during the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 11, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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The San Antonio Spurs will have a number of free agents, including Kyle Anderson. Will he leave in restricted free agency?

The San Antonio Spurs stand a chance at losing seven players to free agency. Only one of them — Tony Parker — will be an unrestricted free agent, however, so the organization can retain most of this group under team or player control.

An interesting case will be Kyle Anderson, who’s set to hit restricted free agency this offseason. He wrapped up a four-year rookie contract with the Silver and Black that began in 2014, upon being selected in the first round of that year’s draft.

Both Anderson and the Spurs have a decision to make: will an offer sheet from another organization be accepted, and if so, will San Antonio match it?

A Career Year

Before the 2017-18 season, Kyle Anderson’s value did not seem grand, due to his consistent but low playing time from 2014-17. It was on just 3.7 points per game and 2.9 rebounds on 44.2 percent shooting. Not enough to stand out and potentially unlikely to make noise on the open market.

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Then came Kawhi Leonard’s quad injury which opened Anderson’s role. He went from locked on the bench to locked in the starting lineup, arguably benefiting more than anyone on the Spurs (aside from LaMarcus Aldridge).

Anderson started a career-high 67 games, with an average of 7.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 52.7 percent shooting in 26.7 minutes. These do not flash as stellar numbers, but when needed, he provided a little bit of everything for the Spurs and stayed efficient in the process.

Aside from that, Anderson worked as a terrific defender, tied for the highest Defensive Rating on the team (101) in the 2017-18 season. Partially attribute that to a career-high 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks per game.

Basically, there was plenty to like in Anderson’s potential walk year. If anything, it added to his open-market value. How much, though, especially to other teams, remains to be seen.

A Career Year But…

Sure, Anderson had a career year, but what is this production’s value? That’s a question the Spurs must answer this offseason, pending another team makes an offer sheet.

Anderson brings defensive value, sure, but the points-per-game output does not resemble a starting small forward. His 7.9 points were the third-lowest mark of anyone to start at least 60 games in 2017-18, with Aron Baynes (6.0) and OG Anunoby (5.9) as the only players with lower marks.

If the Spurs think there’s more offensive potential than this, then an extended investment could be worth it, to make the UCLA product a more all-around player. However, if fences mend with Leonard and an extension happens, it puts Anderson on the bench, in his old role, so could a qualifying offer actually be rescinded?

Next: 2018 NBA Mock Draft: After the lottery

Prediction

Anderson has defensive value, a limited offensive game may cap his value for the Spurs, who do not have much money to spend this offseason. Look for them to make a qualifying offer, but for another organization to hand out a multi-year offer sheet. It may not be as a starter, but with the right money and the chance Leonard returns to the Spurs, it could lead to a mutual parting of ways.

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