The San Antonio Spurs exceeded regular season expectations but fell short of their postseason goal in their loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday. Now, they'll spend the next six months re-tooling, refining, and re-organizing their roster.
As with any NBA offseason, there will be new faces climbing aboard while the Spurs will have to depart with some familiar ones. While everyone becomes part of the culture of the city, there's still a business aspect that needs forwarding, and I don't think San Antonio wants to be facing a third straight NBA Play-In scenario next season.
With some key dates to the offseason in mind like the NBA Draft Lottery (May 17) and NBA Draft itself (June 23), here are some guys who might not be donning the Silver and Black next season.
1. Lonnie Walker
One of the most interesting storylines to follow in the offseason for the Spurs will be the fate of their 2018 1st round draft pick, Lonnie Walker. His stats tell the story of his career so far, in that there are bright spots mixed with troublesome areas.
Walker increased his scoring from 11.2 to 12.1 points per game despite playing fewer minutes, but he also shot a career-low from downtown (31.4%) and barely eclipsed 40% from the field overall. He improved with his passing but stayed the same when it comes to helping on the boards.
There was a point in the season when we were almost certain Lonnie was playing himself out of a job, but then he went on a tear in February and March. The bottom line is the Spurs could still use Walker going forward in a bench role as a spark plug. At this point, though, he's not essential for their success.
After Walker's hot run to end the season, our own Cal Durrett predicted someone could offer him a three-year, $30 million deal to try poaching him from San Antonio. He details other teams could even go a bit higher. Is he worth an average of closer to $12.5 million yearly, which Jordan Clarkson makes? Not on this team.
It would be a shame to lose someone so ingrained in the community and passionate about the game, and hopefully, the Spurs can work out a team-friendly deal with Lonnie. But if others are willing to give him a payday, San Antonio will probably let him go.