The San Antonio Spurs have a crucial off-season coming up. Each of these three low-risk free agent signings could help the team get back to the playoffs.
Last summer didn’t go exactly as the San Antonio Spurs had hoped. Their attempt at signing Marcus Morris didn’t go as planned and as a result, they lost Davis Bertans for nothing. Well, they did get a handful of minutes from DeMarre Carroll before buying him out of his contract so next to nothing.
San Antonio faces a few important free-agent decisions this summer. Both Marco Belinelli and Bryn Forbes will be unrestricted free agents. DeMar DeRozan has a player option worth close to $28 million and has given no indication as to what he will do with it. Finally, after declining to offer him one earlier in the year, the Spurs could offer an extension to Jakob Poeltl.
In order to avoid a similarly disappointing season in 2020-21, San Antonio could look to make improvements through free agency. The 2020 free agent group isn’t as loaded as last year’s and doesn’t come close to the upcoming star-filled summer of 2021 but there are still quite a few low-risk value signings to be had. These three upcoming free-agents could all help the Spurs get back to form next year.
Next: Defensive help
After coming to Chicago with Zach LaVine in 2017, Kris Dunn could be on the move this summer. The Bulls could offer him a restricted free agent by extending him a qualifying offer or they can hold back and let him enter the open market.
One of the Spurs noticeable weaknesses this season has been their perimeter defense. One of the quickest ways to improve would be to bring in Dunn. While his offensive game hasn’t gotten much better since his college days, Dunn has become one of the league’s best perimeter defenders.
Before going down with an MCL sprain, Dunn was a nightmare on defense. He was racking up steals for a Chicago team that was severely lacking in defense-focused guards. His 3.8 percent steal percentage was first in the league and he was second in the NBA in steals per game.
Adding Dunn could seem a little redundant, San Antonio already has imposing defenders at point guard. Dunn led the league in steal percentage but was closely followed by Dejounte Murray. Murray is also right on Dunn’s heels in steals per game, coming in at ninth in the league with 1.7 per game. But pairing Dunn with Dejounte would instantly give the Spurs one of the most fearsome defensive guard combinations in the league.
Derrick White is no slouch on defense either, but if Spurs get out-bid on Forbes this summer he could be in line for the starting shooting guard role. He and Murray have expressed that they want to play together more, that would be a near necessity if Forbes is gone next year. White’s move to the starting lineup would open up a great role for Dunn to fill.
Dunn won’t bring much on the offensive end but he could help give the Spurs a three-headed monster to terrorize opposing backcourts with. In a conference filled with dynamic guard duos that could be exactly the kind of edge the Spurs need to get ahead.
Next: An emerging big man
He’s put in the time, and the miles, now Christian Wood is finally getting his breakout moment. He hasn’t spent more than one season with a team since he’s come into the league but that’s sure to change this summer. Wood is entering the summer as an unrestricted free agent and is in line for a nice multi-year deal.
After an inconsistent start to the season, Wood has been found his groove since February. He’s averaging 19 points and 9.3 rebounds per game with 37 percent 3-point shooting over that time. He’s started seven games over that stretch and proven that he could fill that role on a nightly basis for a team.
He’s a consistent floor stretching option and would compliment LaMarcus Aldridge well, at least for a year. Aldridge and Rudy Gay are both unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2021. If San Antonio decided to move on from the two veterans, Wood would be a nice option to have. He’s in the same age range as the rest of the Spurs key young players and hungry for an opportunity.
As Wood told Lauren Williams with Michigan Live, his journey this season has given him even more confidence going forward.
“Whatever comes my way, I feel like I’m ready. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, I’m ready to move and I feel like, I’m sure that over the course of the year, you know, me coming off the bench and playing and starting and playing I felt like I showed that I could seize the opportunity every single time.”
If they are unable to snag a promising forward in the upcoming draft, signing Wood would give San Antonio another versatile big man to build around.
Next: The Kings mistake can be a win for Spurs
Our friends over at A Royal Pain recently teed off on the Kings for declining Harry Giles‘s option this summer, and boy were they right. The Kings banana’s decision to let Giles become a free-agent this summer may frustrate Sacramento fans but it could be a blessing for the Spurs.
Giles is a real-life example of a movie script comeback story. He looked like a future star coming out of high school and was the top recruit in his class. Then the knee injuries started piling up. Giles underwent numerous knee surgeries late in high school and in his one season at Duke. Now in his second season with the Kings, Giles has finally found his role and is growing every day.
Like Wood, Giles is a multi-skilled big man who would fit well alongside the up and coming running Spurs. He’s athletic, loves to run in fast break, and has the handle and vision to push the pace on his own when he has the opportunity.
Giles has upside but there’s still a lot of work to be done. He doesn’t protect the rim particularly well, he’s averaging just .9 blocks per 36 minutes, and he doesn’t shoot the long ball. He’s shot just 6 3-pointers over the course of his NBA career.
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There’s reason to believe that Giles could eventually expand his game out behind the arc. He’s connecting on 38 percent of his shots between 16 feet and the 3-point line, it could just be a matter of taking a few more steps back before shooting it. We’ve seen LaMarcus Aldridge transform his game by taking similar steps, Giles could do the same.
San Antonio already has a promising young trio in Chimezie Metu, Luka Samanic, and Jakob Poeltl. Swiping Giles away from the Kings would give them another grinder to help complement their athletic group of guards. As Buddy Hield told James Ham with NBC Sports Bay Area, doing all the little things is what Giles does best.
“I think Harry’s probably the reason why we’re winning,” Buddy Hield said of Giles. “His energy, the way he moves without the ball, he screens, he competes – yeah, he makes some silly fouls, but s–t, that’s Harry man, he’s going to compete his a– off.”
His injury history does make him a greater risk than Wood or Dunn but Giles is younger than both of them and could be an intriguing piece to add if the Spurs are looking to start a rebuild. And as the Kings declining his option could be taken as a sign of bad faith, Giles might be looking for a new place to play next season. Coming to the Alamo City and learning from Tim Duncan would be a great play for the growing big man.
All of these potential signings hinge on how DeMar DeRozan decides to handle his player option. That will be the domino that starts off the San Antonio Spurs off-season, every move the team makes will be a ripple effect from that. It’s sure to be an exciting summer for the silver and black, let’s just hope it goes better than last year.