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NBA Free Agency: Spurs ‘Swing For The Fences’ Possibility

Free agency gets going Sunday night at 11 p.m. San Antonio time and the Spurs are at a bit of a crossroads.  Two important pieces to the Western Conference Champs' roster are free agents and there's still questions as to whether both are coming back.  We're pretty sure Manu Ginobili is coming back, but Tiago Splitter's future is a little more unsettled.  It's likely both will return as the Spurs have almost always been pretty conservative in free agency, but if the San Antonio Spurs chose, there's a slim (I repeat SLIM) chance they could bring in two top flight free agents in the next couple of weeks.

If going after someone like Josh Smith or Andre Iguodala is the home run option, we'll call pursuing both (not saying they're pursuing either, just using them as examples) the grand slam option.  It works like this.  The Spurs currently have roughly $17 million in cap space.  First, they need to figure out Manu Ginobili's situation as his cap hold restricts any other movement.  Let's say he signs a two year, $8 million deal.  Cap space reduces to $13 million.

That's probably enough for Iguodala and maybe a couple million extra.  It might be enough for Smith, though he's indicated he thinks he's a max player (I think the market thinks differently but it's hard to say).  The next would be to amnesty Matt Bonner and his $3.95 million deal, putting them back up near $17 million in space.

Assuming you can get both to take a little less, you could sign one player outright with most of the available space and sign-and-trade for the other.  For example, the Spurs could sign Iguodala to a four year, $36 million (average of $9 million a year).  Using the nearly $8 million in remaining cap space, the Spurs could then call the Atlanta Hawks and offer Danny Green and Boris Diaw for Smith, assuming Smith wanted to come to San Antonio, at a deal around $14 or $15 million.

Giving up Splitter, Bonner and Diaw would leave the Spurs pretty thin up front with little wiggle room to make any other deals, so maybe Smith and Iguodala won't work.  There are other options out there.  Perhaps the Spurs could still bring Smith in but pursue J.J. Redick instead.  Or sub out Smith for what should be a cheaper Al Jefferson.  Paul Milsap is presumably cheaper than Splitter, but also three inches shorter.

Again, it's likely Manu and Splitter return and the Spurs go after someone like Redick and a cost effective back up to Kawhi Leonard.  But the potential is there for a couple of big moves.  It involves giving up a lot of depth, which the Spurs value, and asking All-Star talent to take less money in exchange for more years.  Often the most enticing ideas are the least likely.  Just know that unlike past years, the most enticing idea is actually an option.

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