According to a report from Marc Stein of ESPN, new Dallas Mavericks forward/center Yi Jianlian considered signing with the San Antonio Spurs before fully agreeing to sign with the Mavericks.
Sources said Yi also considered signing with the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs before settling on Dallas.
Though Jianlian has never made a major impact in the NBA, this is important to note because it reveals that the Spurs could still be looking to add another big man to the thin frontcourt roster of Tim Duncan, DeJuan Blair, Tiago Splitter, and Matt Bonner.
Jianlian is a seven footer and as the compressed season continues, any extra help in the frontcourt will help the legs of veteran’s like Duncan and Bonner, while also preventing Blair and Splitter from burning out before the playoffs.
This week the Spurs will play five games in seven nights that include two sets of back-to-backs. This isn’t a major problem now but it could be in March and April. At the moment, the Spurs can’t rest Duncan because the front court would only be three big men deep. If you’ve watched in the Spurs’ double-digit victories, head coach Gregg Popovich is already experimenting with different “small ball” lineups where rookie Kawhi Leonard could play power forward or center, and even guard James Anderson has been put at the power forward position.
If another big man isn’t signed or traded for, the small ball lineup may be the only way to limit wear-and-tear on the Spurs’ frontcourt.