Deshaun Thomas' chances at making the San Antonio Spurs' final roster is admittedly slim. Don't feel sorry for him, though. He knew what he was getting into.
In five Summer League games, a tiny sample size, Thomas flashed a potent perimeter shot, especially in the pick-and-pop, and advanced basketball acuity, albeit against inferior competition.
But, still, pump the breaks a bit. San Antonio selected Thomas with their second-round pick, 58th overall, and he doesn't have a guaranteed contract. Thomas played well given the circumstances, but he's still subject to the whims of the Spurs front office. His agent, J.R. Hensley, said he still isn't sure whether his client factors into San Antonio's offseason plans.
Via The Colombus Dispatch:
“It was not put like that,” Hensley said. “He is not guaranteed a roster spot, but he’ll have an opportunity, I think, to make the roster. If that’s not viable at some point, we’ll explore our options with them.”
If Thomas does not make the Spurs’ regular-season roster, Hensley said he did not know whether the team would want him to play in Europe or on their team in the NBA Development League.
“I haven’t had that conversation with R.C.” Buford, the Spurs’ general manager, Hensley said. “Right now, our focus is on (making) the NBA.”
A couple factors may deter Thomas from achieving his dream: Gary Neal's $1.11 million cap hold prohibits the Spurs from adding him to the roster, and until Neal's free agent market is solidified, Thomas' path is a bit muddy.
Plus, if San Antonio invites him to training camp, they will be making a dangerous concession — potentially losing his rights forever. According to San Antonio Express-News' Jeff McDonald, Thomas must be signed before he auditions for the final roster spot, and the Spurs relinquish his draft rights if he misses the final cut. Thomas is a replaceable asset, but San Antonio doesn't typically pass on developing prospects, especially in the primordial stages of development. Thus, this is a concession that doesn't seem very likely.
Thomas shouldn't view a "demotion" as a death sentence either. The Spurs' vaunted farm system churns out productive role players very often, and if he's patient, a roster spot may not be too far down the line.