The NBA’s free agent period begins on Friday at 5 p.m. CT and the San Antonio Spurs should be right in the thick of the action. The Spurs will have more than $30 million in cap space and at least a couple empty roster spots. Moreover, San Antonio needs to hit the salary floor this offseason, which means adding between $10 million and $22 million to the books before the start of the regular season.
The Spurs also have a number of their own free agents they will attempt to bring back. That group is led by Tre Jones, who is estimated to eventually sign a contract that pays him approximately $10 million per year. Their other free agents include Keita Bates-Diop and Sandro Mamukelashvili.
In this ranking, I’ve listed the 50 free agents the Spurs are most likely to sign this offseason — beginning with the least likely and ending with the most likely. I didn’t include San Antonio’s own free agents in the ranking and only listed free agents expected to make more than a minimum salary.
50) Fred VanVleet
While a scout for a Western Conference team I spoke to believes the Spurs will make a push for VanVleet, I just don’t see it. The Spurs would need to offer him something like $90 million over three years to even get his attention — and I don’t believe San Antonio will do that. Signing a 29-year-old point guard to a huge contract doesn’t sound like what you’d do when you have a goal of avoiding “big, costly mistakes.”
49) PJ Washington
Washington is an intriguing player but the fit would be iffy in San Antonio. Since the Spurs already have Victor Wembanyama and Jeremy Sochan slotted for power forward minutes, adding another power forward does not appear to be a priority. On top of that, Washington is a restricted free agent, which means the Spurs would have to offer him a multi-year deal.
48) Kelly Oubre
Oubre doesn’t always know the difference between a good shot and a bad shot and his three-point shooting is more quantity than quality. That said, Oubre is a prolific scorer who puts points on the board whether you run plays for him or not.
47) Kyle Kuzma
Kuzma’s scoring prowess would be helpful but the Spurs would have to overpay him in order to convince him to come to South Texas. He also plays power forward, which isn’t a position of need.
46) Cameron Johnson
Johnson has turned into a really good player. Initially thought of as a spot-up shooter, he’s now an all-around scoring threat with a sneaky amount of athleticism. Johnson would fit well on the Spurs but it’s sounding like he’ll get a deal for somewhere around $100 million over four years. That’s likely too pricey for the Spurs in their current situation.
45) Lonnie Walker IV
44) Dennis Schroder
43) Troy Brown Jr.
42) Rui Hachimura
These four players finished last season with the Los Angeles Lakers. I don’t think any of the four are likely to sign with the Spurs. Walker is an explosive scorer, as we know, but his lack of defense or feel for the game is still glaring. Schroder isn’t enough of a playmaker at point guard to be considered much of an upgrade. Brown could be a 3-and-D role player but he’s still green. Hachimura has his moments but he, like Walker, is a low-feel player who wouldn’t seamlessly fit in San Antonio.
41) Terence Davis
40) Jaylen Nowell
If the Spurs want a relatively inexpensive score-first shooting guard, both Davis and Nowell would have to be in the conversation. They’re both explosive and can put points on the board in the hurry from off the bench. Neither one does much more than score the ball, though.
39) Danny Green
38) George Hill
The Spurs will try to instill as much corporate knowledge in Wembanyama as possible. Green or Hill would aid that process on and off the court.
37) Joe Ingles
36) Georges Niang
35) Yuta Watanabe
Three low priced veterans who could probably be had for the right one-year offer are Ingles, Niang and Watanabe. Ingles is near the end of his usefulness but he’s crafty and he can shoot. Niang is hefty and can shoot. Watanabe is the youngest of the three at 28 and he fearlessly hustles and he can shoot.
34) Torrey Craig
33) Taurean Prince
Craig and Prince are two more vets who would be options, especially on a one-year deal. Craig is a 6-foot-7 wing defender who rebounds well and hits threes. Prince, a San Antonio native, can be streaky but he shoots it efficiently and competes on defense.
32) Thomas Bryant
31) Drew Eubanks
30) Mo Bamba
If San Antonio’s goal is to keep Wembanyama at power forward as much as possible, adding another center to the mix makes sense. Bryant is 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds. He is talented offensively but is lacking defensively. Eubanks has been productive since leaving San Antonio and could serve as Wembanyama’s bodyguard. Bringing him back on a one-year contract wouldn’t be a shock. Bamba is still all arms, legs and potential — but his combination of three-point shooting and shot-blocking will keep him in the league.
29) Paul Reed
28) Mo Wagner
Reed, a restricted free agent, doesn’t have great size for a big man but he plays hard, rebounds with aggression and finishes well at the rim. Wagner isn’t good at protecting the basket but he scores at a high rate and is annoying to play against.
27) Coby White
26) Ayo Dosunmu
Chicago Bulls restricted free agent guards White and Dosunmu are interesting options. White, 24, came into the league as a bulk scorer. During his four years in the league, he has gotten smarter and more efficient. He could be ready for a bigger role. Dosunmu is a well-rounded player who does a little bit of everything.
25) Caris LeVert
LeVert is another well-rounded player who can score and make plays off the dribble. If the Spurs want to add an offensive creator, they could look in his direction.
24) Nickeil Alexander-Walker
It has taken Alexander-Walker time to find his niche in the league but the 24-year-old is starting to figure it out. At 6-foot-5, he can defend, handle the ball, pass it well and isn’t bashful about shooting. He’s still a project but he’s someone who theoretically fits pretty well in San Antonio.
23) Bruce Brown
Brown proved to be the ultimate role player for the Denver Nuggets on their way to a championship. He plays a brilliant, team-first brand of basketball on both ends. Alas, he’s likely headed to a championship contender.
