Spurs current roster brings back winning team, trade options

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With the Spurs likely re-signing Danny Green, Boris Diaw, Patty Mills and Tim Duncan in the coming days, while reportedly bringing in Nando De Colo on a two-year deal, the Spurs roster is fairly set. As far as the rest of free agency is concerned, the Spurs don’t have a lot of wiggle room left over.

Eleven players on the Spurs roster will enter next season with guaranteed deals. I don’t know what the first years of De Colo and Mills’ contracts are worth, but you can expect the Spurs to come close to the $70.3 million luxury tax line the NBA set for the 2012-13 season.

Throw in unguaranteed contracts for DeJuan Blair, Gary Neal and Derrick Byars, and you’ve got yourself a pretty full roster at this point. And that’s before we figure out what San Antonio ends up doing with second round draft pick Marcus Denmon.

As Zach Lowe said yesterday at The Point Forward, it’s not a bad idea for the Spurs to bring back essentially the same group as last year. The Spurs’ peak last season was arguably higher than any team’s in the league, the only problem being their peak started and ended couple of weeks too early.

But nonetheless, the Spurs were damn good last season and ran into what ended up being a bad matchup in Oklahoma City. Unfortunately for the Spurs, the Thunder don’t seem like they’re going anywhere in the Western Conference hierarchy. And as much as I would love the Spurs to transition back to being a more defensive team, we should still look at this as a successful offseason thus far.

San Antonio explored its options in trading up in the June NBA Draft, but didn’t find any deals to their liking, so they held steady with their second round pick. They explored several names in free agency, Marcus Camby among them, but didn’t commit themselves to any contracts that will hurt the team long-term, while bringing back several important pieces from last season’s team at a fair price.

With a full training camp and preseason for this team to gel together, along with 16 more regular season games, there is reason to believe that next year’s team could be an improvement over the one we just saw. Throw in some internal development from Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and possibly Tiago Splitter, and you’ve got yourselves a rotation.

But if that rotation leaves you wanting (I know you want the Spurs to get rid of Matt Bonner), look at it this way. By bringing back these players, the Spurs have given themselves arguably the most flexible roster in terms of trade pieces. The Spurs can offer nearly every type of contract and player for a team looking to trade.

San Antonio can offer a team any size of contract in a deal whether it’s large (Stephen Jackson, $10 million next season), medium (Tiago Splitter, $3.9 mil or Matt Bonner, $3.4 mil) or small (Blair, $1 mil or Neal, $850K). They’ve also got expiring contracts (Manu Ginobili, Jackson, Blair, Neal) and unguaranteed ones (Blair, Neal) that could be appealing to a team looking to shed salary at the trade deadline in February.

With the logjam of players at the two guard positions and DeJuan Blair’s recent admission that he doesn’t think he’ll be with the Spurs next season, San Antonio will probably make a deal at some point. Whether it’s this week or in February, the Spurs have assembled a roster with the flexibility to take advantage of any sort of offer that comes their way. Oh, and they have until July 17 to amnesty Matt Bonner.

All Spurs salary stuff comes from our friends at ShamSports.

  • willny

    We need to trade bonner,Blair, and even tho I’d hate to see him go neal to New Orleans for kaman if they can make it happen.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    I still don’t see how Chris Kaman helps the Spurs much. Can he guard the pick-and-roll?

  • SargeSmash

    A couple of years ago, I’d have been on the Kaman bandwagon. Not anymore. I don’t think he helps at all.

    Now, a cheapy deal for Elton Brand, if he’s got anything left in the tank, is much more appealing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1183770625 Jon Richey

    I’m torn about Kaman. On the one hand, his rebounding and blocking would be nice, on the other hand he is slow as molassas. Brand would be better, but only slightly. Camby would’ve been the best, but alas….I think it would be better to spend a lot of time with Splitter in the offseason and improve his footwork.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    Honestly, I think shot blocking is overrated. I think the Spurs’ best play is to roll with what they have for now and wait for someone to come available for the right price. Maybe they can use Blair and Stephen Jackson’s expiring contract to pry Anderson Varejao away from Cleveland in January or February. Something like that. I would rather see the Spurs be patient and take advantage of something than blow their wad on a stiff like Kaman.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    And actually, Tiago Splitter’s per-36 minutes numbers for blocks and rebounds last season were almost as good as Kaman’s. Splitter out-rebounded Kaman 9.8 to 9.6, while Kaman out-blocked Splitter 2.0 to 1.5. And Splitter has much better mobility.

