Update on Spurs’ Offseason

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Back in mid August, I wrote an offseason guide for the San Antonio Spurs after they completed their schedule in bubble play.

At that time, the assumption was the free agency date would begin in mid-October.

Fast forward to mid-October, and the official start to free agency has been moved back to an unknown date in the next two months.

One date that is official is the NBA Draft date,  which will be taking place a little less than a month from now on November 18.

For the draft, the Spurs will be drafting with the 11th and 41st picks. As for all the dates in the offseason guide, the new dates for players to exercise a player option or whether the Spurs will keep a player on the roster for next season are tied to when the official free agency date begins.

So, until the actual free agency date is set, the offseason dates are also waiting to be set.

The Athletic Discussion with NBA Agents

On Wednesday, the Athletic published an interesting piece where they spoke with 20 NBA agents under the condition of anonymity, and there were some interesting thoughts and opinions from the agents when it came to the offseason.

The main headline quote from one of the agents was that DeMar DeRozan isn’t happy in San Antonio.

“DeMar doesn’t like San Antonio and doesn’t want to be there,” said one of the anonymous agents.

Later in the day, DeRozan refuted that quote on social media, according to Project Spurs’ Josh Paredes.

To provide context, DeRozan has five days before the official free agent start date (whenever that is set) to exercise or decline his player option for next season, where he’d earn $27.7 million for the 2020-2021 season.

If DeRozan declined the player option, he’d become an unrestricted free agent and would have the ability to sign with a team that has cap space, or he could try to work a sign-and-trade with the Spurs and a team that he wants to sign with, that is over the cap.

As for the Spurs, if DeRozan signed with another team without going through the sign-and-trade route, they’d be projected to be anywhere from an over the cap team to a team that could open up close to $20 million in cap space depending on decisions they make with free agents and players on non-guaranteed deals.

As the agents mentioned in the Athletic piece, they expect most players with player options to opt into or exercise those options. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the league isn’t expected to meet the cap projections they had set prior to the pandemic, and instead, if the league loses money, they’ll likely be using the same $109 salary cap figure for next offseason.

With so much uncertainty, players like DeRozan and Andre Drummond, who have player options north of $20 million, are most likely going to exercise those options unless they have a deal lined up with an outside team that has cap space.

The Spurs’ roster is in transition between having veterans who are focal parts of the team like DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Rudy Gay, while also having young players who need more minutes and role increases to continue their growth since they’ll be the future of the franchise. This is in reference to Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Keldon Johnson, Lonnie Walker IV, and Luka Samanic, plus whoever gets drafted with the 11th pick.

It’s up to the coaching staff and front office to determine which route the team will go in next season. Will they want to continue to try to compete for a playoff spot with DeRozan and Aldridge as their focal points, or do they want to see what happens with added responsibility for the younger players like we saw in the bubble, when Murray, White, Walker IV, and Johnson were on the floor together for lengthy minutes at a time.

Finally, in the Athletic piece, one of the agents mentioned how they think the NBA might provide salary cap projections as the draft draws closer (mid November). If that’s the case, then there might start to be more rumors about how rosters are being evaluated. But, until salary cap projections are released, most teams will hold off on making transactions through trade, like the agents mentioned.

 

 

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