San Antonio Spurs Free Agency

Is Richaun Holmes the answer for the Spurs at center?

Richaun Holmes, DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl
Richaun Holmes, DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl / Ronald Cortes/Getty Images
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San Antonio Spurs
Rudy Gay, Richaun Holmes / Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs need energy and Holmes can bring it

One of the biggest issues for the most recent iteration of the San Antonio Spurs was a lack of energy. At times, the team seemed dull. When things got tough, they stuck to the gameplan, but sometimes failed to rise to the occasion. Whether the team is up by 20 or down by 20, Holmes always tends to give his best effort.

At 27-years-old, Holmes has seen a lot in this league. Though he isn’t quite considered a veteran by many standards, he’s been around the game long enough to know how to contribute and make an impact within the confines of his role. Poeltl does the dirty work, but he doesn’t bring any nasty that the team is used to having from its frontcourt and that’s what will bring the Spurs back into the postseason.

Having a spark plug at the center position gives San Antonio lineup flexibility that it didn’t have during this most recent season. Poeltl racks up fouls like a madman and misses time because of it. The Spurs’ starting center had 27 games of 25 minutes or less during the course of the season, largely due to matchup issues and foul trouble.

When Pop pulled Poeltl, he often turned to Drew Eubanks or Rudy Gay as a small-ball five. That’s not going to cut it for a team that’s unwilling to accept another losing season in the upcoming year.

Of 11 Kings who logged at least 500 minutes during the course of the season, Holmes had the highest on/off differential at +8.4. He led the team in total shot contests, defensive win shares and total win shares. His effort is unwavering and the San Antonio Spurs need someone they can rely on without a doubt at the center position.

NBC Sports’ Kings Insider James Ham recently reported that Holmes is seeking a four-year contract in the $80 million range; a $20 million average annually. Sacramento can’t pay that or anything close to it, and while the Spurs could, they probably won’t have to. That payday sounds far outside of the realm of possibilities at this point, but an average annual salary in the $12-17 million range isn’t far-fetched and could enough to lure him from the Kings.

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That’s exactly in the range of what the San Antonio Spurs paid Rudy Gay and Patty Mills in recent seasons. Instead, they’d be applying that money to a player with a skill-set that better complements the talents of a budding young core with a bright future ahead. It may not be the flashy signing that Spurs fans long for, but it’s one that would go a long way toward helping them ascend past a .500 record.

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