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5 Star FAs for SA

“Now I’m on the grind – 5 Star to them h*es”

Birdman, All the Time

5. Al Horford:


An Atlanta team that just evades mediocrity year after year might get impatient waiting on its franchise player to to carry their team to a championship. His fundamentally sound face-up big style of play is nothing new to the Spurs, especially with their recent anti-back-to-the-basket style change. With the futures of Tim Duncan and David West uncertain, the Spurs’ need for a high-quality big man may be more significant than meets the eye.

4. Harrison Barnes:

Is Barnes a case of lack of growth or lack of opportunity?  A tricky combination of both makes the case for Barnes to abandon the trust-fund babies of the greater San Francisco area.  While Curry, Green, and Thompson continue to flourish individually, Barnes’ development has stagnated, partly due to his chronic inconsistency.  See The NBA Finals for examples:

Barnes shot 2-14 in the possible clinching Game 5, at home, missing all six of his shots in the fourth quarter. In Game 6, when the Warriors fell behind by 20 in the first quarter, he did not score a single point nor garner one assist. Infamously, he was benched for James Michael McAdoo, who had hardly played to that point in the playoffs. And in Game 7, with the Warriors desperately needing a spark offensively, with no Andrew Bogut, Barnes was so ineffective that Steve Kerr was forced to go to Brandon Rush with the season on the line. One solid performance and the Warriors may well have been champions again; instead, horrifyingly, Barnes disappeared completely.

Sam Sorkin, 2015-16 Season Review: Harrison Barnes

Joining the Spurs would allow him to re-establish himself as the young and versatile utility player that he can truly be.  He can relieve Danny Green when winning necessitates 48 minutes of tall ball, with Leonard sliding down to the 4 and LaMarcus taking over at the 5 spot.  The Spurs need to take advantage of Barnes’ current situation as an opportunity to upgrade from the admirably multifaceted, but unmistakably slow Kyle Anderson:

Not sorry.

3. O.J. Mayo:

ojBreakfast and lunch often get served together (brunch!), and with them often comes the concern of biting of more of a mouthful than one can chew.

O.J. Mayo does not carry such liability.  His career has been defined by his adaptability and diverse skill-set, traits that Coach Popovich can’t get enough of in his players.  In his lone season with the Mavericks, a well-run organization that, like the Spurs, puts players in their best position to succeed, the eight-year pro averaged 18.6 points and 49.6% from deep before Dirk Nowitzki returned from surgery.  He’s also posted double-digit scoring averages as a reserve on various squads, including the same up-start Grizzlies team that tore down San Antonio’s dreams of a 2011 championship run:

He’s sometimes a little too loose with his talk to the media, but not to the point of harm.

Mayo won’t exceed expectations, but he’ll certainly meet them; plus, at the right price, the food is great.

2. Pau Gasol:

9bf68dc5cdec8bd0e20a502e2a2b05a6Pau joined the Bulls hoping to contend during the sunset of his    All-Star career, but he didn’t get what he was looking for in the Windy City.  Ignore the jokes about Gasol being soft and look at the numbers:

Gasol played in 16th NBA season last year, and his numbers were as good as ever. He finished the year averaging 16.5 points per game and shot 46.9 percent from the field. His 11.0 rebounds per game was the third highest of his career. His 4.1 assists were his second highest. His blocks? 2.0 per game and the highest average of his career. There’s a cliche’ about fine wine I’m hesitant to use, but the phrase is made for guys like Gasol.

Despite his advanced age, Gasol even showed he was still a capable defender, racking up a +3.5 defensive plus-minus on the year, the single-highest defensive total of his career. He was also a positive offensive player (+0.5), had a 3.5 value over replacement (VORP), his best in 5 years, built up 7.1 win shares and finished with a PER of 21.7. The advanced metrics indeed matched the sparkling box line.

Darren Yuvan, NBA Free Agency 2016: Pau Gasol fits a need

If Gasol is willing to sacrifice playing time and his perennial All-Star contention for a chance to win with the Spurs, Gasol’s hopes to win one last championship could look a lot more promising.

1. Mike Conley:


The way that Conley glides up and down the court is too unorthodox – and too enticing – to be overlooked by the Spurs’ front office.  The offensive systems integrated by Lionel Hollins and continued (albeit less successfully) by Dave Joerger in Memphis are rigid, but compatible in healthy doses.  With Tony Parker’s impact waning, and Dejounte Murray in need of development, the Spurs need a response to other NBA super-teams armed at the point with talent the likes of Curry, Irving, Paul, and Westbrook.

San Antonio might be Conley’s best chance at better barbecue.

By Derin Candas (@BeenDuncan)