The 2021-22 San Antonio Spurs are going to look very different from last season. After being a fringe NBA playoff team in the last two seasons, the four guys pictured above have since moved on, and the keys have all been handed over to 20-somethings to take over.
Although we argued the case for moving on from the veterans earlier this year, it will still be quite an adjustment for the Spurs to go from a veteran foundation of three to essentially none this season. In their place will be a mixture of acquired pieces and overseas talent, while guys like Dejounte Murray and Derrick White will be the co-captains of the ship.
As the Silver and Black usher in a new era of Spurs basketball, here's a look at when you can expect to see some faces from the 2020 team make their returns to the AT&T Center.
Gorgui Dieng: Atlanta Hawks @ San Antonio Spurs - Nov. 24
Gorgui Dieng's time with the San Antonio Spurs only lasted 16 games. During that time, he averaged 5.3 points and 2.6 boards in just 11.3 minutes per game. Given his performance in the play-in game against the Memphis Grizzlies, he probably should've been given a better shot last season. His return to the AT&T Center will be on November 24th, 2021, when the Hawks visit for a showdown at 8:30 pm ET.
Trey Lyles: Detroit Pistons @ San Antonio Spurs - Dec. 26
I'm still at a loss for what exactly happened with Trey Lyles. One minute, he was a starter. The next, he had fallen out of the rotation completely. Fortunately, the Pistons should give him much more playing time. Detroit visits the AT&T Center on December 26th at 7 pm ET.
Rudy Gay: Utah Jazz @ San Antonio Spurs - Dec. 27
One day after hosting Detroit, the Spurs will welcome Rudy Gay back to the Alamo City. The 15-year veteran forward was a consummate professional with the Spurs and gave the team plenty to cheer about on and off the court. Although the Spurs will reunite with Gay for the first time on December 17th in Utah, his return to San Antonio will be December 27th at 8:30 pm ET.
DeMar DeRozan: Chicago Bulls @ San Antonio Spurs - Jan. 28
Expect a wave of cheers from Spurs fans when DeMar DeRozan makes his return to San Antonio. Although he never wanted to leave Toronto, he put up 21.6 points per game in three years with the Spurs and is coming off arguably the best all-around season of his NBA career. DeMar's Bulls will make their lone visit to the AT&T Center on January 28th at 8:30 pm ET.
Patty Mills: Brooklyn Nets @ San Antonio Spurs - Jan. 21
Speaking of cheers, the loudest the AT&T Center will probably get all season will be when Patty Mills makes his return in January. Although his departure hurt, it's safe to say his decision to depart to a contender was good for both sides. Still, the void he'll be leaving won't be easily filled, and I expect quite a few teary eyes in the building when Patty's Nets take on the Spurs on January 21st at 8:30 pm ET.