  • Hobson13

    I do agree that the Spurs peak last year (20 game win streak) was insanely impressive. After watching Lebron blow the Thunder up in 5, I am inclined to believe that OKC played slightly abover their heads against the Spurs and of course game 6 was an officiating fiasco. With that said, the Thunder will be better this next year and the Lakers and Clippers have both added significant pieces. It also seems like the FO has structured all contracts to expire in a maximum of 2-3 years so IMO, we now have a definite date on when the massive rebuilding begins.

  • Titletown99030507d

    That’s probably when Pop makes his exit. All the “GREAT” coaches have a history of doing that.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Shot blocking is not overrated when it’s utilized at the rim. I’ll take shot blocking any day.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Then why the hell is everybody wanting Splitter in a trade package? Retarded. Kaman is still better than Blair or Bonner.

  • Titletown99030507d

    A lot better than Blair or Bonner.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    I’ll take a team that’s good at preventing teams from getting to the rim in the first place, to me that’s far more valuable than two more blocked shots per game.

  • Tyler

    I don’t think there are too many that want to trade Tiago. He’s a quality rotation player at a position of need and is fairly paid (I’d argue underpaid).

  • Tyler

    Varejao is destined to be a Spur. There’s no way around it. It’s just too perfect a fit for it not to happen.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Andrew someone in the Boris Diaw thread yesterday stated that he was not undersized by any stretch. They got they’re clocks cleaned by the Spanish front court (two Gasols) and Diaw was part of that. Yes he is undersized the only reason he looked halfway decent like Blair did during the regular season was because Timmy was right there by his side. All they did was insert Diaw for Blair and nothing in the “BIG” department changed. Sure he can pass the crap out of the ball but we have Tony for that. What good is he if he continues to pass up shots just to look like a PG? Don’t need him if he continues down that road. I’d rather insert Darko for that undersized center. That is a big pet peeve of mine. Not another year of that crap that will be exposed again in the playoffs. ‘Big” boys seem to be in the playoffs if you noticed.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Elton Brand has nothing left in the tank. I’d rather get Darko instead. No wear and tear on that 27 year old body and waiting to get an opportunity to make a statement with an other team.

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  • bigfundenmental

    no way the Spurs trade Ginobili and his expiring contract. other than, a very informative piece. thanks

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    I don’t see it happening either, but it still technically is an expiring contract and I felt I had to include it.

  • Titletown99030507d

    My bad, Your right I was referring to the posters at SB Nation. They are something unaware group (posters) over there.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Like the Spurs have that?

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  • http://twitter.com/Joseph23B Joe Bot

    I’m glad this Kaman to the Spurs debate is over.

    @ESPNSteinLine: Just going up online: Mavs on verge of signing All-Star center Chris Kaman. Deal should be finalized later Wednesday

  • ThatBigGuy

    Well, considering he only had 20 games to figure out how to fit in before the playoffs started, I’d say he did pretty well. After a summer of learning the system, he’ll be fine.

  • ThatBigGuy

    Kaman puts up nice numbers….when he plays. He’s missed 152 games (39%) in the last 5 seasons. Are we any better with 50 games of Kaman or 80 games of Blair?

  • ThatBigGuy

    Agreed. I’ve liked him for years: defends the post & PnR, doesn’t take bad shots defensively, knows his role and plays hard all the time. He needs a haircut, though.

  • ThatBigGuy

    I totally agree. Darko is a solid defender with only 467 games under his belt. He needs some direction that I think the Spurs can provide. I’d be stoked if we can grab him off the waiver wire. Brand has nearly twice as many games played (860) and isn’t a 7 footer.

  • ThatBigGuy

    Perhaps when he’s not injured. Is 50 games of Kaman worth more than 160 games of Blair and Bonner? I don’t think so.

  • Tyler

    Every time I watch him I think, “He’s just a Spurs type of guy”.

    It’s going to happen. I wish I could bet on this.

