Part of moving into a new era will require the San Antonio Spurs’ front office to cut ties with players whose roles on the team have become outdated.
There comes a time in every team’s progression when it’s time to accept the fact of the matter and move on to better and brighter things. This offseason provides the San Antonio Spurs a decent opportunity to do so by cutting ties with the players who aren’t producing the way they’d like for them to up to this point.
Some will be harder than others and none will be easy, but it’s necessary. When you have a model organization like the San Antonio Spurs missing the playoffs despite the greatest coach of all-time leading the way, it’s time to look at the personnel. This is partly on the front office for building a roster that doesn’t make a ton of sense as a single entity, but it’s also on certain players.
It’s no coincidence that the San Antonio Spurs were a significantly better team with starting two-guard Bryn Forbes off the floor. Though his shooting and shot creation are appreciated, Forbes is the single most detrimental defensive liability in the NBA at this point and shouldn’t be playing starting minutes at the highest level of the sport. Though his work ethic, innate talent and positive demeanor are appreciated, they will not suffice for the standards set by this organization.
The same can apply to veteran wing Marco Belinelli, who has become a complete non-factor on this 2020 Spurs team. It’s nice to have someone that already knows the team and his role, but it’s not worth the abysmal defense and tiresome shot selection that Belinelli brings to the floor. His shooting could easily be replaced by someone on the free-agent market for a similar price.
Those feel like no-brainers, but these players aren’t the only ones on the chopping block. Restricted free agent Jakob Poeltl could easily find himself looking for a new home this offseason after his performance in the Orlando restart. He finally got the role that he wanted in this Spurs system and failed to meet the expectations he set in limited minutes.
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Poeltl fouled like a madman, effectively taking himself out of games and forcing the team to go deeper into its worn-out bench during crucial moments. If he wants to get paid and played like a starter then he needs to prove that he’s capable of being one and right now, I’m not so sure that he’s going to reach those heights. San Antonio should absolutely prioritize bringing him back, but not if he’s going to cost more than market value at a position that’s so easy to replace.
Similarly, San Antonio needs more out of non-guaranteed big man Chimezie Metu, a former second-round draft pick who failed to crack the rotation again this year. While I’m personally a believer in Metu’s game, he clearly hasn’t earned the respect or admiration of the coaching staff, relegating him to a back-of-bench role for the second consecutive year.
Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be as concerning, but injuries plagued the Spurs’ frontcourt and two-way center Drew Eubanks took the backup center role instead of Metu. If the San Antonio Spurs cannot find a role for Metu in the foreseeable future, they may as well cut him and use that roster spot to fill a different position.
These aren’t easy decisions, but they must be made — No matter how loyal this organization is.