San Antonio’s decision to part ways with Samanic is an acknowledgement that the team swung and missed on the 19th overall pick of the 2019 draft. While the No. 29 pick in that same draft – Keldon Johnson – is emerging as a cornerstone player for the Spurs, Samanic didn’t show in his two NBA seasons that he warranted a regular rotation spot.
The 21-year-old Croatian appeared in 36 total games as a Spur, averaging 3.8 PPG and 2.2 RPG on .430/.294/.576 shooting in 9.9 MPG.
Samanic had a $2.96MM guaranteed cap hit for 2021/22, which San Antonio will be responsible for unless another team claims him on waivers. If he goes unclaimed, his $4.57MM team option for the 2022/23 season will disappear and the Spurs won’t carry any dead money beyond this season.
Even after cutting Samanic, the Spurs will have to trade or release one more player on a guaranteed contract before the start of the regular season, since they still have 16 of those players. Al-Farouq Aminu and Keita Bates-Diop are among those considered to be most in danger.