The San Antonio Spurs had a historic regular season but surprisingly faltered in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs. Now, the Spurs have to make a lot of decisions this summer about next season and their future.
San Antonio won a franchise-record 67 games this season and earned the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. The Spurs, who also set an NBA record for home wins with 40, fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the conference semifinals in six games.
The problem for the Spurs going forward is that they were the oldest team in the NBA last year with an average age of 31.4 and could have very little to spend this offseason. San Antonio currently has over $70 million committed to six players, but that number could jump considerably depending on the decisions of several players, according to Basketball Insiders.
Tim Duncan ($6.393 million), Manu Ginobili ($2.9 million), and David West ($1.5 million) have early termination options. Boris Diaw ($7 million) and Jonathan Simmons ($874, 636) have non-guaranteed contracts, while Boban Marjanovic has a qualifying offer valued at $1.5 million.
A lot of what San Antonio does this offseason will depend on what Duncan and Ginobili decide to do. And the Spurs are unsure which decision either one is going to make, per Fox Sports.
"I really don't know what they're going to do," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said a day after the Spurs' season-ending loss at Oklahoma City. "But when they do decide to move on, sometime between now and the next five years - that's a little bit of a joke - it will feel a little differently walking into the gym."
Duncan, who turned 40 in April 25, has until June 29 to decide whether to exercise his option or retire, reports the San Antonio News Express. Duncan posted career lows in almost every statistical category last season, averaging 8.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 25.2 minutes per game. He also played in just 61 games.
Likewise, Ginobili and West must make their decision on whether or not to exercise their contracts by June 23.
Ginobili is going to turn 39 at the end of July, and retirement is a realistic possibility as well. He is coming off a season where he produced his lowest scoring average since his rookie season with 9.6 points a game. Ginobili still distributed and shot the ball well, producing 3.1 assists while making 45.1 percent from the floor and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc.West will be 36-years-old on August 29 and took considerably less money to sign with the Spurs last season. Unless West decides to retire, he will likely exercise his option. He was a valuable contributor off the bench this past season, averaging 7.1 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 54.5 percent from the field in 18.0 minutes per game.
San Antonio also has to make a decision on Diaw and Marjanovic by the end of June.
San Antonio owes Diaw $3 million of the $7 million regardless of whether he is on the squad next season or not. However, the 34-year-old told French website Basket-Infros that the Spurs want him back.
"I do not worry about my future, but it is not a question that I control. It is an option that the team has to decide if it was my last year or not. I'll see June 31, but they told me that it's their wish to keep me and continue next year," Diaw said, as reported by WOAI.
Diaw saw his minutes reduced dramatically last season, but nonetheless, he was productive. The 34-year old averaged 6.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 18.2 minutes a game. He also shot 52.7 percent from the floor and 36.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Marjanovic reportedly wants to return to the Spurs next season. The mammoth seven-foot-three, 290-pound center was very efficient in limited action last year. The 27-year-old averaged 5.5 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 60.7 percent from the field in just 9.4 minutes of action. Even better was his advanced metrics, per Basketball Reference, where Marjanovic posted an offensive rating of 130 along with a defensive rating of 96 plus a player efficiency rating of 27.7.Regardless of what Duncan and Ginobili decide to do, the Spurs' future is bright with LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker, Danny Green, and Kyle Anderson signed or under team control through the 2018 season.
One area of major concern for the Spurs, present and future, is low-post depth. Duncan, West, and Diaw aren't going to play forever, and Matt Bonner is currently an unrestricted free agent. That may be the reason 18-year-old Thon Maker is expected to work out for the team, and the Spurs have been rumored to be interested in Ante Zizic.Maker is attempting to become the first Canadian player to enter the NBA since 2005. The 19-year-old, who played for Canada's Athlete Institute last season, is a seven-foot-one power forward/center that weighs a rail-thin 216 pounds.
Maker is athletic and runs the floor well. He has a high motor and is a good rebounder as well as a good shot-blocker. Maker can also shoot the ball with decent range. However, he does need to add a lot of strength, and his basketball IQ could improve.
Maker has worked out for several other teams, including the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers.
Zizic has had a great season for Cibona in the Croatian league, averaging 17.7 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 1.3 BPG in 28 MPG. The six-foot-11 Croatian is an excellent rebounder and has a solid low-post game but needs to improve his perimeter shooting.
Rasual Butler, Andre Miller, and Kevin Martin are also slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.
[Photo by Alonzo Adams/AP Images]