With the franchise fully in rebuild mode this season, fans have gotten to see a lot from all of the San Antonio Spurs players on the roster. They’ve watched the rookies blossom, and seen trades, signings, call-ups, and players being waived. Those left are not only competing to win games but also to secure their spot on the team moving forward. Some are hoping to stand out so that another team will pick them up should the organization part ways with them.
While no one is safe in a rebuild, we know for sure that the Spurs will be making tough decisions on the six players going into free agency over the summer. Let’s take a look at who’s on the chopping block.
San Antonio Spurs Players Who May, Or May Not, Be Back Next Season
Julian Champagnie and Dominick Barlow are the two most obvious question marks. They both currently enjoy two-way contracts that make them restricted free agents this summer. Each of them has $1.7 million qualifying offers hanging in the balance.
Champagnie is the newest member of the Spurs’ two-way roster. In the G League, he’s averaged 15 points per game. While on the NBA court, he’s been a spot-up three-point shooter. Still, there is more to his game that we haven’t seen. Based on what we’ve seen, his NBA fit is a Davis Bertans-like player that can be a valuable addition to the team. That’s assuming that he doesn’t follow in Bertans’ footsteps and lose consistency on his shot. Hopefully, he makes it through the Summer League before the Spurs make a decision one way or another.
Devonte Graham finds a slashing Dominick Barlow 🤩pic.twitter.com/QjqoMM8JOq— Spurs Nation (@SpursNationCP) March 16, 2023
It’s been a big year for the Spurs’ rookies. At this point in the season, however, the rookie fans have seen the least is Barlow. That being said, Barlow has shown growth beyond the potential that excited fans in the Summer League to now. With him earning more minutes recently, his defense has stood out as starting players on the opposing team give up the ball because Barlow wasn’t letting up on defense. We’ve also seen big blocks from the Overtime Elite product. Anything can happen over the Summer, but it would be great to see Barlow earn an NBA contract with the Spurs and get backup center or power forward minutes.
Pending Free Agents
Sandro “Mamu” Mamukelashvili
Mamukelashvili is the newest Spur and quickly became a fan favorite. Coming from the Bucks, he seems to fit right in with the Spurs roster and has even gotten praise from Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. While Spurs fans would love to see him back next season, we know that NBA basketball is a business first. We’ve seen another fan favorite like Boban Marjanovic only last one season with the silver and black. Mamukelashvili will be a restricted free agent in the summer with a $2.1 million qualifying offer coming his way if the Spurs keep him onboard. With his ability to shoot threes and his passing capabilities, he’s at least earned his way to training camp.
Mamu -> Sochan pic.twitter.com/1n89Ywnhr6— Project Spurs (@projectspurs) March 15, 2023
Jones is the only starter going into restricted free agency this summer. At the beginning of the season, it was expected that Jones would eventually move out of the starting lineup for Josh Primo. Of course, that didn’t happen for “reasons.” Jones has played well this season. He’s averaging 12.6 points and six assists per game this season. Beyond the stat lines, he brings a lot of energy and is a clear leader on the team. Jones has got a $5.2 million qualifying offer awaiting him over the summer. Expect for the Spurs to offer him a multi-year contract.
Even if he’s not the long-term starter for the team, Jones would be an amazing player to bring in off the bench. For a team that’s historically known for having next-man-up style depth charts, keeping him seems like a no-brainer.
Bates-Diop is at the end of his two-year deal with the Spurs, leaving him facing unrestricted free agency this summer. While the Spurs’ record is horrible this season, there have been multiple games where Bates-Diop was the leading scorer. He’s been a fixture in the Spurs’ starting lineup this season, with Devin Vassell missing long stretches of games. It’s hard to think that he’d be happier on another team. So it’s safe to say he’ll be hoping for an offer from Brian Wright. That being said, you never know what can happen with the draft. If the Spurs pick up a top prospect like Victor Wembanyama, it may attract a more talented free agent to the team.
Dieng will be entering the 10th year of his career this summer. The unrestricted free agent will have some choices to make about retirement. He hasn’t seen much playing time this season, but he’s been a strong mentor for the young Spurs squad. If he does retire, it would be nice to see him come back next season as a member of the coaching staff. Dieng been cut and re-signed multiple times this season. Out of everyone on this list, he’s the least likely to get a big offer from the team.
Who would you like to see come back next season? Anyone you think should be cut loose? Let me know by leaving a comment below. Make sure you’re following us on Twitter, Facebook, and our YouTube channel.