San Antonio Spurs News

San Antonio Spurs: 3 potential replacements for Brandon Paul’s roster spot

By Rob Wolkenbrod
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JULY 3: Jaron Blossomgame #15 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Atlanta Hawks on July 3, 2018 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. 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 Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JULY 3: Jaron Blossomgame #15 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Atlanta Hawks on July 3, 2018 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. 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 Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
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SALT LAKE CITY, UT – JULY 3: Jaron Blossomgame #15 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Atlanta Hawks on July 3, 2018 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. 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 Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – JULY 3: Jaron Blossomgame #15 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the game against the Atlanta Hawks on July 3, 2018 at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. 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 Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

Brandon Paul is out, but who can the San Antonio Spurs use to replace him?

The San Antonio Spurs had a decision to make before Aug. 1 on Brandon Paul‘s contract for the 2018-19 season. If they kept him, a guaranteed $1.37 million salary would go his way — originally signing a two-year deal out of the Summer League in 2017.

With Paul’s departure, the Spurs have one open roster spot for 2018-19; potentially two if Manu Ginobili retires. They do not have to fill it, but, if desired, there are players to handle the last placement on the squad.

Who can become part of this season’s roster? Let’s take a look:

3. Jaron Blossomgame

At No. 58 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs selected Jaron Blossomgame. Sometimes, second round picks do not make a dent in the NBA or ever appear. But after a solid stint in the G League and an impressive Summer League performance, he should stand a chance at a roster spot.

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In 50 G-League games, Blossomgame averaged 16.5 points and 8.2 rebounds on 54.5 percent shooting. The outside game is not there, but he still took 1.5 attempts per game.

In the NBA Summer League, Blossomgame had 13 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. So the production remained steady, with the potential of a role player in the NBA that gets his shots and does the dirty work under the boards.

It’s all enough for the Spurs to give Blossomgame an extended look, but it’s at the risk of his rights.

San Antonio can bring Blossomgame to training camp. However, if the staff feels he does not deserve a roster spot, he must be waived and have the chance to join the other 29 teams. The Spurs may sign him to a two-way contract, but that restricts their use of him, too.

So, there’s still a chance for the Spurs to send Blossomgame to the G League and let him continue to improve. It would not be the worst thing, with 14 players potentially ahead of him, but will the organization provide a chance, anyway?

Next: Chimezie Metu

LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 8: Chimezie Metu #10 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Washington Wizards during the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League on July 8, 2018 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. 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 Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 8: Chimezie Metu #10 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Washington Wizards during the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League on July 8, 2018 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. 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 Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

2. Chimezie Metu

Chimezie Metu has a somewhat similar situation to Jaron Blossomgame, as the San Antonio Spurs selected him in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft; except it starts from the beginning, potentially, with a trip to the G League.

The Spurs in recent years have brought their draftees along slowly; Dejounte Murray and Derrick White both spent extended time in the G League, even with consistent call-ups to the NBA roster; Blossomgame, who did not sign a contract, remained there under San Antonio’s watchful eye, too.

For Metu, especially after his fractured wrist, it may make the organization take a step back in how quickly they move him. Especially with LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Jakob Poeltl and a host of stretch fours on the roster, it does not leave much of an opportunity for the USC product.

However, if the Spurs want to extend their frontcourt depth, Metu has the shot-blocking ability to fill this role, as a third-string center behind Gasol and Poeltl. They have a dearth of guards and versatile forwards as it is, and the Spurs have proven to go against trends, including the knack for two-pointers in the 2017-18 season.

Along with the potential two-way deal, mostly everything points against Metu as the 15th man. Though, with his recent selection in the NBA Draft, it obviously helps his chances since the Spurs own his rights, despite not yet agreeing to a contract.

Next: David Nwaba

BOSTON, MA – APRIL 6: David Nwaba #11 of the Chicago Bulls dribbles during a game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on April 6, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. 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. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
BOSTON, MA – APRIL 6: David Nwaba #11 of the Chicago Bulls dribbles during a game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on April 6, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. 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. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

1. David Nwaba

Nearly three weeks ago, the Chicago Bulls revoked their qualifying offer to David Nwaba, which made him a free agent. There was interest in him, but so far, no one has signed him, even as August arrives.

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The San Antonio Spurs were among the teams interested in Nwaba, but before the Kawhi Leonard trade happened. No reports have indicated a change in desire, so let’s assume he’s a possibility to join the roster for the 2018-19 season.

Nwaba brings a perimeter defensive presence to the table as his main quality, which the Spurs need after the loss of Danny Green. DeMar DeRozan will not replicate that and neither will Marco Belinelli. Maybe Lonnie Walker IV or Derrick White has that upside, but neither are proven commodities at the NBA level.

Offensively, Nwaba brings a raw skill set to the table. He’s athletic, but only averaged just 8 points per game in 23.5 minutes and only took 52 three-pointers in 70 games.

Would this push Nwaba ahead of a crowded Spurs backcourt? Belinelli, DeRozan, Walker, White, Bryn Forbes and Manu Ginobili all have the ability to play shooting guard. Brandon Paul may be gone, but someone would potentially suffer the consequences of another player at a crowded position.

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The Spurs have not been connected to other players, however, so it makes Nwaba a possibility. Will they bring him aboard at the last man on the roster?

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