While the rest of the league is going all out to win now, the San Antonio Spurs are one of a few teams quietly biding their time toward a brighter future. At least that's what ESPN's Bobby Marks thinks.
Given their current situation, an optimist might have this as a .500 team while a realist might fall somewhere in the 30-35 win range. Wherever you land with predictions for this season, there's at least some solace that the team is finally heading toward a proper rebuild. After they moved on from DeMar DeRozan, Patty Mills, and Rudy Gay, the Spurs are now relying on a star to emerge from their young core while also keeping money available for the near future.
Looking ahead to free agency 2022, the ESPN article (subscription required) projects the San Antonio Spurs to be one of just four teams with cap space to offer next offseason. The Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic join the Spurs as the three teams that should have at least $30 million while the Minnesota Timberwolves should have about $20 million, writes Marks.
One drawback to the free agency class next summer? Well, there's not a lot of star power left in it after many have signed extensions or new contracts. Zach LaVine and Bradley Beal are the biggest names left on the list, with others intriguing pieces like Jaren Jackson Jr. and Michael Porter Jr. also available but restricted.
Still, San Antonio has never been a big-name destination for stars anyway, so it's likely they'd use available cap space similar to how they did this summer. The Spurs will likely chase complementary pieces to build around whoever emerges as the team's next star or potentially next year's possible lottery pick.
As John Hollinger recently pointed out, successful current teams like the Nets, Clippers, and Warriors are likely setting themselves up for some rough times near the middle of the decade financially. While being patient is difficult as a fan base, the real ones who stick around should see the benefits before too long.