22) Grant Williams
Williams is another really impactful role player. He doesn’t need to touch the ball to positively impact winning. That said, he plays power forward and is an extremely low volume offensive player, which isn’t a great fit on the Spurs. Plus, he reportedly turned down a $50 million extension last summer so he’s likely to be expensive.
21) Malik Beasley
20) Seth Curry
Beasley and Curry are two of the best shooters on the open market. Beasley is a high volume sniper and Curry is about as accurate as it gets. Both really struggle on the defensive end, though.
19) Jevon Carter
18) Cory Joseph
San Antonio could want more experience at the point guard position. Carter and Joseph would be cheap veterans who avoid mistakes, hit threes and play defense.
17) Sasha Vezenkov
16) Vasilije Micic
Vezenkov, 27, is the reigning EuroLeague MVP and can really shoot it as a 6-foot-7 small forward. Micic, 29, is a very accomplished EuroLeague point guard who could possibly start in the NBA. Signing either player wouldn’t be straightforward, however. The Spurs would need to make a trade with the Sacramento Kings to obtain Vezenkov’s rights, while the Oklahoma City Thunder own the rights to Micic.
15) Josh Okogie
Still only 24, Okogie hustles and plays energetic defense. He could be someone the Spurs turn to for a defensive boost.
14) Shake Milton
Milton is a 6-foot-5 26-year-old who has shown promise playmaking-wise and shooting-wise. He doesn’t have the highest ceiling but it appears he could be a helpful addition on a team that needs playmakers.
13) Javonte Green
Think of Green as a thrifty man’s Bruce Brown. He gives undying effort, rebounds and defends as a 6-foot-5 forward. He also flashes a lofty basketball IQ.
12) Jock Landale
11) Dwight Powell
Landale and Powell are two more options as inexpensive centers who can fortify the position. Landale had to be dealt to match salaries in the Dejounte Murray trade but could be brought back after a successful stint with the Phoenix Suns. Powell is limited but he’s physical and he’s an elite finisher.
10) Dario Saric
Saric lacks ideal size as a center but that’s the position he’d play in San Antonio. He had a rough couple years recently after tearing his ACL in the Finals while with the Suns but looked a lot better at the end of last season.
9) Brook Lopez
Lopez was one of the three best defenders in the NBA last season. He has also established himself as a really good three-point shooter. Lopez probably stays with the Milwaukee Bucks but would be a good fit in the middle next to Wembanyama. The 35-year-old would likely command a contract in the neighborhood of $50 million over two years.
8) Austin Reaves
Reaves is a restricted free agent. To have a chance of poaching him from the Lakers, the Spurs would probably have to offer him a contract worth $100 million over the next four years. While that’s a lot of money, he’s probably worth it. He’s a good playmaker who gets to the line and sported an ungodly 68.7% true shooting percentage last season. However, the Spurs would probably hesitate at paying him that much money — and even if they did, the Lakers would likely match it.
7) Jakob Poeltl
Our good friend Poeltl actually has a chance of ending up back in Silver and Black. For the past year, his camp has been telling anyone who will listen that the bidding for Poeltl starts at four years and $80 million. If the Toronto Raptors hesitate to pay that amount, the Spurs could swoop in. Is Poeltl worth that much money? It’s difficult to say. His defense was underwhelming with the Spurs last season — but how much of that was due to tanking?
6) Donte DiVincenzo
DiVincenzo rehabilitated his market value by spending a season with the Golden State Warriors. He now looks like a wise, efficient guard who can play a winning role on any ballclub. To get him, the Spurs would likely need to begin a multi-year deal at around $14 million.
5) Max Strus
Strus is an extremely high volume three-point shooter who has hit 37.1% of his threes in his career. Defensively, he holds up better than what you’d expect from a designated shooter. Add in the fact that he makes few mistakes and plays with an edge and it’s possible he could make approximately $15 million per year in free agency.
4) Jalen McDaniels
The Spurs reportedly had interest in McDaniels at the trade deadline last season. He’s an intriguing player as a long 6-foot-9 defensive forward with potential to become a quality shooter. The 25-year-old has a mature approach offensively and can guard a wide range of player types. McDaniels does enough well that he would eventually find a role in San Antonio.
3) Gabe Vincent
Vincent is a combo guard who can handle some point guard duties. He can catch fire from the perimeter, play gritty defense and he reliably makes lightning-fast decisions. On Miami’s run to the finals, Vincent had a few fantastic stretches and hit a lot of big shots. Statistically, he leaves a lot to be desired — especially in the regular season — but he’s that kind of high character player the Spurs love who persevered and took the long, bumpy road to the NBA.
2) Josh Richardson
Hey, I mean, why not? At times last season, Richardson was the best player on the Spurs before he got traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. He can shoot, defend, playmake and was regarded as a strong leader. Richardson, 29, could possibly be had on an inflated one-year deal — and the Spurs already know exactly how he’d fit in.
1) Mason Plumlee
Plumlee ticks a multitude of boxes regarding what the Spurs are probably looking for in free agency. At 7-feet and 255 pounds, Plumlee has the size and strength the Spurs would like next to Wembanyama. Defensively, he competes and rebounds relentlessly. Offensively, he’s a really underrated passer and ball-handler. Plumlee doesn’t miss many shots, doesn’t turn the ball over much and has experience as a starter and a reserve. Obviously, he’s not the most glamorous of players — but he could be exactly what San Antonio is looking for in free agency. Also factor in that he, like Richardson, would likely sign a plump one-year deal and Plumlee deserves the top spot on this list.