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  1. #1
    5. timvp's Avatar
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    While there are scenarios in which the Spurs trade DeMar DeRozan in order to gain added financial flexibility to spend on free agents this summer, those scenarios are unlikely. The much more reasonable outcome during the offseason involves the straightforward plan previously discussed: San Antonio re-signs Rudy Gay and then spends the mid-level exception (MLE) in free agency.

    The Spurs will have access to the full MLE, which will have a starting value of approximately $9.2 million. They can spend some or all of that money and can split it among multiple players if they so choose. The maximum value of an MLE contract is $39 million over four years.

    In What Scenarios Would The Spurs Not Spend The MLE?

    San Antonio doesn't have to spend the MLE. However, they can't carry it forward to next summer and the Spurs aren't in danger of going over the luxury tax threshold, even if a bidding war breaks out for Gay and the Spurs also use the entire MLE. Thus, other considerations would be at play if the Spurs keep their purse strings closed.

    For example, if the Spurs have their eyes on possibly opening up salary cap space for max free agents next summer (that would involve trading DeRozan and declining the option on LaMarcus Aldridge), they would be reluctant to add any long-term salary to the books this offseason.

    If the Spurs aren't shopping for MLE free agents right at the opening bell of free agency on June 30th, that could also point to the front office still weighing the possibilities of a DeRozan trade. As discussed, in the right circumstances, the Spurs could open up north of $30 million this summer by trading DeRozan.

    The Spurs might also opt to be patient to see which free agents fall through the cracks, as is custom in the NBA. Additionally, they could keep MLE money in their back pockets in case an interesting player hits the buyout market during the regular season. Remember, last season players like Wesley Matthews, Markieff Morris and Enes Kanter became free agents around the trade deadline in February.

    The Case For Limiting The MLE Spending To Two Years

    While the Spurs don't have any cap room this summer, the forecast quickly changes going forward. Next summer, DeRozan has a player option and the Spurs have a team option on Aldridge. The following year, Patty Mills' contract ends and there are only rookie scale contracts left on the books.

    With that flexibility in mind, the Spurs may opt to limit their MLE spending to one- or two-year contracts. Unless San Antonio can land a player they see as part of their long-term plan, does it make sense to hand out an MLE contract that spans three or four years?

    Gay's contract should be -- and hopefully will be -- at most two years in length. There's a good argument to align an MLE signing to that same time frame.

    The Spurs should be able to land a quality player with the two-year, $18.8 million offer they can put on the table using the MLE. Specifically, I like the idea of trying to steal a restricted free agent on a team juggling salary cap considerations with such an offer. (More on this in the next installment.)

    The Case For No Limit

    The best case for not putting a limit on MLE spending is simple: player quality. The Spurs can get a better player offering $39 million over four years compared to $18.8 million over two years.

    Also, the long-term financial flexibility very well could be overblown. The Spurs have a few young players that they will likely want to extend or re-sign before that cap space opens up two years from now -- most notably Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Jakob Poeltl, Bryn Forbes and Davis Bertans.

    Stressing about maximizing flexibility might be a fool's errand when so much will change in the next 24 months.

    What Type Of Player Should The Spurs Target?

    Let's start with what the Spurs don't need. At point guard, the Spurs have a litany of options: White, Murray, Mills, Forbes and even Lonnie Walker IV, who played a majority of his minutes last year at PG. All five of those players have also played shooting guard, where there's also Belinelli -- and DeRozan can play SG as well (in fact, in a vacuum, that's still probably where he'd be best utilized).

    Center has Aldridge (who will need to play more and more center as he ages) and Poeltl. A third center is a need but, barring injury, it'd be a bit role.

    As anyone who has followed this team can tell you, forward is the position of need. At small forward, DeRozan is in line to take most of those minutes. He's an imperfect fit but with how the roster is constructed, it appears to be his permanent home. Behind DeRozan at small forward, options exist (Gay, Belinelli, Walker, Bertans) but none that would be considered optimally sized or skilled for the position, particularly on the defensive end.

