The San Antonio Spurs are reeling after losing eight straight games for the first time in three decades. While that helps them in terms of their potential draft position, many fans are already looking forward to next summer's free-agent class to see if there are any potential reinforcements available.
The Spurs project to have around $73 million in cap space, which could allow them to be a big-time player in free agency. However, the Spurs have a history of making smaller moves instead of big-name signings. In fact, the Spurs chose to carry over the majority of their cap space from this past summer into the season and make minimal moves to the roster, aside from trading Dejounte Murray.
At first glance, that decision appears to be coming back to bite them, but should they change course and look to sign a big free agent in the offseason? Let's see.
The Spurs have plenty of cap space and plenty of reasons not to spend it all.
The Spurs' decision to hold on to their cap space gives them the ability to take back large contracts at the trade deadline. That might not sound like a good thing, but there could be plenty of teams looking to duck the luxury tax while simultaneously improving their roster.
The Spurs are one of the few teams that can accommodate those teams and, therefore, could receive multiple assets in exchange for one of their veterans, as well as renting out their cap space. If something like that happens, then that could affect next off-season's cap space, but probably not enough to keep the Spurs from spending big money on any free agents this summer if they so choose.
At the moment, I don't see them wanting to, especially with the team possibly adding to their staggering 13 first-round picks over the next seven years. That implies that the Spurs are going to take their time and try to build through the draft. There also aren't very many realistic options for the Spurs to pursue.
After all, they probably aren't going to sign D'Angelo Russell, Kyrie Irving, or Draymond Green, and the restricted free-agent class is pretty underwhelming too. Of course, good luck could drastically change that strategy if they land the first or second overall pick and take Victor Wembanyama or Scoot Henderson.
The 2023 NBA Draft could affect the Spurs' decision to dip into their cap space this summer.
In that case, the Spurs might be more inclined to add talent around them in free agency rather than draft and develop over several years. After all, teams typically have eight or nine years with a top player before they become unrestricted free agents, with a smaller window if they are a small market team.
Fortunately, the Spurs aren't exactly starting from scratch roster-wise with Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell, and they seem like ready-made second and third options on a team with a legit superstar like Wembanyama or Henderson.
Having players like them in place could help the Spurs get back in title contention sooner, but there likely isn't any realistic scenario in which that happens next season. As a result, the Spurs shouldn't spend big money on any free agents this offseason and should instead focus on value signings and possibly taking on bad contracts for more assets.