Spurs rumors: Noah Vonleh was targeted in free agency
By Rob Wolkenbrod
Before Noah Vonleh’s decision to sign with the New York Knicks, the San Antonio Spurs were in on him in free agency.
The San Antonio Spurs addressed their center and power forward depth via trade and free agency, with the acquisitions of Jakob Poeltl from the Toronto Raptors and Dante Cunningham from the open market. Both should fill depth roles behind LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol in the 2017-18 season.
However, at one point, the Spurs were in one another player to go behind Aldridge and Gasol.
According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, San Antonio was among the teams interested in Noah Vonleh, who signed with the New York Knicks on July 24. The Cleveland Cavaliers were Vonleh’s second choice, and the Milwaukee Bucks were also in the running.
Vonleh, drafted in 2014 out of Indiana, spent the past four seasons with the Charlotte Hornets, Portland Trail Blazers and Chicago Bulls. Despite his selection at No. 9 overall, he never averaged more than 4.9 points and 5.8 rebounds in a season; albeit those numbers were from the 2017-18 season, showing signs of growth.
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The Spurs signed Cunningham nearly one week before Vonleh joined the Knicks, so it’s possible they were targeted to join the roster together. Although, it’s not noted when the Silver and Black were in on Vonleh, and they were not in the top two to sign the 22 year old, making the odds not high for the connection, anyway.
At this young age, Vonleh still has the chance to fulfill the upside of a lottery pick and will receive that chance with the Knicks in 2018-19, with Kristaps Porzingis shelved with a torn ACL and an unknown set-up for how head coach David Fizdale will handle his frontcourt minutes.
For the Spurs, they have the depth at center and power forward already, but the pick-up of Vonleh could have provided intrigue, especially on just $1.5 million for 2018-19. Either way, with 14 players on the roster, they will move forward.