    Power forward, too, could use some reenforcing. Aldridge is there but he's more of a center in today's game. Gay and Bertans are suitable backups in a lot of matchups -- but not all. Against burly or uber athletic power forwards, San Antonio's current bench has no answer.

    Factoring all that in, I see this as the order of need:

    1) A long small forward who can also play power forward
    2) A small forward
    3) A power forward who can also play center
    4) A power forward
    5) A shooting guard who can be stretched to play small forward
    6) A center

    What Skills Should The Spurs Value The Most In Free Agency?

    Shooting has to be highest on the list. Three-point shooting, specifically. Last season, it was difficult enough dealing with two non-three-point shooters in DeRozan and Aldridge. Add in a questionable shooter in Murray and perhaps a bigger role for a non-shooter in Poeltl and the Spurs, as constituted, really don't have room for another rotation player who can't hit threes.

    Defense would be up there right behind shooting. The Spurs have plenty of offensive pieces; scoring is unlikely to be much of an obstacle to success (unless a further step back is taken in terms of three-point shooting ability). The holes in the roster are mostly due to defensive concerns.

    Everything else takes a backseat. Sure, it'd be nice if the free agent is a good passer, for example, but it all pales in comparison to three-point shooting and defense.

    How Many Minutes Are Up For Grabs?

    To take a simplistic look at the situation, the Spurs have nine players who are likely to be in the rotation. If we conservatively estimate their 2019-20 minutes per game -- DeRozan 32, Aldridge 30, White 28, Murray 24, Gay 22, Forbes 22, Mills 16, Bertans 14, Poeltl 14 -- there are 38 unaccounted minutes available.

    Obviously, that's not factoring minutes in for a few players who could crack the rotation (Belinelli and Walker, most notably) and those estimates are all on the low side of each player's realistic range. But I think a free agent could look at San Antonio's roster and not be completely scared off due to a perceived lack of minutes.

  2. #2
    Wolf Ruvinskis tonight...you's Avatar
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    Someone making a case for a job?

  3. #3
    The Dude minds DPG21920's Avatar
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    Sons let’s nab Kleber from the Mavs. Lyles seems like an option too
    Last edited by DPG21920; 3 Weeks Ago at 05:23 PM.

  4. #4
    The Dude minds DPG21920's Avatar
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    It’s really too hard to tell what way to go until we know the DeRozan situation. How they view the next two years dictates a lot

  5. #5
    ಥ﹏ಥ DAF86's Avatar
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    And with all that in mind, what's your top 5 desired free agents?
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    Win Shares/48

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  6. #6
    Veteran rjv's Avatar
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    what makes things so much foggier is the uncertainty of the younger core. how many of them will prove to be all-star caliber or solid role player type talents? who is worth granting an extension to? this year will be very telling in that regard.
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  7. #7
    Veteran cd021's Avatar
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    As far as minutes are concerned- if they don't use the MLE, then I expect the following rotations;

    Murray, White, DDR, LMA, Poeltl
    Mills, Fobes, Walker/ Bertans/ Beli, Gay

    or

    Murray, Forbes, DDR, LMA, Poeltl
    Mills, White, Walker Bertans/Beli, Gay

    I prefer the later rotation with Forbes continuing to start and space the floor with the starters and White becoming the 6th man and playing 26-28 mpg off the bench. If Poeltl starts then there will be a 3 man competition for the minutes behind DDR with Walker, Beli and Bertans competing for those minutes.
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  8. #8
    Veteran rjv's Avatar
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    just saw that cheick diallo is available as far as bigs go he probably has more upside than metu, but i think he'd be looking to get more minutes wherever he goes.

  9. #9
    tv screen baseline bum sananspursfan21's Avatar
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    Sons let’s nab Kleber from the Mavs. Lyles seems like an option too
    Nice BRHornet imitation
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  10. #10
    Believe. Cardinal's Avatar
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    Thanks timvp for continuing these posts

    Can't get this type of Spurs analysis anywhere else online.

  11. #11
    5. timvp's Avatar
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    And with all that in mind, what's your top 5 desired free agents?

