San Antonio Spurs: Top 3 available buyout candidates
By Andrew Ites
The buyout market hasn’t been as flush as many expected, but there are still a few players available who could help the San Antonio Spurs secure a playoff berth.
The Rodeo Road Trip has gotten off to a rough start for the San Antonio Spurs, and it has exposed some of their weaknesses as we head into the stretch run of the season.
Their defense has fallen off of a cliff while Derrick White has been sidlined with another heel injury, and the Spurs aren’t getting enough offensive production from their role players to overcome their defensive woes.
San Antonio has an opportunity to improve their roster in the buyout market after some notable veterans have been waived by their former teams.
Assuming Derrick White can come back healthy after the All-Star break, the Spurs’ two biggest weaknesses lie with their big men and a lack of wing depth.
Fortunately, there are some buyout options available at those positions after all of the trade deadline madness.
Next: Omri Casspi
The Spurs’ lack of depth on the wing has been a concern all season long, which is why Rudy Gay’s impressive perfomance has been so vital to the team’s success thus far.
Marco Belinelli and Davis Bertans are outstanding shooters, but they are unable to guard the opposition’s best wing scorer off the bench and San Antonio’s overall defense has suffered as a result.
Omri Casspi isn’t a defensive stopper at this point in his career, but he’s got the type of length to disrupt opposing scorers and he can add to the three-point shooting prowess of the Spurs’ bench mob.
Casspi is available after being waived by the Grizzlies, and he could be a sneaky good signing for San Antonio.
Next: Marcin Gortat
As I said earlier, the buyout market is not the place to find game-changing stars. However, Marcin Gortat could help a team like San Antonio who has had issues at the center position all year long.
Pau Gasol finally looks washed up at age 38, and he may not be happy with the Spurs after conflicting reports of a trade request.
Also, Jakob Poeltl has failed to live up to expectations as a high-energy guy off the bench this season.
Gortat is a solid veteran who is adept at the intricacies of running the pick-and-roll, and I think he’s capable of providing 15-20 minutes at the center position during this stretch run.
Next: Markieff Morris
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I believe that Markieff Morris is the best player on the buyout market by a significant margin.
He would certainly be an upgrade over Pau and Poeltl as a backup big, and he’s capable of stretching the floor by shooting over 36% from three in two of the past three years.
Morris has reportedly been medically cleared to play after a neck injury sidelined him for much of the season, and he could have some fresh legs after missing 23 of the Wizards’ 57 games thus far.
Markieff’s athleticism could help some of the Spurs’ defensive issues as he’s able to switch onto some smaller wing players while also manning the paint along with another big man.
He transitioned pretty well to a bench role in Washington this season, and I think Markieff would welcome the chance to compete for a playoff contender again.
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I believe Markieff Morris is more talented than any of the other available buyout candidates, and he’s also a perfect fit for what the Spurs need from that position right now.