What's the best way for the rebuilding Spurs to fill their final roster opening?
San Antonio ended the trade deadline with a nearly unrecognizable roster from the one that started the season, losing a pair of instrumental rotation players in Jakob Poeltl and Josh Richardson while receiving some end-of-the-bench pieces and a boatload of draft picks. Among the new additions was former Spur and one-time starting center Dewayne Dedmon, who the front office promptly waived within 48 hours after their reunion.
Although releasing the veteran journeyman was an expected move from a rebuilding ball club with little use for his services, that calculated decision created a vacancy. The Spurs have a couple of pathways for plugging this opening, but who they choose matters, as it could affect the development of numerous young players. With that in mind, how about we sort through the worthy candidates?
Before General Manager Brian Wright scours the depths of the boundless free agent pool, he should shift his focus to Charles Bassey. The second-year center boasts outstanding numbers with the Austin Spurs, averaging 23.4 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game, even earning a spot at the inaugural G League Next Up Game at NBA All-Star Weekend.
Bassey also flashed impressive rim-running and shot-blocking talents in a month-long stint for San Antonio when injuries shattered their depth chart at the outset of the season. His performance wasn't perfect on either side of the ball, but he showed role-playing upside worth a full-time promotion to the 2-1-0.
Despite a practical argument for rewarding the 22-year-old rim protector, the front office has cause for pause. Two-way players can only suit up for 50 games in the NBA before a team must ink them to a standard contract. Bassey has appeared in 24 games, the Spurs have 27 games left on their schedule, and if you do the math, that means he can sit out one matchup and dress for the rest without San Antonio making any changes.
Maybe the cap-rich Spurs don't mind filing the paperwork to spend a little extra cash to boost the morale of a promising prospect. If that's the case, the front office opens another two-way contract. We won't squander time speculating who earns that NBA audition. But maybe San Antonio can find it in their hearts to give their former first-round draft choice Luka Samanic a second opportunity to prove himself.
All jokes aside, the following alternative could lead a familiar face to a San Antonio homecoming.
A diverse cast of characters have donned Silver and Black over the years, but Danny Green is the one veteran who should be on San Antonio's radar when the buyout market opens its doors. The seasoned swingman knows the ins and outs of this organization and system, and he can provide their youngsters with priceless corporate knowledge while setting an example for them to follow on and off the court.
Finding minutes for Green would be the last priority for head coach Gregg Popovich, and there's always a chance Green would rather spend his final years in the league chasing a fourth ring with a title contender. Who could blame him?
Having exhausted all other options, it may be in the Spurs' best interest to re-sign Gorgui Dieng for one final rodeo. Players, coaches, and executives alike spoke volumes about the tenth-year center this season, and despite the 10-day contract well running dry, San Antonio can still bring him back with a standard one-year deal.
Like Danny Green, Gorgui Dieng brings value to the rebuilding Spurs with a fountain of wisdom he has accumulated from spending a decade plying his trade in the NBA. Ingraining life lessons and keeping the locker room morale high are essential to establishing sound practices in a regiment of impressionable teenagers and early-twenty-somethings. Gorgui might not be around to catch the fruits of his labor, but he can play an indispensable role in setting Spurs basketball up for long-term success.