San Antonio Spurs: Answering Key Off-season Questions

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Credit: Jeff Chiu/AP

The San Antonio Spurs‘ offseason continues for the next four weeks before training camp opens on September 28. Let’s look at some offseason questions now that the Spurs have officially signed some free agents.

Who is most likely to get waived or traded before the beginning of the regular season?

After officially signing Bryn Forbes and Jock Landale, the Spurs now have 17 players on guaranteed contracts. A team can only take up to 15 players on guaranteed contracts into the regular season, meaning two players from the roster need to be waived or traded by October 18.

Among the players on the roster, Thaddeus Young, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Chandler Hutchison are the most likely to be either waived or traded before opening night.

Why is this case, because all three players are on the last year of their deals and aside from Young, Aminu and Hutchison likely wouldn’t find themselves in the rotation during the season.

Young’s name has already been linked to two different teams, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Phoenix Suns. According to Shams Charania of the Athletic, contenders are interested in acquiring Young.

Young has the most trade value among the three players. Per ProFitX, Young is projected to play like an impact starter this coming season. Aminu is projected to play like a key reserve and Hutchison is projected to play like a player on the second unit.

Something to keep in mind is now that the Spurs are above the salary cap, if they were to move Young to a team without a trade exception larger than $14.1 million, San Antonio would need to take back players in a trade.

For example, if the Cavaliers wanted Young, a trade might look like Young for Cedi Osman and Dylan Windler to get the salaries to work for the deal. This isn’t being reported, it’s just an example of what a trade could look like with Cleveland.

In the case with Phoenix, an example trade might look like Young for Dario Saric and Jalen Smith. Again, to get the salaries to work, not a reported trade.

Three teams that have trade exceptions large enough to absorb Young’s $14.1 million salary are the Boston Celtics ($17.1 million trade exception), New Orleans Pelicans ($17 million trade exception), and Orlando Magic ($17.1 million trade exception).

Boston and New Orleans are two teams to watch since they’re both competing as teams trying to get into the playoff picture. Orlando is headed for a development year, so they probably wouldn’t have interest in trading for Young.

Since Young and Aminu were acquired by trade into the Spurs’ cap space, there’s no wait time to move either of them in a trade.

How much cap space are the Spurs projected to have next summer?

Now that we know the salaries for Forbes, Landale, and Collins, we can project how much cap space the Spurs can open next offseason.

If the Spurs were to let Lonnie Walker IV walk in free agency, waive Zach Collins, and end up with the 6th pick in the lottery as their over/under for wins suggests, San Antonio could open $32.9 million in cap space next offseason.

That would be enough for a max for a player with 0-6 years of experience, but not enough for a max for a player who has 7 or more years of experience.

That $32.9 million in cap space will shrink if the Spurs sign Walker IV to an extension this offseason, re-sign him next summer, keep Collins on the roster, or end up with a pick that’s after 6th in the draft.

Who will be the other Spurs two-way player?

Though he hasn’t signed his deal yet, Joe Wieskamp will reportedly be signing for one of the Spurs’ two two-way slots for next season.

The Spurs still have Keita Bates-Diop in restricted free agency with the option to return to the team on a two-way deal, if Bates-Diop chooses that path.

If Bates-Diop were to decline the qualifying offer and he agreed to let the Spurs pull the offer, then San Antonio could offer the second two-way spot to another free agent.

ProFitX is a dynamic financial and performance index powered by Artificial Intelligence with front-office optics displaying 17 visual and time-series models for 480-plus NBA athletes. The Athledex models historical, dynamic, and future performance data to monitor and project insights on contracts, performance, injuries, team fit, development, and potential. Follow them on Twitter at @ProFitXAI and on Instagram. 

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