Spurs Rumors

2019 Offseason In Review: San Antonio Spurs

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2019 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2019/20 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the San Antonio Spurs.



  • Acquired DeMarre Carroll (via sign-and-trade) in a three-team trade with the Wizards and Nets in exchange for Davis Bertans (to Wizards) and the draft rights to Nemanja Dangubic (to Nets).

Draft picks:

  • 1-19: Luka Samanic — Signed to rookie contract.
  • 1-29: Keldon Johnson — Signed to rookie contract.
  • 2-49: Quinndary Weatherspoon — Signed to two-way contract.

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

  • Reportedly agreed to three-year contract with head coach Gregg Popovich.
  • Promoted R.C. Buford to CEO, Brian Wright to general manager.
  • Hired Tim Duncan as assistant coach.
  • Lost assistant coach Ettore Messina; lost assistant coach Ime Udoka.
  • Contract agreement with Marcus Morris fell through.
  • Named Landry Fields general manager of G League affiliate (Austin Spurs).
  • Lost director of player personnel Andy Birdsong to Nets.

Salary cap situation:

  • Remained over the cap.
  • Hard-capped.
  • Carrying approximately $123.81MM in guaranteed salary.
  • $3.76MM of mid-level exception still available (used $5.5MM on Trey Lyles).

Story of the summer:

The last time the Spurs won the NBA Finals in 2014, their roster featured Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Kawhi Leonard. By the time the 2018/19 season got underway, none of those players were still Spurs — Duncan and Ginobili had retired, while Parker and Leonard were playing for new teams.

Despite the exodus of future Hall-of-Famers, the Spurs have managed to keep extending their record-setting streak of postseason appearances. San Antonio has now appeared in the playoffs in 22 consecutive years – and 29 of the last 30 – as the front office has displayed an impressive ability to consistently retool its roster while Gregg Popovich continues to get the most out of every group.

The upside of the Spurs’ current roster may be limited. The team’s 48 and 47 wins in the last two seasons are its lowest marks of the last 20 years, and DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge are players who thrive in the mid-range, making them odd fits in a modern NBA which prioritizes outside shooting.

However, the Spurs are quietly accumulating young talent around their de facto stars, with Dejounte Murray and Derrick White on the verge of breakout seasons, Lonnie Walker primed for a larger role, and two more first-round picks (Luka Samanic and Keldon Johnson) joining the mix. The new core the Spurs are building might be capable of keeping the team in the playoff picture even if and when DeRozan and Aldridge move on.

For now, those veteran stars are still the focal points of San Antonio’s attack. But ongoing development from the team’s up-and-coming youngsters and contributions from a handful of solid role players will be crucial as the club looks to make its 23rd consecutive playoff appearance.

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Spurs Waive Galen Robinson Jr., Kenny Williams

The Spurs have cut Galen Robinson Jr. and Kenny Williams, according to the NBA’s official transactions log. Both players were just signed Tuesday, so it appears they were added to be part of the organization’s G League affiliate in Austin.

Robinson averaged 8.0 PPG and 4.9 APG last season at Houston, while Williams posted an 8.6/3.9/3.5 line for North Carolina. Both were seniors who went undrafted and played for San Antonio’s Summer League team. With Exhibit 10 contracts, they can both become affiliate players for Austin and will be eligible to earn $50K bonuses.

The moves leave the Spurs with 18 players ahead of Saturday’s cutdown date. However, with 15 players under guaranteed contracts and both two-way slots filled, the final roster seems to be set.

Spurs Sign Galen Robinson Jr., Kenny Williams

The Spurs have filled the two open spots on their preseason roster by signing Galen Robinson Jr. and Kenny Williams, according to RealGM’s official NBA transactions log. Kris M. Gardner reports (via Twitter) that Robinson’s contract is an Exhibit 10 deal, and it’s a safe bet that Williams’ is too.

Both Robinson and Williams are guards who went undrafted this spring. Robinson played his college ball at Houston, averaging 8.0 PPG and 4.9 APG in 37 games (29.9 MPG) as a senior, while Williams was a Tar Heel, winning a national title in 2017 and recording 8.6 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 3.5 APG in 36 games for UNC as a senior in 2018/19.

Robinson and Williams also each suited up for the Spurs in Las Vegas Summer League play in July.

While neither player appears likely to open the regular season in San Antonio, their Exhibit 10 deals make them strong candidates to become affiliate players for the Austin Spurs in the G League. If they spend at least 60 days in Austin, they’ll be eligible for Exhibit 10 bonuses worth up to $50K to supplement their NBAGL salaries.

Spurs’ Murray, Poeltl Hoping To Sign Extensions

Spurs guard Dejounte Murray and big man Jakob Poeltl are seeking rookie scale extensions but neither is dwelling on next week’s deadline, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News reports.

Murray, the team’s projected starting point guard, is playing this season at the bargain rate of $2.32MM since he was drafted No. 29 overall in 2016. He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer, provided the team extends a qualify offer after this season, if he can’t agree to an extension before next Monday’s deadline.

“My mind is not on that at all,” Murray told Orsborn. “Obviously, I want to be here for as long as I can, but those are things I can’t control.”

It might be in the franchise’s best interest to see how Murray looks this season, rather than extending him. He missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in a preseason contest. He earned NBA All-Defense Second Team honors in 2017/18 and coach Gregg Popovich says Murray “looks confident” this preseason. However, Murray admits he’s rusty after sitting out a full year.

Poeltl, acquired from the Raptors prior to last season, is making $3.75MM this season after getting drafted No. 9 overall in 2016. He’s part of the Spurs’ frontcourt rotation.

