With one quick press announcement, the San Antonio Spurs were suddenly one step closer to making the necessary cuts to their roster for the season. In a decision that's somehow both surprising and not surprising simultaneously, the Spurs waived forward Luka Samanic on Monday, bringing their roster down to 16.
As the 19th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, a lot was expected of Samanic to pan out as a legitimate rotation player with a unique skill set for a big man. Instead, a combination of a lack of playing time and less than ideal on-court effort effectively turned his selection into a bust.
In my recent rankings of who would likely be released, Samanic wasn't even on my radar, as I thought this was the season he'd finally get a chance to show what he's got. Instead, he barely saw the floor even in preseason, and when he did, he did things like this.
As Project Spurs' Paul Garcia reported, the Spurs wouldn't be responsible for Samanic's salary if another team claims him off waivers in the next 48 hours, as the team reportedly declined their option before waiving him.
The training camp roster now sits at 17 while San Antonio officially has 16 on the books for the 2021-22 season plus a two-way contract in Joe Wieskamp. Before October 18th, they'll need to trim one more player to meet the maximum of 15 allowed by the NBA before the season begins.
Speculation among Spurs' circles still points to Al-Farouq Aminu as being the likely cut in the next week. This means San Antonio will probably stick with Thaddeus Young to begin the season, whether it be for keeps or to showcase for a potential trade with a team like the Phoenix Suns.
After his inspired play against the Orlando Magic in preseason game four, I would be surprised to see Keita Bates-Diop as a candidate to be cut, but he and Drew Eubanks are the only other names that could be in play. It's hard to see either of them being let go in favor of Aminu, though.
The Spurs' roster is nearly set as they look to begin their regular season on October 20th against the Orlando Magic at 8:30 pm ET.