- Rudy Gay and Marco Belinelli are perfectly fine stopgap options who can help keep the Spurs' ship afloat for one more year.
While the Kawhi Leonard situation has yet to play out, the Spurs are working on other parts of their roster. San Antonio re-signed Rudy Gay (one year, $10 million) and brought back Marco Belinelli (two years, $12 million) at the start of free agency. Gay played for the Spurs last season and had opted out of his contract. Belinelli was with the team from 2013 to 2015, winning a championship with the club during that time.
Gay was a solid contributor for San Antonio last season, averaging 11.5 points per game while mostly spending time at power forward. Belinelli played 80 games for the Hawks and 76ers last year, playing a fairly integral role for Philly down the stretch. He is a career 37.7% shooter from three. Let’s grade each deal for the Spurs.
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Gay was serviceable for the Spurs in 2017–18. He didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but he played within the San Antonio system and never tried to hijack the offense. With the Spurs in a bit of a holding pattern because of Kawhi, bringing back Gay on a one-year deal allows San Antonio to remain competitive next season if it wants to, while also maintaining flexibility moving forward for a full-on rebuild. Somebody is going to have to soak up minutes at forward for the Spurs next season. Until the Leonard situation is completely settled, Gay is a perfectly fine stopgap option who can help keep the ship afloat for one more year.
Fans of Belinelli were treated to the full Marco experience during the 2018 playoffs. In the first round, Belinelli was unconscious from three, playing a key role in Philly’s efficient knockout of the Heat. In the second round, Belinelli was constantly picked on by the Celtics, and his defense eventually made him a minus on the court. The Spurs know what they’re getting here—a shooter who can swing some games and play effective minutes during the regular season, but also someone whose value varies wildly during the playoffs. But with shooting at a premium, San Antonio snaring Belinelli for only $6 million a year is a solid deal. It’s a short-term contract, which also works in the Spurs’ favor.
What’s interesting about this deal is San Antonio’s backcourt is seemingly overstuffed; Danny Green will be back, and though he’s not quite the shooter he once was, he will still see a lot of minutes on the wing. The Spurs will also have to find time for Patty Mills, rookie Lonnie Walker, and the up-and-coming Dejounte Murray. Oh, and we haven’t discussed Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili yet. It’s possible Ginobili retires and San Antonio lets Parker walk. But even if all are in the fold, you can never have too much shooting at a bargain price.