The San Antonio Spurs have somehow lost their way over the last few years, and it is time to rebuild. They should start by firing Coach Pop, and go all-in on the best player in the NBA, Kawhi Leonard.
As of today, the NBA’s salary cap for the 2021-22 season has not yet been set by the league’s owners. But that won’t stop the Spurs from making a huge mistake when it comes to their offseason plans.
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The San Antonio Spurs have now missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time in club history, after 22 seasons of playoff basketball.
The Spurs have about $50 million in salary space heading into the summer, and have already added Doug McDermott, Zach Collins, Jock Landale, and their prodigal son, Bryn Forbes. San Antonio is obviously in rebuilding mode, having let Patty Mills and Rudy Gay go before initiating a sign-and-trade deal to send superstar and top scorer DeMar DeRozan to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Thaddeus Young.
They’ll aim to develop and release their young players; Lonnie Walker IV, Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, and Josh Primo, who was just selected, all have a huge season ahead of them.
The Spurs were the poorest three-point shooting team in the NBA, ranking last among the other 29 teams. They definitely addressed this problem, as McDermott and Forbes are now among the league’s top 3-point shooters. McDermott had a career year scoring wise last season, averaging 13.6 points per game and shooting 40.7 percent from outside the arc.
Forbes also set a league record with his 45.2 percent three-point shooting percentage, which helped the Milwaukee Bucks win the NBA Championship.
Despite these acquisitions to solve the Spurs’ shooting problems, there is one major thing they could have done with all of their salary room, and that is to pursue free agents aggressively.
Over the last several years, San Antonio has been cautious when it comes to free agency. They didn’t make any egregious errors this offseason, but they also didn’t make any moves with high-rewarding potential.
They could have pursued John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks and Kelly Oubre Jr. who ended up signing with the Charlotte Hornets. These two players would have been a nice fit with the young core’s timeline as both of them are just in their early 20s.
Given that Collins was a restricted free agent at the time, the Spurs could have either tried their hardest to persuade Collins, or offered the Hawks an enticing package, such as DeRozan, in exchange for the big man, given that the Hawks are also in win-now mode after Trae Young led them to the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
Collins might have been a perfect match for the Spurs since he is the epitome of the modern-day NBA big man, capable of running, dunking, and shooting. The Hawks’ forward is multi-talented, as he can also play center. Collins is a big man who can stretch the floor, making 38% of his 3-point tries in his career.
On the other hand, Oubre is an unrestricted free agent who the Spurs could have easily grabbed from the Hornets if they had the budget room to do so. Oubre signed a $26 million two-year contract with Charlotte.
If the Spurs had chased both of these guys, they might have been competitive in the Western Conference while still rebuilding. It will be fascinating to watch how head coach Gregg Popovich reacts, since the club has never been considered competitive enough to reach the Western Conference’s 8th spot.
Popovich, who will be 73 in January, is not getting any younger. Is Pop ready to spend his time and effort in this rebuilding Spurs squad after the team’s summer moves? Could he call it a career after eventually earning an Olympic gold medal with the United States in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?
The San Antonio Spurs have been a model franchise in the NBA for over a decade, but the success hasn’t come without its missteps. The Spurs are coming off of a season where they were knocked out of the playoffs in the Western Conference Finals by the Golden State Warriors. One of the biggest mistakes made by the Spurs during the offseason was not giving Kawhi Leonard a contract extension.. Read more about spurs offseason moves and let us know what you think.
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