Recently, Shane Battier of the Memphis Grizzlies spoke to the media about his free agency and what he expects as an aging 10-year veteran in the NBA:
“Unfortunately, I’m not going to get the wine-and-dine period that usually accompanies free agency, into a routine,”
At 33 years old, the question arises, would Battier make a good target for the San Antonio Spurs once the lockout ends?
While many Spurs fans have likely blocked out the painful memories of the disappointing playoff loss to the Battier and the Grizzlies last season, the performance of Battier in that series was solid. He shot 8 for 29 from the three-point line and played his reliable brand of smothering defense throughout the six games.
While he is not likely to be much of an offensive presence, his defense could be just what the Spurs need to make one last run at an NBA Championship in the Tim Duncan era. With the disappointing contributions of Richard Jefferson, Battier could be a spark at forward that pushes this team over the hump. He is not a long term solution, but he could certainly be a “right now” guy.
Battier has consistently guarded the NBA’s best night in and night out. And, as the Spurs know all too well, he can still knock down a dagger three-pointer when his team needs it the most. The biggest factor in a decision like this is money.
The Grizzlies shelled out some cash for Battier in his expiring contract – so what will he expect as a free agent? The Spurs already have an expensive payroll and likely won’t be able to spend the kind of money that the Grizzlies can. It is a hard hypothetical to imagine without knowing the details of whatever new agreement ends this lockout and how that will affect free agency and player salaries. Battier addressed some of these concerns when he spoke about his impending free agency:
“Are there going to be midlevel exceptions?” Battier said. “Are there going to be Bird rights? Is there going to be a soft cap? Is there going to be a hard cap? Will there be amnesty? There are so many issues that will impact my decision-making, it’s not even worth trying to worry about or figure out at this point. Once the new deal is signed, I’ll be able to sit down with my agent and figure out a good course of action.”
There are a lot of unknowns in this equation, but, if the Spurs are able to make room for Battier, signing him to a short-term contract could be a solid decision by a front office with an excellent track record for offseason acquisitions.
What do you have to say Spurs fans? Think Battier would be a nice pick up for San Antonio?