2013 NBA Free Agents San Antonio Spurs Should Be Watching Down the Stretch
The San Antonio Spurs will enter the summer with more cap flexibility than in years past, however, the extent to which they will be able to spend will rely on numerous factors.
The team's current highest contract is that of Manu Ginobili, and while it will come off the books next year, he'll still be due a fairly substantial amount of money.
Tiago Splitter will also demand a larger deal, and rightfully so, having played exceptionally this season. Stephen Jackson will also have the opportunity to leave San Antonio, but after proving to be a fantastic role player, the Spurs should highly consider signing the veteran forward.
Combined, these players will take up a large portion of the team's payroll, leaving just the mid-level exception for the Spurs to use to lure free agents to San Antonio.
Whether or not these players can make an impact is another story, but with some flexibility, a new face or two in the Alamo City may be inevitable.
After the conclusion of the 2013 playoffs, you'll hear claims that the Spurs' window to win a championship had closed.
Fortunately, that's what they said last year and the year before that.
If the Spurs show up next year ready to compete, a playoff run will most definitely be possible, and adding veteran pieces to secure a final ring will top the team's to-do list this offseason.
Near the top of potential additions will be Samuel Dalembert, who—at 31—has struggled to find himself a home since parting ways with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Now, after playing for four teams in four years, the big man will face another season of free agency, and potentially, a new home.
Having never been a star, the 6'10'' Dalembert won't ask for much, though there will certainly be competition for his services. Though underplayed in Milwaukee, he has exhibited loads of talent in his few opportunities—namely a 35-point performance earlier this season.
He isn't young, but compared to other veterans, he certainly is not old. He brings size to the table, in addition to an ability to score and rebound, making him a nice fit for the Spurs.
He isn't going to win the team a championship, but his assistance would certainly improve the Spurs' chances at making a run for one.
Though he isn't a pure big man, Al-Farouq Aminu may be a perfect fit for the San Antonio Spurs.
Despite his 6'10'' stature, Aminu's thin frame has made him a small forward, though he certainly can play in the post as well.
Averaging over seven rebound per game this year, Aminu can help the team on the boards while also providing them with a cornerstone for the future.
Having already showed off his impressive dunking skills, Aminu is a proven competitor and one of the more intriguing projects in the league.
With the New Orleans Hornets having found themselves a post tandem on which to build (Robin Lopez and Anthony Davis), Aminu's talents could be better used elsewhere.
He could also give the team with another option at small forward should either Stephen Jackson or Kawhi Leonard miss extended time in addition to his size and rebounding.
Though he still remains fairly raw, Aminu, if used correctly, has a bright future in this league, and the Spurs would be wise to make a run at the young man.
Marreese Speights was sent to the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this season, though his future with the team may be non-existent.
Cleveland beat writer, Bob Finnan of the News Herald recently announced that "center Marreese Speights will likely opt out of his $4.5 million deal after this year and become unrestricted."
The news doesn't come as a complete surprise, as Speights—despite a handful of opportunities—remains underused in Cleveland, who have found themselves a handful of developing big men in Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller. Anderson Varejao, too, has a bright future, and will likely return from injury by next season.
Long story short: Speights has no business extending his career with the Cavaliers.
Like the other big men, Speights would help to solve the Spurs' height issue, having already proved himself as an adequate offensive player and a solid rebounder.
In games in which he is used properly, Speights has excelled, and such opportunities would be common in San Antonio.
At 25, he provides the team with youth, though he brings a veteran mindset to the team.
He may not be the next great star, but as a proven talent, investing in the big man would be an intelligent decision for the Spurs should Speights elect to opt out.
Similarly to Dalembert, Jermaine O'Neal brings little to the table in the long run, but for a team like the Spurs who have a win-now mindset, O'Neal's value is tremendous.
Unhappy with his situation in Phoenix, O'Neal will likely look for a different home to spend the ensuing seasons, and San Antonio would be a perfect fit.
Giving the team size and scoring, O'Neal's repertoire encases a multitude of talents, and his veteran age makes him even more appealing to a team who doesn't have the time to develop another player.
Being older and less talented than the aforementioned, O'Neal could likely be swayed for a much lower price, giving the Spurs the flexibility to make a few more moves to solve their other needs.
If nothing else, signing the big man would ensure that he cannot do this against them again.
Though his tumultuous past may draw some criticism, it's hard to look past the fact that Andray Blatche is a solid player, and one that could help the Spurs in multiple ways.
As a major advocate of the big man, I was disappointed when the Spurs missed out on an opportunity to snag his talents this past summer, and should a similar opportunity present itself this time around, the team would be foolish to let it slip away again.
As a solid all-around player, Blatche could provide the team with much-needed height. His efforts on the rebounding end, in addition to his offensive talents, make him a perfect candidate to lead the frontcourt of the Spurs' second-unit while providing them with additional youth.
Though often denounced for his attitude issues, Blatche has rededicated himself to basketball, and any off-the-court problems have gone unnoticed since his arrival in Brooklyn.
As much as the Spurs need him, however, the 26-year-old power forward needs the Spurs. As a lost talent, Blatche could witness a career revival in San Antonio under the mentorship of Tim Duncan along with the tutelage of Gregg Popovich.
Not only would he give his potential suitors help from a size standpoint, but he could also find himself a role as a building block for their future.