What does the Spurs releasing Stanley Johnson say about their plans?

Boston Celtics v San Antonio Spurs
Boston Celtics v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

According to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic, the San Antonio Spurs have released veteran forward Stanley Johnson.

The Spurs signed Johnson on December 13th, and he was a pleasant surprise for the club during his time coming off the bench. In 30 games, Johnson averaged 5.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists on 53.3% shooting in 15.6 minutes per game. He also shot a career-high 45% from deep.

But what does this move mean for the Spurs' plans?

With San Antonio waiving Johnson, a roster spot opens, and a worthy candidate to fill that vacancy has been on their roster all season long: Charles Bassey.

Bassey started the season in Philadelphia, but the 76ers waived him when they needed to save money to avoid the luxury tax. The Spurs swept the 22-year-old off the market after he cleared waivers, signing him to a two-way contract so he could split time between San Antonio and Austin.

Bassey soon became a fan favorite after taking advantage of minutes when an injury kept Jakob Poeltl out for seven games. During that stint with the big league club, Bassey showed impressive strength in the post and cleaned the glass.

Those impressive outings warranted consideration when roster spots started appearing. However, other players earned those openings, and Bassey remained on his two-way contract. But with Poeltl out of the picture and the backup center job up for grabs, it looks like the one-time San Antonio high school hoops star will finally get his shot.

Per Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News, the Spurs will convert Charles Bassey to a standard contract to fill their final roster spot.

With the departure of Poeltl, there's a huge question at the center position. So it only makes sense the Spurs would promote the Nigerian as they look to fill the void on their depth chart.

Maybe Zach Collins or Bassey will prove themselves as reliable options moving forward. Perhaps the Spurs look into other avenues, especially since Victor Wembanayama might land in San Antonio in the upcoming draft.

Whatever happens, Charles Bassey might find himself here for the long haul if all goes according to plan. And the Spurs are familiar with two-way contract signees making themselves a part of the center rotation (I.E., Drew Eubanks).

With the departure of Stanley Johnson, more minutes open up for younger players across the roster. Blake Wesley could be one of the biggest beneficiaries, as the rookie has spent more time coming off the bench in San Antonio as of late.

San Antonio should go all-in on player development during the final stretch of the regular season, investing as many minutes as possible into their younger players. Jeremy Sochan and Malaki Branham have already capitalized on their opportunities, and we could see even more developmental leaps across the roster.

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