The Unibrow got his wish. With Anthony Davis now a Los Angeles Laker, the landscape of the Western Conference has shifted dramatically, especially after the NBA Finals. The Warriors are now wounded and vulnerable for the first time in years. The Lakers are in the process of becoming a super team, but have some roadblocks in the way such as their pitiful depth. Other Western teams such as the Rockets and Clippers are going to make valiant strides and stake their claim in this now wide open Western Conference. The fallout from all of this leaves the San Antonio Spurs in a very unique situation. A new era so to speak, even more so now that Tony Parker officially retired and Kawhi’s antics far in the rearview mirror. For this offseason, the Spurs have a mediocre amount of cap space, enough to resign some select players and maybe a few new faces but obviously not enough to make a big splash. However, they have the youth and depth to make some deals and go into win now mode. They can also simply keep that youthful team and continue to develop from within, something the Spurs are all too familiar with doing. Dejounte Murray coming back from his ACL tear is obviously a breath of new life in the Spurs faithful, and will be the corner stone for both immediate and future development. Derrick White’s and Bryn Forbe’s promising trajectory can also support this more patient approach. The Spurs essentially have two choices this offseason. Join the fray atop the Western Conference and make some high risk high reward deals, or, allow the top dogs of the West (especially troubled ones such as the Rockets) to duke it out and knock themselves out. No matter what path they take, this offseason and free agency period will be an important one for San Antonio. In this article, I’ll go over both some cheap and big time deals the Spurs could make this offseason.
One deal the Spurs could make this year is for SF Bojan Bogdanović, who had a very successful year with the Indiana Pacers. He posted a career-high average of 18.0 points on 49.7 percent shooting (42.5 percent from three-point range) this past season, and proved to be a vital moving piece for the Pacers. His three point efficiency would be a strong fit for the Spurs. San Antonio were the NBA’s number one three point shooting team (39.2 percent) due to players like Forbes and a Bojan deal could be a massive boost in offensive prowess for the Spurs. However, one thing remains in the way for the Spurs to sign him this summer. Cap space. They would need to clear some space in order to make a competitive offer, as Bojan will be looking for a well deserved upgrade on the two-year, $21 million deal he received from the Pacers a few seasons ago. Who they would clear would be unknown, but sacrificing any youth like Forbes, White, or Walker IV would be risky. There are some other ways to clear the space, including trading veterans like Patty Mills or sacrificing their first round pick, cementing their intent to win now. If they could make it work, Bojan Bogdanović and Demar DeRozan would make a lethal wing combo, that is, if they keep Demar.
Boogie Cousins has had a rough go of it this past year. Recovering from the dreaded achilles tear, tearing his quad in the finals, and suffering defeat in a win or take all season with the Warriors. It proved to be a humble learning year for him. His injury case last year was the only reason he only earned roughly $5 million, so he should get a legit contract but far away from the star money his talent says it should. He remains a fragile, injury prone player with tons of question marks but on top of his game, there are probably no better centers in the league than the 4 time All-Star. His strength, passing, and shooting ability combined make him a truly gifted center when healthy. Thankfully, his hot headed attitude from the early 2010’s seems to be gone, and Coach Pop would ensure it stays that way. It remains possible San Antonio could offer Cousins their mid-level exception of roughly $9 million to join the team next season, while implementing a rehabilitation process very similar to the one Rudy Gay went through. It would even provide incentive for Rudy to stay, perhaps even on a cheaper deal. It’s a gamble, sure, but one the Spurs can make without sacrificing youth. And a prime Boogie Cousins could transform the Spurs into a real threat atop the West.
Brook Lopez is the safer alternative to Boogie Cousins, plain and simple. However, Brook simply isn’t as talented as the 4 time All-Star. Yet, Lopez had himself a nice year with the Bucks as he averaged 12.5 points and 4.9 rebounds this past year. He also displayed some nice sharpshooting multiple times during the Bucks’ run this post season, something the Spurs and Pop would treasure deeply. The 31 year old would shape to be what the Spurs were hoping out of Pau Gasol, a reliable shooter with good screening ability. With his age, Brook would come at a solid price for the Spurs and seems a safe fit. Him and LaMarcus Aldridge would be a sexy big man duo that would make many teams jealous.