The possibilities for the San Antonio Spurs are endless this summer. They’ll have three first-round NBA Draft picks plus a second, plenty of cap space to pursue key pieces or a big name, and some guys that should generate trade interest around the league.
One name the front office should be keen on trading is sharpshooter Doug McDermott, who’s still under contract for $27.5 million over the next two seasons in the Alamo City. By no means did the 30-year-old have a bad season with the Spurs. His 42.2% mark from downtown was a welcome sight for a team in desperate need of shooting.
But overall, he didn’t really move the needle enough in other areas to warrant him being a must-keep if other avenues present themselves. There are plenty of big-name free agents the Spurs could want to free up cap space for, including guys like Zach LaVine, Miles Bridges, and Deandre Ayton.
If it comes down to the Spurs needing to part with their second-highest paid player in McDermott to make a splash this offseason, they shouldn’t have a second thought about doing so, but they’ll need to replace his shooting if that’s the case.
Luckily, San Antonio is often able to find shooters for a bargain or even turn mediocre shooters into lethal snipers with their development staff. Here are some guys they should be looking to acquire if that’s the case.
3P% in 2021-22: 39.1
Salary in 2021-22: $1.78 million
Entering his sixth year in the NBA, Malik Monk has significantly improved as an outside shooter over the last two years. While he was knocking down just 32.2% of his threes over his first three seasons with the Charlotte Hornets, he’s upped that to an impressive 39.4% from 2020 through this season.
A lottery pick at 11th in 2017, the 6-3 guard has improved his production with his increased playing time in all five years and comes off a season-high 13.8 points per game for the Lakers this season. He was certainly one of the very few bright spots in an embarrassing season for the Lake Show, but the bad news for them is they might not be able to retain his services at his new rate.
Monk clearly outplayed his meager one-year deal worth $1.78 million with the Lakers, and Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported league personnel expects his annual salary to be between $5 and $10 million next season. Eric Pincus, also from B/R, expanded on how Los Angeles retaining Monk could be tough.
“The Lakers might have to use their own non-taxpayer mid-level exception to pay Monk, but that produces another problem. That would limit the Lakers to a total payroll of about $152 million. The Lakers will climb well above that total if Russell Westbrook opts into his final year at $47.1 million, as expected.”
Instead, Pincus says, the Lakers would have to hope their $6.2 million taxpayer mid-level exception is enough for Monk. Time will tell.