3 free-agent flops Spurs rightfully avoided, 2 home runs they missed out on

The Spurs avoided spending in free agency, but do they already regret it?

San Antonio Spurs, Fred VanVleet
San Antonio Spurs, Fred VanVleet / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages
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Wish they had: Fred VanVleet

The Spurs were rumored to be interested in VanVleet in free agency, but could not outbid the Rockets. Houston was determined to improve their roster because they owe their 2024 first-round pick to the Thunder with just a top-four protection. Even finishing with the worst record in the NBA puts it at risk as the Rockets could drop to fifth in the lottery.

Do not look now, but Houston is 8-6 after dominating the defending champion Nuggets on Nov. 24. They have won eight of their first nine at home, and VanVleet’s leadership has been massive. Houston is organized and playing stout defense under new head coach Ime Udoka. Getting veterans like FVV was a key piece of that puzzle.

VanVleet is averaging 16.6 points, 9.0 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 0.7 steals in 37.4 minutes per game through his first 14 contests. He has made just 38.9 percent on his field goals, but the stats do not tell the entire story. The Rockets desperately needed a point guard to run their offense, play stout defense, and lead their young talent.

Does that sound familiar? The Spurs are likely green with envy over missing out on Fred VanVleet. He would do similar things in the Alamo, and the Spurs would be significantly improved in year one with Victor Wembanyama.