The San Antonio Spurs are facing a bit of a roster dilemma. After accounting for a deal for Jalen Adaway that hasn’t been officially announced yet, the Spurs currently have 21 men playing for them. NBA rules stipulate that a team can only roster 17 guys, two of which need to be on two-way contracts. So the team is currently four men over the limit.
This isn’t necessarily a world-breaking issue, but a couple of guys are going to get some tough calls in the next few weeks. Here are eight guys who may need to play themselves onto the roster in the weeks leading up to the regular season.
Exhibit 10 Contracts: Alize Johnson, Tommy Kuhse, and Jalen Adaway
These are the guys in the toughest spot. Not only are they the most recent signees to the roster (thus, the least experienced with the team), but the fact that they are on “Exhibit 10” contracts means that their deals are the easiest to get out of. Johnson has shown that he has a role somewhere in the NBA and both Kuhse and Adaway had respectable college careers, but the Spurs have to cut four guys, and these will be three of them.
Non-Guaranteed Contracts: Keita Bates-Diop and Tre Jones
Any Spurs fan who watched them play last year probably lights up at the mention of the name Keita Bates-Diop (“KBD”). One of the bright spots of the 2021-22 season was KBD’s dismantling of the Lakers in the last game in Staples Center before it became Crypto.com Arena. However, in my opinion, the Spurs now roster a better, younger version of Bates-Diop in Isaiah Roby.
I won’t even delve into the possibility of Jones getting cut. He's been a very capable defender and talented ball-handler when he's seen the opportunity. My belief is that he starts at point guard this season. If he were cut, I'll be leading the riots in front of the AT&T Center. These two guys have the misfortune of their contracts being non-guaranteed, which is why they’re included in the exercise.
Others: Gorgui Dieng, Joe Wieskamp, and Romeo Langford
The Spurs are heavy on guards and light on centers, a positive for big man Gorgui Dieng. Also, when considering potential trades of Doug McDermott, Josh Richardson, and Jakob Poeltl, Dieng adds value as a veteran presence. Wieskamp hasn’t been afforded much opportunity in his one season in San Antonio, but has yet to show much in the way of the shooting stroke that led the Spurs to draft him 41st overall in 2021.
Langford is entering his first full year on the team following a mid-season trade in February. In a crowded guard rotation, he may not see enough minutes to be worth rostering, but he adds a lot on defense and we’re only four years removed from Romeo being the #7 overall recruit in the country coming out of high school.
Who is the odd man out?
After taking into account the Exhibit 10 guys, the Spurs need to let go of one of the following four names: Bates-Diop, Dieng, Wieskamp, or Langford (I’m excluding Tre Jones from this discussion). If I were the one making this decision, I would go with Bates-Diop. I mentioned some other reasons above, but he is on a non-guaranteed contract, making him easy to move off of.
However, considering the investments made onto the other guards on the roster, the answer may end up being Langford.