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San Antonio Spurs: If Brandon Paul stays, where does he fit?

By Rob Wolkenbrod
PORTLAND, OR - JANUARY 7 : (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been converted to black and white) Brandon Paul #3 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on January 7, 2018 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR - JANUARY 7 : (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been converted to black and white) Brandon Paul #3 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on January 7, 2018 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The San Antonio Spurs have not announced a decision on Brandon Paul’s contract for the 2018-19 season. If he stays, where does he fit?

An Aug. 1 deadline on Brandon Paul‘s contract nears. The San Antonio Spurs can either waive his $1.37 million salary and not have it count towards the 2018-19 season’s salary cap or not announce anything and keep him on the roster.

If Paul stays, San Antonio’s roster will sit full at 15 players. They have two-way contracts to fill to bring the group to 17, along with training camp invitees before the season starts to bring the total to 20.

Of course the Spurs might keep Paul past Aug. 1 and still waive him. Though, it means his salary sticks on the roster, and if it’s stretched, it goes through the 2019-10 season.

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For however long San Antonio potentially has Paul, there’s no clear-cut fit for him on the 2018-19 roster, which brings this upcoming decision into question. It’s due to the arrivals of Marco Belinelli, DeMar DeRozan and Lonnie Walker IV, the second year call-up of Derrick White and the re-signing of Bryn Forbes. That’s without the mention of Manu Ginobili.

Walker can go to the G League, White may continue to be brought along slowly and DeRozan and Belinelli can slide to the small forward spot, but that’s without the mention of Dante Cunningham and Rudy Gay at the three. It does not guarantee anything for Paul, who could find himself at the end of the bench, again.

There’s also potential competition from Jaron Blossomgame, the organization’s 2017 second-round pick that had 13 points and 7.6 rebounds in the Summer League. The Spurs can bring him in for training camp, but risk losing the Clemson product’s rights if he does not make the Opening Night roster.

If there’s not enough confidence in Blossomgame or another Austin standout to make the roster, then is Paul’s spot secured? If that’s the case and the Spurs do not sign another free agent, it’s possible.

The Spurs may like Paul’s development from last season, anyway, and give it another chance, at an inexpensive rate, to see if upside remains. If not, and someone else comes along midseason that’s worthy of a pickup, a waive-and-stretch situation is valid, even if the money counts against the cap. (Or a trade that solves this hypothetical scenario.)

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Paul’s rotation spot would hardly be a guarantee, with draft picks and offseason acquisitions ahead of him. This may lead to his departure, or for the Spurs to keep him in case another flurry of injuries arises.

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