With the San Antonio Spurs selecting Kyle Anderson (30th) in the first round and acquiring the rights to Nemanja Dangubic (54th pick) in the second round (by trading the 58th and 60th pick to the Philadelphia 76ers), let’s take a look at what the future could hold for the two players, and if there’s a chance they could be wearing silver and black next season.
First Round – Anderson
“You don’t expect guys like him to be picked with the last pick in the first round,” said Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford Thursday evening after the draft (via Spurs.com). “He’s a multiple position player. I’m not really sure what position (he plays), but that’s going to be one he and Pop figure out once they get together.”
“His game would fit in a lot of places, hopefully he’ll make it here,” continued Buford. When asked if Anderson could be a player who heads overseas, Buford said he didn’t think so. “That doesn’t happen with a first round pick very often unless they’re under contract with a team already.”
The initial plan is for Anderson to get his first work in the Spurs’ system by playing in the Las Vegas Summer League, which will take place from July 11-21. The Summer League will be a key time to see just how the Spurs will experiment in using Anderson at different positions, like they’ve done in the past with players such as Kawhi Leonard, Cory Joseph, Nando De Colo, and most recently, DeShaun Thomas.
Since Anderson is a first round pick, he’ll likely be signed to the Spurs from anywhere between a two to four year deal. The minimum the Spurs can sign him is a guaranteed two year deal, in which he can earn anywhere between $729,120 to $1,093,680 in the first year, and that will increase in the second year. If the deal goes beyond the second year, the Spurs will have the option of extending his deal for either a third or fourth season.
Based on the Spurs’ first round draft history, since 2007, all of their first round draft picks have been signed and included on the roster, except for Tiago Splitter and Livio Jean-Charles, since they were both already signed overseas, and Splitter for one, stayed overseas for a while before coming to the NBA.
Depending on what position Anderson will play, and how he fairs early against NBA talent, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him sent to the Austin Toros in the NBA D-League, like the Spurs have done with Joseph and Aron Baynes in the past. When free agency begins on July 1, the Spurs will have nine players under guaranteed contracts. If Anderson is signed, he’ll be the 10th player on roster. There’s a chance the roster could sit at 11 players if the Spurs elect to keep Austin Daye on the roster. With Boris Diaw, Patty Mills, and Matt Bonner all being unrestricted free agents, and Baynes being a restricted free agent if the Spurs extend a qualifying offer, the Spurs could have four roster spaces remaining. The expectation is the Spurs will seek to bring back Diaw and Mills, and possibly Bonner, as well as seeing if a team doesn’t offer Baynes an offer sheet they won’t match. In this scenario, the roster would be at its maximum of 15 players, which would mean no new free agents could be signed, and come the first game of the regular season, two of those players would have to be in suits, as the NBA only allows for 13 players on the active list.
Regardless if Anderson spends a majority of his time in Austin with the Toros, if he’s under contract, he’s still considered part of the Spurs’ roster. If a player like Baynes leaves in free agency, or the Spurs don’t guarantee Daye’s deal, then there’s a chance a roster spot could open for a new free agent.
Second Round Acquistion – Dangubic
Dangubic is still under contract with Serbian team Mega Vizura, but as Sportando indicated, his owner has a policy of an NBA opt-out once the NBA team is ready to bring him to the states. So with Dangubic being 21 years old and being drafted 54th in the second round, he’s likely to be a draft-and-stash project like so many of the other prospects the Spurs have around Europe.