San Antonio Spurs: 2019 Free Agent Wing Targets
By Andrew Ites
The San Antonio Spurs suffered from a lack of depth at the wing position last season, but they have an opportunity to address that weakness in free agency.
The San Antonio Spurs don’t come into the 2019 offseason with a ton of financial flexibility, but they do have access to the non-taxpayer Mid-Level Exception to improve their roster.
The non-taxpayer Mid-Level Exception is expected to be worth around $9.2 million this summer, and the Spurs have the option of using it all on one player or splitting it up among multiple free agents.
Outside of that $9.2 million, San Antonio doesn’t have the resources to go out and make a huge splash in free agency.
Fortunately, nearly half of the players in the league are becoming unrestricted free agents this offseason so the Spurs should have plenty of options to choose from as they decide who to spend that non-taxpayer Mid-Level Exception on.
That list of free agents includes some players who may be available for less than $10 million and would fit perfectly into that void on the wing that the Spurs noticed last season.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at some of those free agent wings who will be available this summer and whether they would be good fits in San Antonio.
Next: Jeremy Lamb
At 26 years old, Jeremy Lamb is one of the youngest free agents on this list and he provides the most upside.
Unfortunately Lamb has an extremely slight frame at 185 pounds, which could prevent him from defending some of the bigger wings that the Spurs will go up against.
But Lamb excelled in a sixth man role in Charlotte after the All-Star break, and he could be the type of microwave scorer with some defensive tools (14th among shooting guards in defensive real plus-minus last season) that San Antonio needs.
Lamb made around $7 million per year on his previous contract, and it’s possible that San Antonio could convince him to take around $9 million per season on his new deal.
Lamb’s skillset does overlap a bit with Lonnie Walker‘s, and it seems like the Spurs plan on giving their second-year guard more minutes next season.
I would like to see San Antonio add a young player like Lamb with their non-taxpayer Mid-Level Exception, but I just don’t think he’s a great fit with the current roster.
Next: Al-Farouq Aminu
Like many of the players on this list, Al-Farouq Aminu is coming to the end of a four-year deal (worth $30 million.)
While the Portland forward is a pretty streaky shooter, he has been a prime example of the three-and-D wing that has become such a coveted asset in this league.
Aminu has shot over 35% from three during his four years with the Blazers, and he ranked among the top 20 power forwards in defensive real plus-minus this season.
The 6-foot-9-inch forward has an enormous wingspan and he’s able to move his feet extremely well for a player with his size.
Aminu also doesn’t demand the ball as much as some of the other players on this list, which would fit in well with LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan. If he can get more consistent with his shot, Aminu would become the ultimate modern NBA player.
I’d love to see him do that in a Spurs uniform if San Antonio can convince him to sign for a little less than $10 million per year.
Next: Marcus Morris
The San Antonio Spurs need a forward who has the size to guard larger opposing wings and can stretch the floor with solid three-point shooting. Marcus Morris can do both of those things.
Morris shot 37.5% from three in Boston this season, and he was able to create good offense for himself down the stretch when the Celtics needed him too.
Morris also has good size at 6’9″ and 235 pounds to guard wings that the Spurs had trouble stopping last season.
The former Kansas Jayhawk’s four-year, $20 million contract is expiring this summer and there will be plenty of teams that covet his skillset.
I’m not exactly sure what Morris will earn on the open market, but it’s very possible that San Antonio could snatch him up on a deal that is worth a little under $10 million per year.
If they can negotiate that type of contract, I think Morris would be solid addition for the Spurs.
Next: Trevor Ariza
After spending four seasons with the Houston Rockets, Ariza decided to chase the money a bit last offseason and sign a one-year, $15 million deal with Phoenix.
But when the Suns found out they would not be making a leap to the postseason this year, they traded Ariza to Washington as a part of the Kelly Oubre deal.
The Wizards’ front office spoke about their desire to re-sign Ariza during the season, but they will now be under new management and we don’t know if they believe Ariza has a future in Washington.
The 33-year-old forward saw his defensive real plus-minus numbers dip towards the bottom of the league this season, but that could possibly be explained by playing on two of the league’s worst defensive teams in Phoenix and Washington.
Ariza is a career 35% three-point shooter, and his veteran know-how could be useful to a Spurs team that struggled on defense last season.
Ultimately, I think there are better free agent options than Ariza this summer, and I wouldn’t want to spend the Spurs’ limited resources on a small forward who will be 34 next season.
Next: Danny Green
The return of Danny Green would help the Spurs’ situation on the wing a ton.
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The former Spur would add some much-needed three-point shooting to the squad as he shot a scorching 45.5% from downtown with Toronto this season. And we all know Green is one of the league’s best wing defenders as he ranked first among shooting guards in defensive real plus-minus this year.
San Antonio signed Green to a four-year, $40 million contract extension in the summer of 2015, and that deal is set to expire this offseason after the Spurs traded him to the Raptors last July.
It remains to be seen whether the former North Carolina Tar Heel would be open to a return to San Antonio.
Green never had the best relationship with Gregg Popovich during his eight seasons with the Spurs, and he even took a swipe at his old coach recently by saying that Nick Nurse listens to player feedback more than Pop ever did.
It’s also difficult to see Green signing back with a team that just traded him 12 months ago, but crazier things have happened in this league.
If Danny Green is willing to swallow his pride a bit and take around $9.2 million a year, he would be a perfect fit on the court for San Antonio.
Check out our other lists of potential free agent targets: