Sometimes, you need a low-cost free agent who can fill that final roster spot. These are a few players for the San Antonio Spurs to consider.
Free agency is supposedly going to be quiet around the NBA this year and judging by their cap sheet, the San Antonio Spurs will follow suit. With soon-to-be free agent DeMar DeRozan more than likely to accept his player option, San Antonio will only use the period to fill up their roster and ensure they have a fighting chance at making the 2021 postseason.
To do so, they need to choose their players wisely. Last offseason, the addition of DeMarre Carroll proved to be a disaster that cost the team a homegrown product in Davis Bertans. While the Marcus Morris reneging situation wasn’t the San Antonio Spurs’ fault, general manager Brian Wright should’ve used foresight to see that Morris wasn’t a great fit for the team despite his talent as a scorer and rebounder.
These are teachable moments for the Spurs’ GM, who’s in his first full season in his role. He’s got the chance to make up for lost time in a 2020 class that’s not necessarily top-heavy, but contains many talented players who complement a win-now approach. Most importantly, they’ll need to make sure they’re maximizing their roster space and adding veterans who can fill in when the team needs to make up for inevitable injuries here and there.
With all of these factors in mind, these free agents may be good options to fill out the end of the San Antonio Spurs’ bench in 2021.
Next: Free Agent No. 1
Nov 22, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Furkan Korkmaz (30) drives for a shot attempt against the San Antonio Spurs during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
1. Furkan Korkmaz gives the San Antonio Spurs an extra shooter.
A low-cost, high reward signing, free agent Furkan Korkmaz isn’t going to be the difference between making and missing the playoffs. However, the Philadelphia 76ers never gave him enough opportunity to show what he’s fully capable of. That’s going to drive down his pricepoint and anticipated role within a team’s offense.
That should open up an opportunity for the San Antonio Spurs to bring along a 23-year-old Turkish sniper to round out the roster. Korkmaz churned out 40.2 percent of his 4.9 3-point attempts per game in Philly this past season. Being a part of that organization can be a gift or a curse because of the consistent dysfunction that seems to come from the top down.
Two furkan threes.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) November 3, 2019
Coming to San Antonio gives Korkmaz a chance at something he hasn’t known in his brief NBA career — Stability. The Sixers don’t have much of a choice but to roll with their team as currently constructed unless something drastic changes during the offseason. Their cap sheet is stuffed with the highest luxury tax bill in the NBA despite falling short in the first round of the NBA Playoffs this year.
Korkmaz could be had at a low price to replace someone like Marco Belinelli or Bryn Forbes on the cap sheet. It’s a match made in heaven with a star player in DeRozan who generates good 3-point looks for his teammates like a madman. Ultimately, Korkmaz would have the chance to be a part of something special as the Spurs transition into the future.
Next: Free Agent No. 2
October 31, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay (22) moves to the basket against Los Angeles Clippers forward JaMychal Green (4) at Staples Center. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
2. JaMychal Green spaces the floor for the San Antonio Spurs.
Believe it or not, undrafted free agent JaMychal Green played the first four games of his career with the San Antonio Spurs before heading to the Memphis Grizzlies. Now a more matured version of himself, Green could have the chance to return to San Antonio and give it another try with a model franchise that could utilize him well.
Green wouldn’t necessarily play over many of the other younger Spurs, but if an injury raised or foul trouble played a factor, Green could step into the lineup as a solid floor spacer and gritty player. Unlike most of his teammates, Green elevated his play in the postseason this year, averaging 6.1 points on 56.4 percent shooting from the field and 43.5 percent shooting from deep on nearly two shots per contest.
The San Antonio Spurs have a player who already does what Green does and better in Trey Lyles. That’s not to say that Green can’t be a valued member of the team. He’s been a part of various intriguing teams including the grit-and-grind Memphis Grizzlies and these hard-working LA Clippers teams from the previous two seasons.
Should he find himself unsigned and looking for a spot on the back of someone’s bench, he could be a strong addition to the San Antonio Spurs.
Next: Free Agent No. 3
Dec 31, 2019; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan (10) strips the ball from Golden State Warriors forward Glenn Robinson III (22) during the first quarter at AT&T Center. (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
3. Glenn Robinson III can be a veteran presence for the San Antonio Spurs.
Similarly to Green, small forward Glenn Robinson III has been a part of some interesting organizations during the course of his career. Playing for the Golden State Warriors and Indiana Pacers for an extended period of time says something about your determination as a player. Athleticism was the main trait that Robinson brought to the table upon entering the league but has worked diligently to become a well-rounded contributor for his teams.
