Be afraid, folks, the San Antonio Spurs have salary-cap space.
Yes, the team that captured the 2013-14 crown will have an opportunity to improve by adding free agents with the NBA draft now completed. San Antonio selected Kyle Anderson from UCLA with the No. 30 pick in the draft and added Nemanja Dangubic with the 56th pick.
Anderson is a small forward who enjoys passing, while Dangubic is an off-ball scorer who will play 2-guard. Anderson probably won't get much burn as rookie, and Dangubic will likely remain overseas (Serbia) for a few years before finally joining the Spurs.
Thus, San Antonio will have roughly $6 million of salary-cap space to play with during free agency.
It’s worth noting that Tiago Splitter is the only Spurs player signed past the 2014-15 campaign. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili’s deals expire after the upcoming season, and it seems reasonable to assume they will then retire.
Tony Parker’s deal concludes after 2014-15 as well, but he will still only be 33 years old when the 2015 offseason kicks off. I expect the Spurs to re-sign him to a three-year deal.
Kawhi Leonard has a qualifying offer scheduled for the 2015-16 season, which San Antonio will almost assuredly present and then try to sign him to an extension.
Cory Joseph will become eligible for the qualifying offer at the same time, but retaining him might not be a priority.
These details matter for this summer because San Antonio is probably keeping an eye on its present (defending title in 2014-15) and future (post-Duncan era). Thus, free agency will be about getting players at affordable deals that allow the franchise to easily retool going forward.
One last item of note: San Antonio has its own free agents to worry about. Patty Mills has already agreed in principle (not yet signed) to terms with the franchise on a three-year, $12 million deal, per ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.
That leaves Boris Diaw, which could be tricky. He could eat up all of San Antonio’s cap room (no pun intended).
However, let’s assume that Diaw returns at a discount (three years, $4.5 million per season). Diaw would take up most of the cap room and leave the Spurs with $2 million in cap space.
The Spurs still have their mid-level exception ($5.305 million), which could allow them to add a quality piece to their championship roster. We'll navigate from the least to most interesting free agents.
Salary information provided by ShamSports.