  • SAJKinBigD

    1 year @ $8 mil. Whew. German pipeline up here in Dallas. Glad he won’t be with the Spurs.

  • STIJL

    Your post is spot on IMO. It’s what I’ve noticed this off season to date. Spurs resign their known commodities. Wait till the dust clears. And then maneuver and operate trade options.

    I mean…what’s the rush? They know what they have and what they have can do. They know it would improve the team to add that “athletic” big to the mix. And now with the examples you’ve given…the Spurs have (including the draft and stash foreign players you didn’t mention)…a potential smorgasbord of deals they could utilize to get who they want in the end.

    Considering everything…Spurs have done as good a job they were afforded to do up to this point.

  • Hobson13

    Never was too big on Kaman over the past couple of years. Despite some fan’s rooting for him to be in a Spurs uniform, he really just doesn’t fit. He and Duncan couldn’t be on the floor together since neither could guard an athletic 4. Besides his inability to move, he always misses significant time due to injury. 48MOH ran an article with great statictics around the time when we signed Diaw which basically confirmed that Kaman was decent at doing many things, but not great at any one thing. IMO, the greatest need is for a 6’10”-7′ athletic big who can rebound, play decent defense and hit an open 15-18 footer.

  • Bob

    Shotblockers can make up for unathletic perimeter guys who can’t stay in front of their guy. If we have a shotblocker we don’t need to give OKC so many open shots.

  • Tim in Surrey

    Unfortunately, the statement Dark is waiting for the opportunity to make is the same one he has been making for years: “I don’t want to play basketball.”

  • Bry


    the greatest need is for a 6’10”-7′ athletic big who can rebound, play decent defense and hit an open 15-18 footer” You’re kidding, right? What team doesn’t ‘need’ that? And where do you get that for less than 8 million per? Robert Horry isn’t walking through that door again….

  • bakedroll

    do the spurs have enough cap flexibility to claim him off wavers?

  • Bry

    Again, just because a player doesn’t have the style or dimensions you prefer, doesn’t make him undersized. He’s 6’8″ and very heavy. The Lakers, with their vaunted frontcourt got embarrassed by OKC. Being bigger at your position doesn’t automatically make you a good defender. Last I checked people like Joe Johnson, Carmello Anthony, Chris Kaman, Dirk Nowitzki etc. were bad defenders, despite their size for their respective positions. On the other hand players like Dennis Rodman or Chuck Hayes were superb defenders, despite being undersized. A starting frontcourt of Leonard, Diaw, and Duncan, is actually a bigger than average starting front-court in today’s NBA. Gasol and Bynum are the exception, not the norm.

  • Bry

    Wow, great in quotation marks? By all means, tell me which of the many coaches you’d choose to replace Pop. Give the guy some credit. They didn’t vote him coach of the year (again) for his pleasant disposition.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1183770625 Jon Richey

    What about Darko? He seems like just the type of player Pop can pull off the waivers heap and make into a decent role player for the spurs.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    Could be a decent fit if comes cheap.

  • AS

    Im getting tired of this guy talking about Kaman as he`s Jabbar. This is copied and pasted from another blog (Pounding…), where another guy took it from the Detroit blog Detroit Bad Boys.
    When Chris Kaman was on the court, the Clippers offense was at its worst. When Chris Kaman was on the court, the Clippers defense was also at its worst. It’s easy to just look at his numbers, 19 and 9, and think— wow, that man is dominant, and that kind of talent could make our team so much better. Thing is, you really need to look at how those numbers are generated, how the opposition performs against it and the ultimate outcome of the most important metric— wins and losses.

    This last season, Chris Kaman was 2nd on the Clippers in terms of minutes per game (2608). However, he was worse than every other player on the Clippers team that played 500+ minutes in some of the most popular advanced metrics. ORtg, Offensive Win Shares, WinShares per 48 minutes… the worst of all rotation players. So how can a guy who scores 19 points a game have a negative impact on team performance on offense alone?

    Turnovers and poor shooting. Funny enough, Kaman’s turnover rate went down from 20% last season, but he still managed to rank second amongst centers in turnovers— right behind Dwight Howard. Howard, however, draws twice as many free throws per game and shot the league’s highest FG% last season. Kaman, however, was the worst non-stretch center in the league in terms of shooting efficiency. It’s okay for Mehmet Okur to shoot 46% when a third of his shots are attempted from behind the 3-point line. Amongst centers that don’t attempt threes… Kaman is the league’s least efficient.

