The Spurs have waived Malcolm Thomas, the team announced. His release appears to be a precursor to the signing of Othyus Jeffers to a 10-day contract, a move that the team is considering, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported earlier today. San Antonio had been carrying 15 players before cutting Thomas, requiring the team to waive someone before it could add to its injury-depleted roster.
I surmised when the Jeffers report surfaced that Thomas would be the one to go, since he’s only appeared in a single game for the Spurs, even though he signed a minimum-salary contract on December 3rd. He’s instead played in 10 games on D-League assignment with the Austin Toros, for whom he’s averaged 15.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per contest.
It was somewhat surprising when the Spurs kept Thomas past the leaguewide guarantee date earlier this month, given his lack of playing time with the big club. As a result of that decision, San Antonio will have to pay Thomas his entire salary for this season unless another team claims the Aaron Mintz client off waivers.
The Spurs appear to have a more pressing need on the wing, where Jeffers, a shooting guard, fits the bill better than Thomas, who plays power forward. Shooting guard Danny Green is out for another three weeks or so with a broken finger and, according to Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link), small forward Kawhi Leonard will miss three to four weeks with the hand he broke during last night’s game. The Spurs are also without center Tiago Splitter, though the early portion of his initial timetable for a return is a few days away.