  12. #12
    Believe. JuneJive's Avatar
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    just saw that cheick diallo is available as far as bigs go he probably has more upside than metu, but i think he'd be looking to get more minutes wherever he goes.
    Can he play switch D?

  13. #13
    OH YOU LIKE IT!!! slick'81's Avatar
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    So whos the best 3/4 combo fa who can shoot threes!?
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  14. #14
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    I’m for options 3 or 4.

    My list : vonleh, Holmes, Ed Davis, looney.

  15. #15
    Veteran cutewizard's Avatar
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    Looneýyyyyyyyyyyyyy
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  16. #16
    Banned!!! GusT15's Avatar
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    So whos the best 3/4 combo fa who can shoot threes!?
    Trevor Ariza,DeMarre Carrol,James Ennis,JaMychal Green,Jeff Green,Darius Miller,Marcus Morris,Mike Scott,Terrence Ross.

    Oh and closer to the Spurs preferred age target group

    Anthony Tolliver,Thabo Sefolosha

    Not all of them are Combo 3/4 but most play the 3,some can play the 4,and all can shoot from 3.

    And there are even more out there that skip my mind atm
    (We are talking obviously within MLE price range)
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  17. #17
    Veteran tbdog's Avatar
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    If anyone is interested in trading DD or LMA or anyone in cap space and rolling with max contract for the 2020/2021 free agency market. Here are are the top names. TLDR, it's bad.

    K. Lowry, TOR

    S, Ibaka, TOR
    D. Green, GSW
    J. Brown, BOS
    P. Millsap, DEN
    D. Favors, UTA
    A. Roberson, OKC
    A. Drummond, DET, option
    G. Hayward, BOS, option
    M. Conley, UTA, option

  18. #18
    The Dude minds DPG21920's Avatar
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    If anyone is interested in trading DD or LMA or anyone in cap space and rolling with max contract for the 2020/2021 free agency market. Here are are the top names. TLDR, it's bad.

    K. Lowry, TOR

    S, Ibaka, TOR
    D. Green, GSW
    J. Brown, BOS
    P. Millsap, DEN
    D. Favors, UTA
    A. Roberson, OKC
    A. Drummond, DET, option
    G. Hayward, BOS, option
    M. Conley, UTA, option
    Cap space gives you choice. Can sign FA. Absorb players via trade. Accumulate draft assets for a rebuilding team by taking on money. Not always just about who is a free agent.

  19. #19
    Spur-taaaa TDMVPDPOY's Avatar
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    so whose the top FA next season spurs can target with 30m?

  20. #20
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    Trevor Ariza

  21. #21
    Believe.
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    Are you sure there's a team option on Aldridge next year? I don't think that's the case.

  22. #22
    5. timvp's Avatar
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    Are you sure there's a team option on Aldridge next year? I don't think that's the case.

  23. #23
    Veteran tbdog's Avatar
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    Cap space gives you choice. Can sign FA. Absorb players via trade. Accumulate draft assets for a rebuilding team by taking on money. Not always just about who is a free agent.
    It would make sense if the we had a guaranteed Allstar coming through and was time to build around them. But all in all, you don't dump near allstar's for salary cap unless you have someone(s) in mind. Hitting the restart button is usually a disaster and can take years to get back on track. Take the Pistons for example. Between 03 and 08, they made the Eastern Conference finals each, with two finals and won one title. In 08, they hit the reset button. They have made the playoffs 3 times since then and won a total of 0 playoff games.

  24. #24
    Veteran tbdog's Avatar
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    Realgm

    As they do seemingly every year, the San Antonio Spurs just kept things rolling with another postseason appearance. The Spurs have made the playoffs in 39 out of their 43 NBA seasons, including for 22nd straight year in 2019. The Spurs added some panache to their playoff berth this season as it came after an offseason in which they traded Kawhi Leonard and saw their top two point guards suffer injuries in the preseason.