With that in mind, it’d be unsurprising to see Robinson in a San Antonio Spurs uniform next season. We got to see both sides of Robinson during the course of the 2019-20 season. Starting in 48 games for the Warriors, Robinson had to carry a decent scoring load. He averaged 13 points per game on 48.1% shooting from the field and 40% on 3.5 attempts from deep. Once traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, Robinson took a backseat to their star players and filled in where he could.
Eric Paschall no-look dime ?
Glenn Robinson III reverse jam ?
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 28, 2019
Part of being a strong veteran presence is taking your role on the chin and putting the team first. Being on the Warriors was good for his individual stats, but when traded to Philly, Robinson assimilated to their needs and did what he needed to make an impact for that team. Though his shooting percentage from deep declined, Robinson became more efficient from the field overall.
If he were to sign with the San Antonio Spurs, it would be in a backup small forward role. Maybe that’s not ideal for him, but most teams are going to rely on the players they already have heading into next year. There aren’t many big names in the free-agent market, which increases the possibility of role players getting big contracts.
Once that money is soaked up, it will leave players like Robinson to sign one-year ‘prove it’ deals.
Next: Free Agent No. 4
Dec 12, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills (8) drives past Cleveland Cavaliers forward John Henson (31) in the second half at the AT&T Center. (Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports)
4. The San Antonio Spurs can bolster their frontcourt with John Henson.
A lottery pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2012, big man John Henson never truly hit the ceiling that many thought he could in the NBA. Henson seemingly peaked in his second NBA season when he averaged 11.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 70 games for the Bucks. Little did they know, the franchise’s trajectory would shift dramatically with the 15th pick in the following draft.
When Giannis emerged, the direction of the organization changed as Henson began dealing with some injury troubles. Eventually, he was reduced to a role player who bounced between the Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers at 29-years-old this season. So clearly, things didn’t pan out too well for his career, but there’s still time for a late-career resurgence.
Playing at the end of the San Antonio Spurs’ bench, Henson can help assert some interior physicality and block shots against second units. Besides being a solid paint player (54 FG% for his career, 66.7% on 51 shots after being traded to Detroit), Henson has been around the league long enough to have a pretty decent basketball IQ. That doesn’t apply to everyone as the study of basketball doesn’t necessarily click for everyone, but Henson seems to understand his place.
San Antonio signed Tyler Zeller to fill in at the end of the bench as a backup center during the season. They simply cannot allow that to happen again and signing an insurance policy like Henson assures that the San Antonio Spurs will have a solid backup big in case the injury bug decides to rear its ugly head once more.
Next: Free Agent No. 5
Mar 28, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Brandon Knight (20) shoots the ball under pressure from San Antonio Spurs point guard Derrick White (4) at AT&T Center. (Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports)
5. Brandon Knight still has gas left in the tank.
The story of free-agent guard Brandon Knight is one that still has plenty left to tell. Bouncing around on irrelevant teams for most of his career, Knight hasn’t had much opportunity to contribute to valuable basketball as a pro. If he were to take on a smaller role with the San Antonio Spurs, he could rebuild his standing in the NBA landscape.
Playing for Detroit, Phoenix and Cleveland didn’t do Knight any favors. His scoring output peaked in 2016 when he averaged 19.6 points and 5.1 assists per game for Phoenix. Knight made an all-rookie team in 2012, but besides that, he doesn’t have any notable accolades.
Now a 28-year-old in what’s supposed to be his athletic prime, Knight has a chance to land in a spot that’ll help rebuild his career.
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Though his field goal percentage has always been iffy, Knight has the ball-handling skills and passing repertoire to hang with the best of them. For most of his career, he’s been forced to seek decent shots for himself instead of playing within a competent offensive set. In a backup guard position for the San Antonio Spurs, Knight would be taking the highest-quality shots of his life.
With slashers all around him including DeRozan, Murray and Walker, Knight could easily become a high-efficiency shooter and scorer.
In terms of guard defense, Knight isn’t a terrible option for San Antonio. He’s good at poking the ball away from opposing ball handlers and keeping up with them in transition. Being in a positive basketball situation with legitimate expectations can transform a player’s career.
The narrative around Knight could change with the San Antonio Spurs.