The San Antonio Spurs will enter free agency with considerable cap space and a chance to remodel their roster. After missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, it's fair to say they’ll have their work cut out for them. That said, they have a number of options at their disposal. Though there are also a lot of variables that could result in the Spurs having very different offseason outcomes.
On one hand, they could land a big free agent and position themselves as an up-and-coming team. On the other hand, they could fail to land any major free agents and be forced to try again next off-season. With that in mind, I believe there are three likely offseason scenarios that could play out this summer.
Scenario 1: The San Antonio Spurs play it safe
In this scenario, the Spurs attempt to bring back largely the same team from this past season. In free agency, San Antonio would extend offers to most of their free agents, including DeMar DeRozan, Patty Mills, Gorgui Dieng, Keita Bates-Diop, and Rudy Gay. However, DeRozan and Gay decide to sign elsewhere and San Antonio decides against any sign-and-trade possibilities in an effort to preserve future cap space.
They do, however, re-sign Mills, Dieng, and Bates-Diop to affordable two-year contracts, worth a total of $30 million, $9 million, and $5 million respectively. The Spurs also sign 12th overall pick, Joshua Primo, to a rookie scale contract starting at $3.3 million next season, and 41st overall pick, Joe Wieskamp to a three-year minimum NBA contract starting at $925,000.
As far as outside free agents, San Antonio pursues several restricted free agents including Duncan Robinson, Lauri Markkanen, and John Collins. That said, the Spurs opt against signing any of them to big offer sheets because they’d likely have to overpay to keep the player's current teams from matching. Without a big-name acquisition, San Antonio instead seeks to use their last remaining roster spot to address the team’s biggest weakness.
After losing DeRozan and Gay and opting not to sign Markkanen or Collins, there would be a clear void at power forward, with only Luka Samanic as the only four on the roster.
With few remaining options in free agency, the Spurs could turn to Kelly Olynyk as a stopgap starter, signing him to a 1-year $15 million deal. While an obvious talent downgrade compared to DeMar, he could actually help the starting lineup. Olynyk would add more size to the starting lineup as well as more 3-point shooting, in addition to being a good passer and an effective finisher around the basket.
With a full roster and about $10 million in leftover space, the Spurs offseason would effectively be over. Even though it would certainly qualify as a disappointing offseason for fans, I think this particular scenario has its positives. San Antonio would be among the youngest teams in the NBA with only Mills and Olynky over the age of 30.
Additionally, they would likely play a faster and free-flowing style of offense with more shooting than last season while players like Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, and Keldon Jonson would take on bigger roles.
San Antonio Spurs Projected Roster
Murray, White, Johnson, Olynky, Poeltl
Mills, Walker, Vassell, Samanic, Eubanks
Jones, Primo, Wieskamp, Bates-Diop, Dieng