    Now as they approach the offseason, it looks like the Spurs will have a very similar roster to start 19-20 as the one that ended their season with a first round Game 7 loss to the Denver Nuggets. LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan will return to carry the offense. Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli, Jakob Poeltl and Davis Bertans are there to stabilize the bench. And Derrick White took a major step forward in his second year after he returned from injury.

    What will be different, however, is Dejounte Murray will return from a torn ACL to team with White at the point guard spot. If White continues to improve as a shooter, the two could even play together at times in the San Antonio backcourt. A Murray-White backcourt would allow the Spurs to deploy some three-guard looks with Aldridge and DeRozan surrounded by guys who can be playmakers off the bounce.

    Overall, Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford are probably a year away from any sort of major changes to the roster. It’s likely they’ll re-sign Rudy Gay, but the team’s other free agents are take it or leave it propositions. The Spurs don’t have enough cap space to do much else. They’ll have the Mid-Level Exception and minimum contracts to fill out the handful of open roster spots.

    They’ll be players for some veteran free agents, especially those that can add some additional shooting on the wing. Expect San Antonio to be linked with Wayne Ellington, Reggie Bullock, James Ennis, and possibly Kyle Korver or Avery Bradley, if either of the latter two are waived by the Memphis Grizzlies. With point guards who are still developing as shooters, and DeRozan as only a so-so shooter, it’s imperative that the Spurs add some players who can reliably knock down perimeter shots.

    Up front, San Antonio will probably add one more body to the Aldridge, Bertans and Poeltl mix. As it is on the wing, this could be a spot where the team looks for someone who can space the floor. Second-draft guys like Trey Lyles or Dragan Bender would make for good reclamation projects for the Spurs as both would likely come cheap enough.
    At the draft, San Antonio added a couple of 19 year olds in Luka Samanic and Keldon Johnson. Samanic projects as a traditional power forward. He’ll need a couple more years of development before he’s ready to make an NBA impact, but the skills are there for the 6’10’’ big man. Johnson could make an impact earlier on, because he’s got a modern offensive skillset for a wing. He can knock down jumpers and also make plays by getting to the rim. Johnson needs some work as a passer and defender, and that will probably keep him mostly on the bench in his rookie season. Eventually, though Johnson should be a long-term fit along the wing.

    One other player to keep an eye on for development is last year’s first round pick Lonnie Walker IV. Walker suffered through an injury-plagued rookie season, as he basically lost a year of development. When he was ready to play, he did most of his work in the G League. While with the Austin Spurs, Walker flashed a good scoring game, but did little to allay the concerns that he’s not much of a passer or defender. That said, every team can always use some bench scoring punch and Walker could eventually deliver that. He’ll be battling Johnson for minutes behind some well-established veteran wings.

    It’s fairly rare that the Spurs make a splashy move as they did last summer when they traded Leonard. The normal course of action is for San Antonio to find projects, undervalued veterans and unknown players and to develop them into quality rotation pieces. Popovich and his staff are likely to have some work to do on that front once again this summer, as things get back to normal.

    One thing is for certain: San Antonio probably won’t take on long-term money this summer in any sort of deal. Their cap sheet cleans up considerably over the next couple of summers. Aldridge and DeRozan each only have one more season after this 19-20. If there is a deal to be made that sets the Spurs up for the future, the front office will make it. But the most likely path is to just keeping doing what they do. Oh…and to make the playoffs once again for a 23rd straight year.

  25. #25
    The Dude minds DPG21920's Avatar
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    It would make sense if the we had a guaranteed Allstar coming through and was time to build around them. But all in all, you don't dump near allstar's for salary cap unless you have someone(s) in mind. Hitting the restart button is usually a disaster and can take years to get back on track. Take the Pistons for example. Between 03 and 08, they made the Eastern Conference finals each, with two finals and won one title. In 08, they hit the reset button. They have made the playoffs 3 times since then and won a total of 0 playoff games.
    I don’t see it as a reset. SA made the playoffs without Kawhi or DeRozan. I’m not saying dump him for nothing; if you are going to lose him anyways (not signing him to an extension)? You’re in the “reset” mode either way and might as well get something

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