On Saturday, the team announced that it had waived Patricio Garino, Joel Anthony, Ryan Arcidiacono and Livio Jean-Charles and signed rookies Bryn Forbes and Nicolas Laprovittola, rounding out the roster to 15 players, the maximum number allowed.
Perhaps the most interesting move was the waiving of 2013 first-round pick Jean-Charles, who had been inked to a fully guaranteed, two-year contract this summer. Even with the power forward showing a considerable lack of polish over the preseason, it’s not common for teams to eat a multi-million-dollar contract before the season starts. That the Spurs were willing to do so to free up another roster spot doesn’t reflect well on the 22-year-old, but he’s still expected to join the team’s Development League affiliate in Austin (a possible landing spot for Garino and Arcidiacono, as well) if he clears waivers.
His release can also be read as praise for the two players who now join the team, Bryn Forbes and Nicolas Laprovittola.
At 26, Laprovittola is on the older side for a rookie, but he’s a point guard with good size and poise, as well as the ability to knock down the open outside shot. The Argentinian fulfills something of a life dream by teaming up with national icon Manu Ginobili – the two go back quite a bit. His signing almost certainly means 2016 first-round pick Dejounte Murray will spend a decent amount of time in Austin, and that’s not a bad thing.
It’s possible the 6’3’’ Forbes may not have been signed had starter Danny Green not gone down recently with a hamstring injury (expected to keep him out for three weeks). With the shooting guard position looking mighty thin heading into the season opener, the 23-year-old Michigan State standout could see action early. He’ll remind some Spurs fans of former playoff hero Gary Neal, who forged a similar path onto the team’s roster after a strong performance in summer league. Like Neal, Forbes is a gunner, burying 8 of his 12 three-point attempts in preseason, while his athleticism may allow him to be more of a contributor in the other areas of the floor. He’s a little redundant on a team that already has another undersized shooter in Patty Mills, but with the Australian due to be a desirable free agent next summer, that may not be a bad thing, either.
And that’s where we’re at as the team heads into the 2016-17 regular season: a handful of nice little changes, faintly lapping at that one big change everyone is still adjusting to. Most importantly, though, Spurs basketball is back once again, and that’s a very good thing.