San Antonio could use some extra depth on the wing this season, and the Spurs rumors of a reunion with Jonathon Simmons could help solve that problem.
According to Sean Deveney of the Sporting News, former San Antonio swingman Jonathon Simmons will be on the trade market this season which has fired up the mill of Spurs rumors as we near the trade deadline.
Simmons emerged as a versatile wing during his two seasons in San Antonio, but he’s been a disappointment in Orlando after they signed him as a free agent in the summer of 2017.
Simmons’ playing time has decreased as he’s fallen out of the Magic’s starting lineup this season, and it looks like they’re willing to move on from him.
The Spurs don’t have much depth behind Rudy Gay at the wing position, and we’ve seen the team struggle a bit when he’s been sidelined with injuries twice this season.
What would a Jonathon Simmons trade look like, does he fit in the current iteration of the Spurs, and what would San Antonio have to give up in a potential deal?
Next: Jonathon Simmons' time with the Spurs
Jonathon Simmons’ time with the Spurs
Jonathon Simmons’ winding path to the NBA was well-documented during his time in San Antonio as he was yet another successful reclamation project by the Spurs’ organization.
Simmons broke into the Spurs’ rotation in 2015-16 where he scored 6 points with 1.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 14.8 minutes per game. Simmons’ playing time increased to 17.8 minutes per game in 2016-17 where he slightly improved in the points, rebounds and assists categories.
Simmons had a true shooting percentage of 58.6% in 2015-16 compared to 50.4% in 2016-17, but his real plus-minus numbers were much better in 2016-17 than 2015-16 thanks to a major improvement on defense.
Simmons would enter Pop’s doghouse every once in a while due to a lack of discipline, but he ended up playing very well in 20.4 minutes per game in the 2016-17 playoffs.
That performance ultimately landed him a three-year $20 million contract in Orlando the following offseason.
Next: Simmons' fit in San Antonio
Simmons’ fit in San Antonio
Players like Jeremy Lamb have been able to exploit that weakness while Gay has been on the sidelines.
Gay is expected to return soon, but San Antonio needs to add one or two reliable wing defenders to their roster in order to earn home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Simmons has been a solid defender this season in Orlando, and we’ve seen him succeed at that end of the floor in Gregg Popovich’s system.
I think Simmons could play an important role on this team and may be worth a flier for the rest of the season.
Next: What would the Spurs have to give up?
What would the Spurs have to give up?
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Simmons is technically in the second year of a three-year contract, but only $1 million of his salary for 2019-20 is guaranteed so it wouldn’t be difficult to dump him after this season.
With that contract structure, the Spurs would really only be committing to a one-year rental of Simmons
Each team’s salary cap situation could make this a difficult deal.
San Antonio couldn’t absorb Simmons’ salary without clearing some room. The Spurs could try to involve Pau Gasol and Quincy Pondexter in a deal, and Orlando could send Terrance Ross, who has also been involved in trade rumors, along with Simmons while the two teams figure out draft compensation.
Or the two organizations could try to find a third team to take on some salary in exchange for draft compensation.
The easiest scenario would involve the Magic buying out the remainder of Simmons’ contract and San Antonio signing him to a minimum contract after that buyout.
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If the reports are true that the Magic are shopping Simmons near the trade deadline, I think the Spurs should strongly consider making a move for one of their former players whether it be via trade or buyout.