“I’m not really thinking about it a whole lot,” Poeltl said of an extension. “If we come to an agreement, I’m happy, obviously. But it has to be a good contract for both parties, obviously.”

If an extension is reached, it will probably be a team-friendly deal since Poeltl isn’t a stretch four or five, Orsborn notes.

Thus far, rookie scale extensions have come at a trickle, with Ben Simmons, Caris LeVert and Jamal Murray the only eligible players who have signed such an agreement.

Spurs Waive Dedric Lawson

The Spurs have made another cut to their preseason roster, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News, who tweets that the team waived undrafted rookie Dedric Lawson.

A 6’9″ forward out of Kansas, Lawson elected to go pro this spring following his junior season. In 36 games for the Jayhawks in 2018/19, he averaged a double-double, filling the stat sheet with 19.4 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 1.3 SPG, and 1.1 BPG. He also made 39.3% of his three-pointers on 2.5 attempts per game.

After playing for the Warriors in Summer League, Lawson caught on with the Spurs for training camp. He appeared in three preseason games but logged limited minutes (12.3 MPG), averaging just 1.7 PPG and 2.7 RPG. He’s now a candidate to join the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s G League affiliate.

San Antonio now has 18 players under contract, so the team could set its regular season roster with just one more transaction — Daulton Hommes appears likely to be the odd man out. Still, with a week left before those rosters must be set, it’s possible the Spurs will make additional signings and cuts in order to secure players’ G League rights.

Western Notes: Valanciunas, Rockets, Johnson

Jonas Valanciunas is dealing with foot soreness, though David Cobb of The Memphis Commercial Appeal (Twitter link) hears that there is no structurial damage in the center’s foot. The big man played for Lithuania in the FIBA World Cup and it’s possible the quick turnaround to training camp contributed to his soreness. Valanciunas won’t suit up for the remainder of the preseason, as the Grizzlies are opting to provide him with rest so that he’s fresh for the regular season.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said “there’s always challenges” when it comes to setting the regular season roster, as Mark Berman of Fox 26 relays (Twitter link). D’Antoni added that he feels getting to a nine-man rotation will also be difficult, since he believes Houston has “about 11-12 guys that can play.”
  • Spurs first-rounder Keldon Johnson, who turned 20 this weekend, has impressed his veteran teammates, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets. “I remember those days,” Rudy Gay said. “It’s amazing what he’s accomplished at this young age and to be out here playing with somebody like me who has been here since dinosaurs were playing basketball.”
  • Patrick Beverley is back at practice at suffering an undisclosed injury earlier this week, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times reports. The point guard re-signed with the Clippers this offseason on a three-year, $40MM deal.

Playing Time Helps Dejounte Murray Regain Confidence In His Knee

  • The Spurs are limiting Dejounte Murray‘s playing time to 20 minutes per game as he works his way back from an ACL injury that cost him all of last season, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Coach Gregg Popovich said Murray has more gained trust in his knee after playing in two preseason games. “We worry, as you would with someone who hasn’t played in that long of a time, but he went full bore with every minute we gave him,” Popovich said. “He got knocked down a couple times and twisted all around, and I think he gained a lot of confidence.”

Marcus Morris Won’t Face Suspension After Preseason Ejection

After earning a Flagrant 2 foul and an ejection from Monday’s preseason game against Washington, Knicks forward Marcus Morris won’t face a suspension to open the regular season, reports Marc Berman of The New York Post.

Early in the third quarter of Monday’s exhibition contest vs. the Wizards, Morris was being guarded by Justin Anderson and aggressively swung his arms in an attempt to clear space, nearly hitting Anderson with an elbow. When the Wizards swingman didn’t back off, Morris intentionally struck him in the head with the ball, resulting in his ejection (video link via Bleacher Report).

Morris claimed he was provoked by something Anderson said, but acknowledged after the game that his play was “unprofessional.”

As Berman notes, the NBA automatically reviews all Flagrant 2 fouls to see if they warrant a suspension. If the league had issued a ban for Morris, he would have had to serve it to start the regular season, rather than in the preseason.

Morris, who signed a one-year, $15MM contract with New York this summer, completed that deal after reneging on an agreement to sign a two-year contract with the Spurs. The Knicks will open the season on October 23 in San Antonio, so while Morris will still be able to play in that game, he probably shouldn’t expect a warm welcome.

Extension For DeRozan Makes Sense For Spurs

  • An extension might be the way to go for both the Spurs and DeMar DeRozan, Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express News opines. A report surfaced on Friday that the two parties were in extension talks. As previously noted, the 30-year-old DeRozan could get a maximum of approximately $149MM over four years, starting in 2020/21. That would require him to decline his 2020/21 player option and replace it with the first year of the extension.

Marcus Morris Talks Spurning Spurs For Knicks

One of the most controversial offseason sagas occurred in July when veteran forward Marcus Morris verbally agreed to a two-year pact with the Spurs before backing out and signing with the Knicks.

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich labeled the move “unprofessional” and “unfortunate.” Believing that the deal was done, San Antonio traded Davis Bertans to open up its mid-level exception for Morris before his change of heart. Morris added more context to his earlier comments about the change, addressing Popovich’s assertion.

“I was very surprised but I have nothing but respect for Pop,” Morris said, per The Athletic’s Mike Vornukov (Twitter link). “I’m not going to sit up here and say anything. Obviously, they made a big move and on my side things weren’t clear for me.”

Morris also addressed the Spurs trade of Bertans to make room for him, expressing regret on the way the situation played out.

“At the end of the day, yeah, because they made a move and they had a great young player and I feel bad that it had to happen that way,” Morris said. “But at the end of the day, I’m here to focus on the New York Knicks.”