The restructuring of the Spurs lineup has focused on big men since the July announcement of Tim Duncan’s retirement. That process continued Monday with the official signing of veteran power forward David Lee, a 33-year-old with a championship ring and a proven record as a capable rebounder and scorer.
Lee is the fifth big man added to the roster in recent weeks as the club presses ahead after the retirement of Duncan, the losses of David West and Boban Marjanovic to free agency and a trade that sent Boris Diaw to the Utah Jazz in order to create room under the NBA’s salary cap to allow the Spurs to sign veteran center Pau Gasol, whose two-year deal is worth $30 million.
Free agent Matt Bonner, a Spur for the past 10 seasons, remains unsigned.
Mark Bartelstein, Lee’s agent, told TheVertical.com that Lee signed for the veteran minimum, $1.55 million for 2016-17 and $1.61 million for 2017-18. The second year of the contract includes a player option clause.
Lee, 6-foot-9 and 245 pounds, is a two-time All-Star who was named to the All-NBA Third Team in 2013. An NBA Champion with Golden State in 2015, he has played 750 career games, with career averages of 14.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 30.4 minutes while shooting .533 (4,339-8,146) from the floor and .774 (1,977-2,553) from the free throw line. A first-round draft picks of the New York Knicks in 2005, the 11-year veteran began the 2015-16 season with the Boston Celtics but took a contract buyout in February and finished the season with the Dallas Mavericks, where he averaged 8.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.2 assists over 25 games.
Lee is one of just three NBA players to total at least 10,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, and 1,500 assists over the past 10 seasons. The others are Duncan and incoming Spurs center Pau Gasol.
The Spurs also have added Argentine small forward Patricio Garino to their training camp roster. Garino, 6-foot-6, played four seasons at George Washington University, where he averaged 12.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.71 steals in his four seasons. Last season he earned Atlantic 10 Conference All-Defensive Team and the All-Conference Second Team honors after averaging 14.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.37 steals. He was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team in each of his final three seasons.
A native of Mar Del Plata, Argentina, Garino, 23, also is a member of the Argentine national team that will begin play in the 2016 Olympic tournament in Rio de Janeiro this weekend. Spurs veteran Manu Ginobili, captain of the Argentine team, welcomed Garino to the Spurs in a posting on Twitter: “Very happy to have a fellow Argentinean @spurs! Welcome @patitogarino!! “
Garino will come to training camp with a partially guaranteed contract.
Top image: David Lee #42 of the Dallas Mavericks defends the ball against the Los Angeles Clippers during the game on April 10, 2016 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images.