On Tuesday afternoon, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the San Antonio Spurs have signed Charles Bassey to an NBA contract that goes beyond this season. According to Bassey’s agents, he signed a 4-year, $10.2 million deal.
Whatd'ya know Bassey is in and suddenly the spurs have a defensive presence #PorVida— Matt Lerma (@MattLerma_PS) February 14, 2023
The news was met with joy from Spurs fans. Bassey was an Austin Spurs standout this year and greatly impacted games with San Antonio earlier in the season. This month, it was announced that he will join Jeremy Sochan in Salt Lake City to represent the Spurs at the All-Star break festivities. Bassey will participate in the G League “Next Up” Game.
This signing is well deserved for Bassey, but it raises an interesting question. Does this move signal the Spurs are ready to move away from Zach Collins? Collins has earned his current position in the starting lineup since the Jakob Poeltl trade, but that may not be the case by next season. Even if Brian Wright hasn’t made any decisions about Collins, given his contract situation, the center must feel pressure to perform better the rest of the season.
With the Charles Bassey Contract, Is It Now Or Never For Zach Collins?
During the Spurs’ 117-109 loss to the Cleveland Cavilers on Monday night, Collins had a solid performance. He finished with 11 points, six assists, and five rebounds. When Bassey was on the court, however, it was a dramatic difference. Suddenly, there were no more open lanes for the Cavs to drive to the basket. Bassey’s stat line didn’t look too bad either. He recorded six points and eight rebounds.
Bassey has earned the benefit of the doubt that, given more time on the court, those numbers should improve. Just two weeks ago with Austin, Bassey had a 40-point, 16-rebound game. Collins has had fantastic games too, notably against the Pistons where he scored 29 points with 11 rebounds last Friday.
If you’re Collins hearing the Bassey news, the remaining games of the season have higher stakes. He doesn’t have the luxury of waiting to see who the Spurs draft this summer and how he can fit in on the team. His $7 million salary for next season is not guaranteed if he is traded or waived before the 2023 NBA draft. As of this writing, Collins has 18 remaining games to fight not only for his starting status but his spot on the roster. It will be interesting to see how he responds in the coming games.
Charles Bassey Is Just Getting Started
Earning $5 million guaranteed has to feel great for Bassey. Still, he’s got a lot to prove with the Spurs. While with San Antonio, he had some great games, but he was also inconsistent. There was one game where he celebrated his making of one shot. Not in a boastful way, but in an “I finally made one” fashion.
The level of play will be an adjustment, and it’s likely that we’ll see high-scoring performances from Bassey once he settles into his role. If the “basketball gods” shine on the Spurs a Bassey/Wembenyama backcourt or a Henderson/Bassey pick-and-roll offense could cause trouble for any team. This would make him a cornerstone in the rebuild.
Let’s give Bassey his flowers. He deserves this contract, and Spurs fans should be excited about his future with the team. But what about Collins? Do you think he will meet the moment and prove he’s worthy of being a starter? Or, will the Spurs quietly move away from him before the NBA draft? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
I would love for Zach to stick around but the writing might be on the wall for him. I expect him to be dealt at the draft if we get the number 1 pick.