Free agency is off to a fast start, with several trades and lots of signings. The Spurs have not done much since the start of free agency, besides re-signing guard Patty Mills to a 4year/50million deal. The Spurs have had several players opt out of their contracts including Dewayne Dedmon, David Lee, and Pau Gasol who I will get into later. In free agency, the Spurs normally don’t dive right in, and usually wait until the dust clears to sign free agents.
The Spurs are more known to build through the draft and develop players rather than sign free agents, but in recent years that has begun to change. Here are the Top 5 free agents the San Antonio Spurs could sign this summer.
Gasol opted out of his player option with the San Antonio Spurs for $16.2 million on June 20th. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Gasol and the Spurs are working on a longer-term, more cap-friendly deal to stay in San Antonio.
Jonathon Simmons, the Spurs restricted free agent, had a stellar postseason against the Warriors and Rockets last year. In the playoffs, Simmons averaged 10.5 points and 1.9 assists and 1.9 rebounds per game. However, when Kawhi went down with an injury (Zaza Pachulia), Simmons showed his true worth. “The Juice” averaged 16 points per game in Kawhi’s absence.
He was selected for the Rising Stars game on All-Star weekend and came up with big-time plays all season. Every minute Simmons was on the floor he gave 110%. He has the potential to become a great all-around player. He is a key piece to the Spurs offense and defense and is a must keep for the Spurs this summer.
5. Aron Baynes
Former Spurs center Aron Baynes began to blossom in San Antonio and took the opportunity to go to the Pistons for more money for the 2015-16 season. Last year he averaged 4.9 points and 4.4 rebounds off 15 minutes per game. As a Spur, he averaged similar stats, but he is a very strong backup center. Aron Baynes is also known for being a hustle rebounder and to play physical every second he is on the floor.
He would fill the Spurs hole at the backup center position for Dewayne Dedmon who opted out of his contract. Baynes already knows the Spurs system and fit well in it. It could be in the Spurs best interest to have a Baynes comeback this offseason.
4. Willie Reed
Willie Reed, the Miami Heat unrestricted free agent, averaged 5.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks in only 14 minutes per game last year. In the event Dedmon leaves, which is likely, Reed would fill in his role as a rim protector and finisher around the rim.
Reed is quoted as saying, “my goal for next season is to win most improved player”. He wants to improve and win and in what better organization could you do that? He plays with a lot of heart and would fit the Spurs system nicely.
3. Vince Carter
The 40-year-old forward still has the athleticism and skills to be a solid role-player in today’s NBA. Last season Carter averaged 8.0 points and 1.8 rebounds and is a great contributor off the bench still. He would be a step up from the Spurs backup small forward from the last few years Kyle Anderson. Anderson has shown very little progression over the past years and has no obvious upside.
The Spurs could also use another veteran on their now mostly young team to mentor rookies like Blossomgame and other young players on the roster. Also, Carter still has not won a ring and may go for contenders like the Spurs in the now even more powerful west. Assuming Manu Ginobili retires this offseason, this vet would be the ideal replacement.
2. JaMychal Green
The Grizzlies forward played two 10-day contracts with the Spurs back in the 2015 season, but showed little promise and was not signed. He later signed with the Grizzlies and went on to average 8.9 points and 7.1 rebounds in the 2017 season. He can shoot from the perimeter, finish inside, and grab rebounds. He can defend all 5 positions on the floor but is not an elite defender. Despite this, he is capable of making an impact on the game.
The Spurs could use a solid power forward like Green after David Lee opted out of his contract and will likely not return.
1. Rudy Gay
The Spurs have already talked to Gay this free agency, but have not met with him or offered him a contract yet. Averaging 18.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in only 30 games last year, Gay would be a very strong asset to the Spurs roster. He would serve as a bench anchor, elite scorer, and a fairly good shooter.
Backing up Leonard or Aldridge, he would be a major contributor with the second unit. Rudy would likely fit within the Spurs projected cap space and give the Spurs an even better fighting chance against the defending champs the Golden State Warriors next year.