San Antonio Spurs 2021 Offseason Outlook


Overview


The San Antonio Spurs completed the 2020-2021 NBA season with a record of 33-39 which placed them at 10th in the Western Conference and equal 19th in the league with the Charlotte Hornets. They qualified for the play-in tournament but lost their game against the 9th seeded Memphis Grizzlies. After missing the playoffs for the first time in 23 years last season, the Spurs did not exactly bounce back this season, presenting us with another average season without making any significant noise in the West. This team has one key weakness and that is that they don’t have a star player they can count on to get them a bucket in crucial moments. Many thought that this would be DeMar DeRozan, but he has proven to not be the star they believed to be trading for. DeRozan is a free agent this offseason along with some other key players and the Spurs will have to decide if they stick to their traditional approach of rebuilding or if they make some radical moves to improve.


Salary Cap


Currently, the San Antonio Spurs have 8 players with guaranteed contracts for the 2021-2022 NBA season. DaQuan Jeffries has a $1.7 million team option which I expect to be picked up. The Spurs don’t like to let young players go and will likely stick to their mojo of resigning developmental guys. Drew Eubanks has a partially guaranteed contract which I also expect to be picked up. The Spurs do not have any restricted free agents, but Keita Bates-Diop and Quinndary Weatherspoon are two-way free agents. The Spurs will have several key unrestricted free agents this offseason including DeMar DeRozan, Patty Mills, Rudy Gay, Trey Lyles, and Gorgui Dieng. The Spurs only have around $60 million of salary tied up currently, leaving them with a ton of cap space to use in free agency. Due to this, they will only have access to the $4.9 million room exception.


Depth Chart 2020-21 Season–


2021 NBA Draft


The San Antonio Spurs will have the 12th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft along with the 41st pick. With this pick, the Spurs will likely be looking for someone to add to their frontcourt as they already have a stash of young guard, they are committed to moving forward. They will likely look at hard working individuals with solid fundamentals and a high upside. Keeping this in mind, with the 12th pick in this year’s draft, the San Antonio Spurs should look to target Usman Garuba, a 6’8” power forward out of Spain. Garuba is a powerful and athletic guy who gets the simple things right, He plays hard on defence, runs hard in transition, and works the pick and roll well. Garuba has a great attitude and with the right coaching and organisation behind him, he has great potential to become a solid starting small-ball center in this league.


Free Agency


The San Antonio Spurs are set for an intriguing free agency period with plenty of cap space and plenty of their own entering as unrestricted free agents. DeMar DeRozan is their most notable free agent, and many expect he will be elsewhere by the start of next season. While the Spurs traded a lot to get DeRozan, it is clear that he is not going to be the player to lead their next phase of young players and it is time for him to get a fresh start in a better situation for him. Instead of using their cap space on DeRozan, the Spurs could use it to bring in a guy like Spencer Dinwiddie. While the current young guards for the Spurs bring some great defensive ability, Dinwiddie would bring an offensive element that the team is currently lacking. He has made it clear that he would require a big offer to stay in Brooklyn so he could be worth taking a flyer on. Based on everything Popovic has been saying in the media, the Spurs will likely aggressively work to retain Patty Mills and Rudy Gay as they love what these two players bring to the team, and I can’t imagine them wanting to move on from the organization either. Outside of this, I don’t expect the Spurs to make any other big signings in free agency as it is not their typical style. They like to improve through drafting and keeping their players and there is no reason why they would move away from this at this point in time.


Summary


The San Antonio Spurs enter the offseason with plenty of flexibility to make moves, but the question remains if they will make any. The Spurs traditionally are not a team that makes trades and signings to improve, instead looking to drafting and developing players. After missing the playoffs for a second consecutive season, they will have a lottery pick and will potentially look at bringing in a quality free agent to replace aging star DeMar DeRozan. Ultimately, you can never underestimate this team, especially while the master coach is at the helm, and you certainly cannot count them out of the playoff race next season.


Projected Depth Chart 2021/22 Season –