Spurs should pounce on 'Mo Bamba likely to depart' rumors

Mo Bamba, Dejounte Murray
Mo Bamba, Dejounte Murray / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The San Antonio Spurs might want to eye big-name targets in free agency this summer, but history shows stars don't often choose to venture to the Alamo City in the prime of their careers.

While signing Deandre Ayton or Zach LaVine would be nice and likely could propel the franchise to a playoff berth, this team is far from the frontrunners in either scenario, which could lead to them filling out the roster elsewhere.

One underrated young center who could thrive in the Spurs' system next season is 24-year-old Mo Bamba, who attended the University of Texas in his lone college season. I recently included Bamba as a definitive pursue in my Pass or Pursue: 10 Free Agent Centers article a few weeks ago, and there are several reasons for that.

We saw an important development from Bamba last season with Orlando -- the ability to knock down 3-pointers. The 7-footer buried 107 of 281 attempts for a 38.1% mark while also establishing a career-best 1.7 blocks per game. Still, his biggest area for improvement still comes on the defensive end, although he did better on the glass and stayed in front of his man more effectively with more minutes last season.

Mo Bamba is likely more available after Orlando's Lottery win

In his post-Lottery article breaking down the Orlando Magic's options at number one, Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer shared his thoughts on how they'll approach Bamba's upcoming restricted free agency.

"The idea of incorporating Smith or Holmgren into Orlando’s rebuild has sparked an expectation among league personnel that Bamba, a restricted free agent this summer, is likely to depart the franchise," he said.

Bamba was involved in trade rumors around the NBA trade deadline, which ultimately didn't result in a trade but showed that Orlando wasn't dead-set on keeping their center for good. With substantial frontcourt help now on the way, it would be a surprise if another team didn't approach Mo with a better offer, and the Spurs are certainly a team that could afford that.

The acquisition of Bamba would likely put him at the backup center spot in San Antonio unless the Spurs decided to use Jakob Poeltl's strong year and expiring contract in a trade sometime over the next few months.

dark. Next. Would a Zach LaVine pursuit be a mistake?

Bamba is coming off a year in which he made $7.56 million and averaged 10.6 points and 8.1 rebounds in his first full season of being a starter. While I wouldn't imagine he'd be a first or second option for the Spurs, he would definitely be worth a look for the right price.