Free agency is in full swing, but the San Antonio Spurs remain on standby as they deliberate the best course of action to complete their roster for next season.
While San Antonio’s front office focuses on immediate needs, we’re going to concentrate on players who could potentially fill spots 13 through 17 on the newly expanded NBA rosters.
Nineteen players appeared for the silver and black in summer league last season and more than half of them spent time with the Austin Spurs at some point in their career.
For Utah Jazz Summer League, seven of San Antonio’s 14 players will be former Austinites, but some faces may not be as familiar as others.
Drafted 55th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, Lalanne has been almost entirely off the radar after spending the 2015-16 season in Austin.
Since his days in the G-League, Lalanne has played the last two seasons for Capitanes de Arecibo of the Baloncesto Superior Nacional in Puerto Rico, while also logging minutes for Zhejiang Golden Bulls of the Chinese Basketball Association.
In 53 international games, Lalanne averaged 13.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game while shooting 48.2 percent from the field and 33 percent from beyond the arc.
It’s difficult to find much else on Lalanne. The Capitanes won BSN’s championship last summer with Lalanne playing the role of a sixth man for Arecibo. More recently, Lalanne was named MVP of the Week back in April, but an injury has him currently rehabbing before Summer League gets underway.
Expectations for Lalanne to fulfill a bench role with San Antonio should be tempered. He’s definitely a better threat from beyond the arc than he was two seasons ago, and at 25 years old he’s still ripe for development. But the only way to know for sure is if Lalanne puts another solid season under his belt in Austin against stiffer competition.
When we last saw Cory Jefferson, his Alaska Aces were in a must-win scenario to make the playoffs in the Philippine Basketball Association.
Unfortunately for the Aces faithful, Alaska lost their must-win game by a final score of 107-106 led by Jefferson’s 32 points and 16 rebounds in the regular season finale.
Internationally, Jefferson averaged 29.7 points and 13.8 rebounds for the Aces while shooting 52 percent on field goals and 47 percent on 3-pointers.
Jefferson’s athleticism and defense would fit right in for San Antonio’s big man rotation, but the clock is ticking on his offensive development as he morphs his game into a prototypical stretch-4. Jefferson may not crack San Antonio’s final roster, but another season with the Austin Spurs on a two-way G-League/NBA contract could serve the former Baylor product well.
An average summer league appearance and disappointing training camp led to the former first round pick out of France being waived by the Spurs and sent to Austin.
Jean-Charles made the most of his time in the G-League averaging 10.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. But where Jean-Charles really transformed was as a rim protector, recording a career-high seven blocks versus the Delaware 87ers, finishing the season 63 blocks in 45 games.
After leaving Austin to return to ASVEL for a playoff run, Jean-Charles averaged a French career-high 9.2 points in 17 games with a limited bench role.
The 23-year-old Jean-Charles still has plenty of room to grow now that he’s adapted to the NBA game and rules. The only remaining concern would be if Jean-Charles can continue to regain some of the athleticism that’s been zapped from the torn ACL he suffered back in 2013. Either way, it seems like Jean-Charles is a perfect candidate for a two-way contract.
According to Nicolas Kohlhuber of French site BeBasket, Spurs guard and ASVEL president Tony Parker mentions Jean-Charles is okay with starting in the G-League again as long as it leads to an NBA contract.
“Livio Jean-Charles (2.03 m, 23 years old) will not wear the ASVEL jersey next season. Club president Tony Parker confirmed this in an interview with Progress.
‘Livio gave me great pleasure, he wants to start again in D-League and to try his luck in the NBA. He can succeed.'”
Jean-Charles is still on the Spurs books for this season after being waived last October. A strong Summer League, combined with the Spurs currently having a hole in the frontcourt, could allow Jean-Charles to return on a two-way or veteran minimum contract for the silver and black.
Nicknamed ‘The Sniper’, Jeff Ledbetter is a largely unfamiliar name even to Austin Spurs fans.
At 29 years old, Ledbetter seems poised to become a career G-Leaguer if he decides not to go overseas. But in today’s NBA, deadly shooters are more vital than ever, and Ledbetter is as good as they come.
In 38 games with the Spurs, Ledbetter averaged 9.6 points and 2.2 assists per game while shooting an incredible 48 percent on 3-pointers. Head coach Ken McDonald didn’t give him much run early in the season, but once Bryn Forbes and Dejounte Murray made permanent homes in San Antonio, Ledbetter did an outstanding job steadying the ship and helping Austin finish the season at .500.
With the amount of guards on both the Spurs NBA and G-League roster, plus incoming rookie Derrick White, Ledbetter’s chance to make it in San Antonio is miniscule. But a strong showing could lead to a potential training camp invite elsewhere.
The ultimate wild card on the Spurs summer league roster is Canadian point guard Olivier Hanlan.
Acquired last summer in the trade that sent Boris Diaw and a 2022 second round draft pick to the Utah Jazz, Hanlan had a small cameo with the Spurs summer league team before going internationally and playing for Le Mans Sarthe Basket of the Pro A French league.
As Le Mans starting shooting guard, Hanlan was second on the team in scoring, averaging 10.4 points per game to go with 2.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
Hanlan’s prowess offensively makes him an intriguing prospect, especially with his capability to operate out of the pick and roll. There’s still some concern about his shooting ability from beyond the arc, which has improved, but still lacks behind your average combo guard.
The plethora of tweeners with similar skill sets in San Antonio’s program provide a roadblock to Hanlan ever becoming a herald prospect. Another season overseas or some time in the G-League will give us a better gauge on Hanlan’s immediate future.