Friday the Atlanta Hawks placed Marco Belinelli’s contract on waivers. If Belinelli clears waivers, he’ll be able to sign with any team who has interest in him.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com, before Thursday’s trade deadline, the Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Philadelphia 76ers were three teams known to have had interest in trading for him.
IF the Spurs and Belinelli were to come to a decision to add him to the team, then the Spurs would need to waive a player since they’re already maxed out at 15 players. The most likely candidates to be waived in the event the Spurs sign anyone on the buyout market are either Joffrey Lauvergne ($1.5 million) or Brandon Paul ($815K). Ever since an early injury in the preseason, Lauvergne hasn’t been able to crack the Spurs’ rotation on a night to night basis. Though San Antonio is limited on traditional big men, Spurs Head Coach Greg Popovich has mainly been playing small for most of the season. Paul was getting minutes off the bench early in the season, but, since Bryn Forbes’ emergence and strong outing off the bench, Paul’s seen his minutes go down significantly.
As for Belinelli, he’s played in 52 games for the Hawks and averaged 11.4 points (37% 3-point accuracy), two assists, and 1.9 rebounds in 23.3 minutes per game. While it’s easy to think because he won a title with the Spurs he’ll automatically sign with them again, you also should consider what Belinelli is seeking on his end. Since he’s 31 and entering free agency this summer, he may be seeking a key role and minutes so he can showcase his skills to the 30 teams watching before he enters free agency again.
With the Thunder, there’s a chance he might be able to start alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George as floor spacer since Andre Roberson is out for the season. With the Spurs or 76ers, he’ll most likely come off the bench with either club once both teams are fully healthy. Should Belinelli choose San Antonio, Belinelli would provide their team with more outside shooting that they’ve been seeking this season with Kawhi Leonard injured for most of the season. Another benefit of adding Belinelli for the Spurs is the familiarity since he’s already spent two seasons in a Spurs uniform.
Project Spurs will continue to monitor whether the Spurs will be able to add Belinelli or not.