With a total of 20 players on the San Antonio Spurs roster as late as last week, the team was forced to make some tough decisions before the roster cut deadline at 5:00 PM CST this past Monday. Including the two allowed two-way contracts (occupied by Dominick Barlow and Jordan Hall), teams are allowed a total of 17 roster spots, meaning the Spurs had to make the tough decision to let three of their players walk.
News first broke of a roster cut last Monday, October 10, when the team announced it was waiving St. Mary's guard Tommy Kuhse, who originally signed as an unrestricted free agent this past September. News then broke this past Saturday that the Spurs waived Alize Johnson, a 4-year NBA veteran that similarly signed with the team as an unrestricted free agent this past August.
Finally, the Spurs waited until this past Monday's deadline approached to announce that the team would be waiving former Iowa guard Joe Wieskamp, who was selected in the 2nd round of the 2021 NBA Draft. The decision was reportedly very last-minute, coming after the team's most recent practice. Romeo Langford was a name frequently brought up in roster cut conversations along with the three players that were ultimately cut, but after some impressive moments in his preseason outings, he likely won himself his job in San Antonio.
Dissecting the Spurs' 17-man opening-day roster
In addition to Romeo Langford, a couple of others that may have been on the cusp of being in that roster cut conversation, Keita Bates-Diop and Zach Collins, both survived the cut and will return for their second and third seasons with the team, respectively.
The Spurs will likely be searching the market for suitors for Bates-Diop and Collins, along with the team's veteran core of Jakob Poeltl, Josh Richardson, and Doug McDermott. That being said, do not expect the Spurs to accept a trade offer for the sake of making a trade, particularly in Poeltl's case. The team's goal will be to get the most value out of those players as possible, and if it means setting a high price point and waiting until the final hours before the trade deadline, they'll do it. That strategy could even extend to Tre Jones, Isaiah Roby, and Gorgui Dieng for the right price.
Excluding the players above, that leaves the team with Keldon Johnson, Jeremy Sochan, Josh Primo, Blake Wesley, Malaki Branham, Devin Vassell, Dominick Barlow, and Jordan Hall. In the case of Johnson, Vassell, Sochan, and Primo, expect them to play large roles on the team from the very start. In the case of Wesley, Branham, Barlow, and Hall, expect them to see a lot of run time in Austin, particularly toward the beginning of the season, and possibly even some developmental minutes in San Antonio.
While we call this roster "finalized" for the time being, expect more changes to come in the near future. While the Spurs won't lose for the sake of losing, they will certainly prioritize the development of the team's young pieces even if it means experiencing growing pains and more roster changes along the way.