The San Antonio Spurs are out of playoff contention and approaching the merciful finish line of their inaugural rebuilding season. Though disjointed defense, nagging injuries, and frustrating losses have defined their 2022-23 campaign, tangible development from talented youngsters across the roster has made tuning into games worthwhile.
Gregg Popovich has plugged away on the sidelines as he works to ingrain sound fundamentals into his inexperienced players. Despite seeing almost no results in standings, the good guys are making progress. Nevertheless, the coaching staff and front office have several tasks on and off the court that they must accomplish before the offseason starts.
1. A new long-term contract for Tre Jones
Tre Jones has been a steady playmaking presence for the young Spurs all season, pushing the pace in transition, hitting teammates in the pick-and-roll, and providing much-needed dribble penetration. While his 12.4 points and 6.3 assists per game may not seem indispensable, San Antonio would be wise to retain his services as they continue their rebuild.
The front office has a few options in front of them. They can sign Jones to a four-year $58M extension before the season ends or sort out the details during the summer. If San Antonio opts for the latter, they will still have to tender him a $5.2M qualifying offer to hold his restricted free agent status and ensure he cannot negotiate with other organizations.
Should the Spurs secure Scoot Henderson in the 2023 NBA Draft, Tre has already displayed he can be an elite backup and reliable spot starter for a competitive club. Paying over $10M a year for a second-string point guard sounds like a pricey proposition, but most playoff teams have someone on the roster who can orchestrate their second-unit offense.
Despite his touch on floaters and midrange efficiency regressing, he has a six-month offseason to smooth out the kinks in his arsenal. And perhaps a move back to the bench could work wonders for Tre, allowing him to feast on reserves and boost his confidence. He has all the makings of a winning player, and Jones only needs a proper context to show that off.