San Antonio Spurs

Best Bargain-Bin NBA 2014 Free-Agency Options for San Antonio Spurs

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 23:  Terrence Jones #6 of the Houston Rockets and Shawn Marion #0 and Vince Carter #25 of the Dallas Mavericks battle for the rebound on December 23, 2013 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Garrett JochnauCorrespondent IIJuly 8, 2014

Narratives of closing windows and downward spirals have followed the San Antonio Spurs over the past few seasons, but while the team silenced its final few detractors after winning the 2014 title, it is entirely possible that it will return even better in 2014-15. 

After re-signing Patty Mills and Boris Diaw, two of the team's most important role players, the franchise is in a good place financially to make a smaller splash before the free-agency period ends.

Though Pau Gasol is the leading name on every fan's radar, he'd have to settle for a contract structured around the Spurs' mid-level exception, which would be a significant pay cut from his current salary.

However, if the team is unable to secure the four-time All-Star, a number of cheap options remain on the market who could help San Antonio reach new heights.

 

Shawn Marion

May 2, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Shawn Marion (0) battles for position with San Antonio Spurs forward Boris Diaw (33) during the game in game six of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Dallas won 113
USA TODAY Sports

If the Spurs use their final roster spot on a bargain-bin player, it is entirely possible that they'll be looking for a short-term supplement who won't eat up any cap space once the post-Duncan era hits.

Though Shawn Marion's previous allegiances may have clashed with San Antonio, he fits the bill perfectly as a sensible team-oriented veteran with a skill set that mixes well with the Spurs identity. 

Over his career, the small forward has developed a reputation for his defensive aptitude. He can hassle opponents along the perimeter and maintain his presence in the paint.

As a whole, his tenacity and innate prowess on the defensive end made him a natural comparison for Kawhi Leonard when the San Diego State product was entering the league. Now a Finals MVP, Leonard has garnered his own reputation as a lockdown defender and workhorse. With little depth behind him at the 3, San Antonio would be wise to acquire a player with similar skills in order to avoid the defensive meltdowns that occurred when either Leonard or Danny Green—or worse, both—were injured or simply resting.

Even in the final years of his career, Marion has proven himself a valuable asset on both ends, scoring efficiently and contributing on offense without the ball. On defense and on the boards, his high motor makes him an ideal player to contribute off the bench.

Though it may take time for Spurs fans to adjust to seeing Marion sport black and silver, they would be smart to welcome him with open arms.

 

Rashard Lewis

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12:  Rashard Lewis #9 of the Miami Heat takes a shot over Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs during Game Four of the 2014 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2014 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowle
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Like Marion, Rashard Lewis may not appear to be your prototypical Spurs target. After all, he was a member of the Miami Heat team that battled San Antonio in back-to-back championships.

However, his status as a veteran small forward who won't demand a large contract makes him an attractive free agent for the Spurs to ponder.

According to Yahoo's Marc J. Spears, the squad has already expressed interest in him.

Though he is hardly the player that he once was, Lewis has proved recently that he can contribute when counted upon, and in more ways than one.

He found his offensive groove late in the postseason and made a defensive impact that caught many by surprise. Even when his stats didn't show it, the seasoned veteran had an influence on the team's success, something that he'll continue to do wherever he lands.

As a combo forward, Lewis could find limited playing time on a Spurs roster that lacks frontcourt depth. He can shoot, slash and contribute the intangibles that the team values so highly.

He's hardly a big name, but as a short-term option, Lewis is a sensible summer pickup for the defending champions. 

 

Marvin Williams

Mar 8, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Utah Jazz forward Marvin Williams (2) celebrates during the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. The Jazz defeated the Sixers 104-92. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

If the Spurs decide to avoid adding veterans, 28-year-old Marvin Williams, who David Aldridge has named as a potential target for the team, provides them with perimeter defense and another shooting spark at a relatively low price. 

Williams never lived up to his No. 2-pick potential, but he has demonstrated a handful of strong qualities that make him a valuable rotation player on any roster.

Most recently, as a member of the Jazz, the former North Carolina standout averaged nine points and five rebounds in just over 25 minutes of action. He shot nearly 36 percent from deep and contributed defensively despite limited playing time.

At 6'9'', he can play either forward position, a trait valuable to the Spurs, who often found themselves resorting to Matt Bonner for depth at the power forward slot in the postseason. 

Williams' shooting ability would mesh well with San Antonio's current offensive scheme, while his rebounding and defensive tenacity would supplement Leonard and Green at the wing.

Overall, he'll demand very little, and while there will be slight competition for his services, the Spurs have the means to acquire Williams should they elect to add a player whose talents will be useful both now and going forward.

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