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Playoffs 2019

Offseason Outlook: What's next for the San Antonio Spurs?

DeMar DeRozan averaged a career-high 6.2 assists per game in his first season playing for Gregg Popovich.
DeMar DeRozan averaged a career-high 6.2 assists per game in his first season playing for Gregg Popovich. (Getty Images)

Despite the loss in the first round to the Denver Nuggets, it was a successful season for the San Antonio Spurs, who made the playoffs for the 22nd consecutive season, which is tied for the longest streak in NBA history and over three times longer than any other active streak.

It's especially impressive given it came on the heels of perhaps the biggest roster overhaul in over two decades.

In addition to Manu Ginobili's retirement and long-time point guard Tony Parker's decision to sign with the Charlotte Hornets in free agency, the Spurs also traded away former franchise player Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors. That movement meant that back-up point guard Patty Mills was suddenly the longest tenured player on the roster.

MORE OFFSEASON OUTLOOKS: Oklahoma City Thunder | Utah Jazz

San Antonio was dealt another blow in the preseason when starting point guard Dejounte Murray, an All-Defense selection in 2017-18, was lost for the season with a torn ACL.

It should be a less turbulent offseason in 2019 for a Spurs team that could look very similar next season as they attempt to make history with a 23rd straight playoff appearance.

Free Agents

Rudy Gay, SF, UFA

Quincy Pondexter, SF, UFA

Dante Cunningham, PF, UFA

Donatas Motiejunas, PF, UFA

UFA = Unrestricted Free Agent, RFA = Restricted Free Agent

Player/Team Options

None

Under Contract

DeMar DeRozan, SG - under team control through 2019-20

Davis Bertans, PF - under team control through 2019-20

Marco Belinelli, SG - under team control through 2019-20

Bryn Forbes, SG - under team control through 2019-20

LaMarcus Aldridge, PF/C - under team control through 2020-21

Dejounte Murray, PG - under team control through 2020-21

Patty Mills, PG - under team control through 2020-21

Jakob Poeltl, C - under team control through 2020-21

Derrick White, PG - under team control through 2021-22

Chimezie Metu, PF - under team control through 2021-22

Lonnie Walker, SG - under team control through 2022-23

Draft Picks

The Spurs own their first and second round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. They also own Toronto's 2019 first-round pick, which they acquired in the Kawhi Leonard-DeMar DeRozan trade.

Looking ahead, the Spurs own all of their own future first-round picks.

MORE: What future draft picks does each team have?

Take a look back at San Antonio's last five first-round picks:

2018: Lonnie Walker (18th)

2017: Derrick White (29th)

2016: Dejounte Murray (29th)

2015: Nikola Milutinov (26th)

2014: Kyle Anderson (30th)

Salary

According to Basketball Insiders and Early Bird Rights, the Spurs have $94.1 million committed to their roster for next season and could have approximately $15 million in cap space.

That, of course, does not take into account re-signing their own free agents, most notably Rudy Gay, who made $10.1 million this season.

MORE: Who are this summer's free agents?

It likely means the Spurs won't be major players for any of the big-name targets, but could be in the market for the likes of Trevor Ariza, Al-Farouq Aminu or Luc Mbah a Moute.

Biggest offseason storylines

The return of Dejounte Murray

The Spurs had high hopes for Dejounte Murray this past season. After taking over as the starting point guard for Tony Parker midway through the 2017-18 season, Murray quickly developed into perhaps the NBA's best defender at the point guard position.

At 6-foot-5 and with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, Murray's elite length and size helped him become the youngest player in NBA history to make an All-Defense team.

MORE: Murray's quest to become San Antonio's next star

Entering his third season, Murray looked poised for a breakout season. That was until a torn ACL in the preseason knocked him out for the year and delayed his arrival as perhaps the next great young Spurs player.

For Murray to raise his profile, he'll need to become a bigger threat from the outside as he's struggled thus far to develop a consistent jump shot. Of course, turning defensive aces into two-way terrors is nothing new for the Spurs, who in the not-too-distant did the same thing with Kawhi Leonard.

Could history repeat itself in San Antonio?

Development of Derrick White and Lonnie Walker

With DeMar DeRozan entering the final year of his contract and LaMarcus Aldridge with two more left on his deal, the most likely scenario is that San Antonio enters next season with both of its All-Stars on the roster. Combined with the salary cap situation, it means that if the Spurs are going to take a major step next season, they'll likely need significant offseason development by Derrick White and Lonnie Walker.

White in particular flourished over the second half of the season, emerging as one of the NBA's best defensive guards. White could be a potential Sixth Man of the Year candidate next season if he slides back to a reserve role with the return of Murray. The Spurs could also start them alongside each other with DeRozan sliding over to the small forward position, which would give San Antonio by far the NBA's best defensive backcourt.

If White can develop a more complete offensive arsenal over the summer, he's the type of player who can elevate San Antonio's profile. While his 36-point performance in the Game 3 win over Denver certainly serves as an outlier, it also showcased his immense potential as a third scorer the Spurs so desperately need.

Walker had a quiet rookie season as an injury kept him on the shelf until January. Even after his return, the rookie played sporadically and never truly assumed a regular spot in the rotation. The 18th pick in last June's draft, Walker has elite athleticism and is another potentially high ceiling piece of clay that San Antonio's renowned player development staff could mold into a major piece.

If either White or Walker develop over the summer and pop next season, they could be the key to San Antonio climbing from fringe playoff contender to legitimate threat in a Western Conference that could see significant player movement.

Gregg Popovich coaching Team USA

It will be a busy summer for San Antonio's legendary coach as he'll be serving as head coach for the United States Men's National Team. The United States will be playing in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China, which runs from late August through the middle of September.

In addition to the tournament itself, the United States will hold training camp starting in early August and play several exhibitions in both the United States and Australia prior to the World Cup tipping off in China. Though the roster is not yet set, one of the players under consideration is DeMar DeRozan, who also participated in last summer's Team USA training camp.

Next season will be his 24th in charge of the Spurs after taking over midway through the 1996-97 season. Popovich's stable of assistants remains one of the deepest in the leagues as Ettore Messina, Ime Udoka and Becky Hammon are all widely respected and considered by many potential future head coaches at some point down the line.

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