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Offseason Outlook: San Antonio Spurs

Hoops Rumors is looking ahead to offseason moves for all 30 teams. We’ll examine free agency, the draft, trades and other key storylines for each franchise as the summer approaches.

State of the Franchise

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

The NBA’s most reliable franchise over the past two decades may be heading into a summer of change. The Spurs have reached the playoffs in 19 straight seasons, and while no one expects that streak to end with Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge as team leaders, there’s a chance that franchise cornerstones Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili could retire, and Tony Parker could find himself in a reduced role or traded away.

The Spurs put together a historically great regular season that was only overshadowed because the Warriors broke a league record at 73-9. San Antonio won 67 regular-season games and posted a 40-1 mark at home. But Gregg Popovich’s crew suffered an early playoff exit for the second straight year, this time falling to the Thunder in six games in the Western Conference semifinals.

End of the line?

The 40-year-old Duncan has a player option for 2016/17 worth close to $6.4MM with incentives added in. He appeared in 61 games in his just-completed 19th NBA season, averaging career lows in both scoring and rebounding. His scoring average dipped below double figures for the first time as Popovich limited his minutes to barely more than half a game.

Ginobili will turn 38 this summer and has a player option for next season at slightly more than $2.9MM. He averaged less than 20 minutes per game this year and had a scoring average below double digits for the first time since his rookie season. The Argentinian star said he intends to meet with Duncan and Popovich at some point this summer before deciding whether to play another year.

Roster decisions

Veteran power forward David West also has a player option for next season worth $1.552MM. Considering that West sacrificed about $11MM to join the Spurs and get a chance at a ring, he may want to fatten up his bank account this summer. If Duncan, Ginobili and West all opt in, the Spurs are looking at a little more than $84.5MM in guaranteed salary against a cap projected at about $92MM. If they all opt out, San Antonio will have about $10MM more to fill out its roster. In addition, Boris Diaw is scheduled to make $6.5MM next season, but only $3MM of that is guaranteed if he is released by June 30.

A huge decision could be made involving Parker, who recently turned 34. Parker has two years remaining on his current deal at $14,445,313 and $15,453,126, but the Spurs may view this offseason as a chance to get younger and faster. There have been reports that they are interested in Memphis point guard Mike Conley in free agency, and if he comes to San Antonio, Parker will likely be on the way out.

If the Spurs decide to go younger, they will presumably cut ties with veteran free agents Andre Miller and Kevin Martin. At 36, Matt Bonner is also a free agent, but he seems content to sign one-year deals as long as San Antonio will give him a roster spot. The most interesting free agent is 7’3″ rookie center Boban Marjanovic, who could get a nice raise from the $1.2MM he made this season.

Free agent targets

Conley seems like a perfect candidate to run the Spurs’ offense if this summer results in a partial youth movement. He will turn 29 in October and has already been in the league nine years — all with Memphis, where he has led the Grizzlies to the playoffs six straight times. Conley scores, rebounds, distributes the ball and limits turnovers. San Antonio would need about $26MM in cap room to offer him a max deal, but it would be a huge coup for the organization if Conley comes to town.

Any other free agent signings will depend on how the roster decisions shake out and how much cap room the Spurs have left. As West showed a year ago, some veteran players are willing to take discounts to play for San Antonio.

Draft outlook

The Spurs’ lone pick this year is No. 29 in the first round. ESPN’s Chad Ford has San Antonio taking Louisville center Chinanu Onuaku with that selection, while Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress expects it to be Zhou Qi of China. The Spurs often use late first-round picks to stash players overseas for the future, so keep an eye on international talent. San Antonio’s second-round pick was traded to Sacramento in a 2015 deal involving Ray McCallum.

Final take

The Spurs are still a great team and likely will remain one as long as Leonard and Aldridge are productive. They were good enough to win 67 games this season, but the series with Oklahoma City raised questions about their depth and their age.

San Antonio GM R.C. Buford was the big winner of last season’s free agent sweepstakes when he landed Aldridge and West. He won’t have to do nearly as much this summer, but there will be some holes on the roster to fill, and it may be late June before he knows what Duncan, Ginobili and West will do about their player options.

There’s no doubt that San Antonio will remain one of the NBA’s elite teams next season, and a 20th consecutive playoff trip seems certain. But Buford’s offseason moves will determine if a sixth title comes along with it.

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents (Qualifying Offers/Cap Holds)

Unrestricted Free Agents (Cap Holds)

Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $92,000,000

Footnotes:

  1. Diaw’s full $7,000,000 salary would become guaranteed on June 30th.

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

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2 thoughts on “Offseason Outlook: San Antonio Spurs

  1. Trade Parker? I think not…

    • @CW_Crouse

      If the team brings in another point guard to start, I can’t see Parker wanting to return off the bench.

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