The arrival of the 2016-17 NBA Finals also signals the upcoming end of the season, with the upcoming free agency negotiations set for the beginning of the July. Teams that were in the midst of the playoff race, like the San Antonio Spurs, now have to face the reality of a possible free agency period.
The roster of the Spurs has many crucial pieces, in cohesion with Gregg Popovich and his system. The franchise prides themselves on playing in unison, displaying a team-first mentality. However, Popovich has also been one of the active coaches to push his players to succeed and grasp opportunities.
Center and integral defensive figure Dewayne Dedmon was perhaps the lone defensive pillar this season on the Spurs. At the conclusion of the 2016-17 season, he faced a looming a $3 million player option for the next season. The Spurs have given Dedmon a chance to thrive in the NBA, with the four-year player declining the option and becoming a free agent, via Shams Charania of The Vertical:
San Antonio Spurs center Dewayne Dedmon will decline his $3 million player option for next season and become an unrestricted free agent, league sources told The Vertical.
Dedmon joins a rather thin free-agent class of centers, as a true defensive presence and capable starter in the NBA. During the 2016-17 season, the California native 5.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 17.5 minutes per game.
The USC alumnus signed a two-year, $6 million deal last offseason, before deciding to decline the player option. This wouldn’t be the first time the Spurs have pushed for a player to succeed elsewhere, with Popovich pushing for former center Boban Marjanovic to sign a lucrative deal with the Detroit Pistons.
Although the 2017 offseason doesn’t have a star-studded free agent class, it contains players that can fit their roles and make an impact with a newfound team. Players elect to opt out a deal after a successful season gives them the confidence to test the free agent market.