The San Antonio Spurs could use game seven of the LA Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets series to scout for potential matches in free agency.
Just because you can’t watch the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs doesn’t mean there’s nothing to watch for. Besides the intensity, NBA history and unlikely circumstances of this season, there’ll be a ripple effect from the events of these playoffs. Key free agents will participate in tonight’s Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals between the LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets. There are three players in particular for the San Antonio Spurs to keep an eye on — Two of which are Nuggets.
First and foremost is the darling of Spurs Twitter, forward Jerami Grant. With a $9.3 million player option for next season, signs point toward Grant opting out in search of a long-term contract worth a bit more on the front-end starting next season.
While Grant isn’t a world-beater, he’s the type of player that can push the needle for a Spurs team that lost its defensive identity. A versatile and lengthy defender at 6-foot-8, Grant has the athleticism and quickness to guard positions 3-through-5 more competently than anyone on San Antonio’s roster. A key component of his game is a balanced offensive attack highlighted by an improved 3-point stroke. Grant hit 38.9 percent of his triples in the regular season.
San Antonio might be able to muster up the cap space to bring Grant along in the offseason if some free agents walk. They also have their mid-level exception, but Grant is likely looking for more than San Antonio can offer him in that regard. Still, he’s someone that Spurs fans would be willing to make sacrifices to acquire in a prospective signing.
Another under-the-radar Nuggets player is Torrey Craig, who enters unrestricted free agency this offseason. Each of the three players on this list fit the bill of being energy-injectors who hustle and play with heart at every opportunity. Craig is a solid perimeter defender who participated in big moments for the Nuggets by this point. The offense is rocky, but the Spurs need players who can come up with big plays as an on-ball defender.
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The last of the three is Montrezl Harrell, who is probably the least likely option to leave his team coming off of a Sixth Man of the Year award. Chances are, he’ll get paid more money than San Antonio could afford without DeRozan walking in free agency, but the point stands that the Spurs should be looking in his direction. Harrell is one of the game’s better interior scorers, pick-and-roll finishers and offensive rebounders despite being a bit undersized.
Harrell would make a great complement for the Spurs’ current bigs who have a ton of skill but lack intensity. He’d fit in perfectly with the current core that features young wings who bring an uptempo, physical style to the table. If Poeltl walks in restricted free agency and the Spurs have enough cap space to make something work, bringing Harrell to the Alamo City would be a tremendous help.
Tonight, we get to see what these players look under pressure. While it may be a chance for them to drive up their value in the open market, it’s also a chance for NBA general managers to take a look at their game and consider their fit with a new organization.
Both Denver and LA have loaded cap sheets and returning these players won’t be easy. That’s where the San Antonio Spurs could make a splash.