    So in practice, that means that once in every seven possessions that he controls the ball, Kaman will turn the ball over at least once, not quite make three baskets— leaving his team with between 4 and 6 points every seven possessions. It’s play like that which makes you amongst the league’s worst centers to ever score 19 points a game. It’s play like that which decimates your offense.

    Now you take a guy like Ben Wallace. He’s a terrible scorer, but how could a guy like that put up one of the league’s best offensive ratings at 116 (to Kaman’s 99). First, offensive rebounding— nearly twice the rate of Kaman. This gives the Pistons at least an additional possession a game. Then, when Wallace actually takes a shot, he shoots more efficiently than Kaman. He turns the ball over 1/3rd as much as Kaman. And for a player with a much lower usage rate, he records pretty much the same passing numbers as Kaman. At the end of the day, your team scores more baskets with Ben Wallace on the court than it does with mr 19 points a game Chris Kaman. These are the emptiest of points, points that take far too many wasted possessions to get ahold of.

    This doesn’t even begin to mention Chris Kaman’s defense. I’d gladly go into just how terrible he is on D (which is even worse than I think people let on), but I kind of expect people to already see that. Thing is, people think— 19 points, 9 rebounds, that’s awesome. But if you completely take defense out of the equation, he STILL manages to make his team worse when he’s on the court by shooting poorly, turning the ball over and never passing for a guy at his usage rate.

    Honestly, and I can back this up statistically, the Pistons would be better off with Jason Maxiell as our starting center 82 games a year. We would win more games and play more effectively.

    And this isn’t me getting all rainbow’d on Maxiell. Dude is a 6th man in the best of times. But I say that to show how ineffective Kaman is, and how our second big off the bench is already better than the Clip’s scoring starter. What’s more, we don’t need to use our best trade asset and a pick (which would be a new level of brainless) to get more efficient production on our court. This from a guy who doesn’t even have the body to play center.

    As for Kaman “balancing the roster”, it shouldn’t take a trade to do that, if the aim is only to make our players more comfortable. By “balancing the roster”, we should be able to bring in real talent in other positions. If not, we should be able to get out of our bad contracts. Kaman provides neither.

  • Tessa

    Splitter is interesting as a trade asset mainly because he’s one of the few genuinely valuable assets we have. He’s a backup for us, but he could start for a fair number of teams, and being a center, he’s disproportionately valuable. So if we could find a passable center somewhere else, we might be able to trade Tiago for a legitimate difference maker or prospect at another position.

    For example, my daydream last week was a sign and trade for Marcus Camby, with a deal built around Splitter for Camby plus, say, Terrence Jones. The Rockets get a solid center on an affordable contract, we get Camby (who wouldn’t have signed with them anyway) and a solid, athletic prospect at the 4.

  • Hobson13

    This player could have been found had we been able to move up in the middle of the first round. This draft was full of good 4’s.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Everyone harps about pop being able to get the most out of a player and motivating players as well. He can motivate that big tree and shake some branches.

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  • Titletown99030507d

    Oh but your wrong there. You’ll see what I mean when the playoffs roll again maybe we’ll go against the Lakers and you’ll understand.

  • Titletown99030507d

    Sarcasm you know what that is don’t you? Give me a break he’s had superstars to take him to the promised land like Phil did. And he melted down and lost it against the Thunder (Brooks thrashed him)

  • Titletown99030507d

    I’d rather have Darko. Camby is just to frikin old. I don’t think he’s the Camby of old and I don’t see him playing 25-30 minutes either for 82 games. No thanks. I’ll keep Splitter and add Darko.

  • Titletown99030507d

    The writing is on the wall. At this point Timmy and Diaw will start, then I would like to bring in Darko if he can accept peanuts and nobody else bids for him. Coming off the bench again will be Splitter with Darko. That right there makes the front court better than last year. No Bonner, no Blair.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1183770625 Jon Richey

    Oh well, he’ll get snatched up and overpaid by someone else anyway.