The San Antonio Spurs will likely be one of the richest cap space teams this summer, but ESPN's Bobby Marks isn't so sure that will help much in free agency.
As I wrote about this morning, the Spurs might have no choice but to release Lonnie Walker if they want to be one of the teams with the most cap space in the league. Letting him walk would give them roughly $30 million to work with instead of their projected $17 million.
Unfortunately, the pool of talent is considerably shallower than its been in the past with so many big names signing extensions in the past couple of years. ESPN's Bobby Marks expanded on that earlier this week with his in-depth look-ahead to the 2022 NBA offseason (subscription required).
"[Beyond] Bradley Beal, Kyrie Irving, and Zach LaVine, the 2022 free agent class is average at best," he says. The next tier goes down to restricted free agents, with Charlotte's Miles Bridges and Phoenix's Deandre Ayton headlining that group.
Some other notable free agents Marks lists are Jalen Brunson, Tyus Jones, Kyle Anderson, Jusuf Nurkic, and Mitchell Robinson.
"This is not the summer -- A: to have cap space and B: to go out and spend big money on it," said Marks in a recap video for ESPN. "I'm not going to sugarcoat it here. Your top available small forward is probably Kyle Anderson. Power forwards are thin."
The Silver Lining to Marks' Comments
Still, there could be some guys in the free agent class worth a strong look. "Your centers are somewhat deep," continues Marks. "Ayton, Nurkic, Portis, Mitchell Robinson, Andre Drummond played well in Philly.
In the Spurs' case, the draft is probably more important for them this offseason anyways since they have four picks at their disposal. But even if there's not a lot to choose from in free agency, there are still other ways to improve.
"We always talk about cap space, cap space," said Marks. "There are so many other resources to go out and sign players. Miami got Jimmy Butler in 2019 -- no cap space. They go out and get Kyle Lowry last year -- no cap space. Whether it be cap space, sign-and-trades, the mid-level exception."
Depending on where all of their draft picks fall, the Spurs can pivot several different directions this summer that can lead to a return to relevance. Knowing what GM Brian Wright did at the trade deadline, it should be an exciting time regardless.