Grades: Spurs Re-sign Sandro Mamukelashvili, Trade for Cedi Osman

The San Antonio Spurs remained active on the second day of free agency. While they haven’t signed a player from another team yet, San Antonio re-signed one of their own free agents and completed a trade that netted them two players and a draft pick.

After their Day 2 moves, the Spurs still have approximately $25 million in cap space. They’re also within about $4 million of reaching the salary floor.

Spurs Sign Sandro Mamukelashvili to a One-Year, $2 Million Contract

Prior to the start of free agency, the Spurs decided not to give Mamukelashvili his $2,189,698 qualifying offer. By not giving him the QO, Mamukelashvili became an unrestricted free agent and was free to sign with any team in the league. 

On Saturday, that strategy by San Antonio’s front office was proven to be the right move. The Spurs signed Mamukelashvili to a $2 million contract, which amounts to about a 10% savings from his qualifying offer. 

It’s difficult to be anything but happy with this deal. Mamukelashvili exhibited an intriguing skillset during the tank. For a big man, he’s a quality ball-handler, an imaginative passer and his shooting form looks good out to the three-point line. There were also glimpses of above average athleticism here and there.

In the last 11 games of the season, Mamukelashvili averaged 13.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 25.9 minutes per game. His entertaining style of play made many of those games palatable. 

From Mamukelashvili’s perspective, he might be a bit underwhelmed — especially because Julian Champagnie was able to parlay his strong finish into a four-year, $12 million deal from the Spurs. But the good news for Mamukelashvili is he’ll be playing for a coach in Gregg Popovich who seemed to really like him last year. Plus, if he does well in the upcoming season, he’ll be in a position to cash in on the open market next summer.

How many minutes will Mamukelashvili play next season? It’ll depend on how much time Victor Wembanyama spends at center. If Zach Collins starts at center and Wembanyama plays the center minutes when Collins is on the bench, he could find it difficult to get playing time. However, if Wembanyama only plays at power forward, Mamukelashvili could be in the regular rotation.

With all the crazy money thrown around in free agency, the Spurs have to be thrilled that they were able to bring back Mamukelashvili on such a small contract.

Grade: A

Spurs Acquire Cedi Osman, Lamar Stevens and a Second Round Pick

The Cleveland Cavaliers needed a third team to facilitate a sign-and-trade deal with the Miami Heat to get Max Strus to Cleveland. Enter the Spurs and their mountain of salary cap room. For helping out the Cavs, the Spurs received Cedi Osman, Lamar Stevens and a second round draft pick. San Antonio was able to slide both Osman and Stevens into their open cap space.

Of the two players, Osman is the more interesting. The 28-year-old only has one more season left on his deal for approximately $6.7 million. Last season, he averaged 8.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 20.1 minutes per game. He shot 45.1% from the field, 37.2% beyond the three-point line and 69.4% at the free throw stripe.

Osman isn’t a super exciting acquisition but he has a chance to be a solid role player for San Antonio. At 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, he primarily plays small forward. Defensively, he gives good effort but isn’t overly effective. Offensively, he can be streaky but he shoots threes at a high volume, rarely turns it over and scores frequently enough to keep defenses honest.

Stevens turns 26 in a week and is 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds. The forward is not much of a shooter, doesn’t look to score often but he plays extremely hard and hustles relentlessly. He defends with toughness and rebounds well for his size. 

Next season, Stevens’ contract is only partially guaranteed. If the Spurs cut him before the start of the regular season, they’ll owe him approximately $500,000. Expect San Antonio to bring him to training camp and give him a shot to make the team. It’ll be an uphill climb for Stevens but he could win Popovich over with his effort and tenacity.

The draft pick the Spurs received in this trade is a 2030 second rounder from the Cavs. To complete the trade, the Spurs will have to give up something — but that something hasn’t been announced yet. Expect it to be either a highly protected second rounder or a small amount of cash.

On one hand, I like this trade because it’s such a no-brainer. Osman is basically worth the $6.7 million he’s owed. If he’s overpaid, it’s not by more than a million dollars or two. Stevens is a flyer who might be able to stick. Getting a second round pick in addition to those two players without sending out anything of note is unequivocally very good value.

On the other hand, I’m not convinced that it was the absolute best way to use San Antonio’s cap space. Was there really no free agent out on the open market that the Spurs liked more than Osman? Is getting yet another second round pick that much of a difference-maker?

But, again, it’s tough to muster much anger because the trade has almost no associated risk. The Spurs got two reasonably priced players and a free draft pick for simply facilitating a trade with their cap space.

Grade: B+