Continuing our series of looking at San Antonio Spurs free agents heading into free agency August 2, today we’ll look at a player who fell out of the rotation and finished the year on the injured list in Trey Lyles.
After being part of the Spurs’ rotation in the 2019-20 season by playing in 63 games and starting in 53 of them, Lyles played in just 23 games this past season and his last game action came on March 24. From there, he missed the remainder of the season with an ankle injury.
In his 23 games, Lyles’ minutes went down from 20.2 last season to 15.6 this season. He averaged five points, shot 35% from three on 1.7 attempts, and collected 3.7 rebounds per game.
There was a sign the Spurs were going to shift their rotation to more of a small-ball lineup in the bubble last year, when Lyles had to miss the bubble games due to injury. That shift continued into this past season when the Spurs added Keldon Johnson as a starter, and went with four perimeter players in the starting lineup and just one big. That meant Lyles would have to come off the bench, but Gay was already getting most of the minutes off the bench as the backup four.
Lyles’ Contract Projection
Lyles has just completed his 6th NBA season and he’ll be 26 in November.
In the 2019-20 season, Lyles brought the production level of a starter to the team per ProFitX. He outplayed his contract that season, but this past season with his role reduced and the missed games, Lyles played like a player on the second unit, who didn’t play up to the level of his $5.5 million contract per ProFitX.
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.
Lyles is projected to bring the production of a key reserve in the next two seasons according to ProFitX’s career outlook AI model. A new contract this offseason projects to be in the range of $6.9 million to $10.6 million per ProFitX.
That means a team with interest in Lyles will likely be using their exception, like the $9.5 million non-tax payer exception if they’re a non-tax team over the cap, the $5.8 million tax-payer exception if they’re a tax team over the cap, or the $4.9 million room exception if they’re a team with cap space.
The chances of Lyles re-signing in San Antonio don’t look very high. There was a report in March that he and his representatives were interested in seeing if he could be moved to a new team. Throw in that the Spurs might go after a player who plays the four in free agency in John Collins, plus the team still needing to get Luka Samanic minutes at a similar position, and it looks like Lyles won’t be returning to San Antonio.
Four teams that would fit Lyles’ skillset best per ProFitX’s Teamfit AI model are the Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, and Los Angeles Lakers. The most those teams can offer is the mid-level exception.