The Spurs built an international farm system by drafting or trading for the rights of players who remained overseas.
San Antonio is hoping to yield dividends this year.
Now, they’re adding Ryan Richards (No. 49 pick in 2010).
Richards is on a one-year, unguaranteed minimum deal, according to Basketball Insiders. It seems he took the required tender – a one-year contract, surely unguaranteed at the minimum, teams must offer to retain rights to their second-round picks. Whether San Antonio wanted Richards to accept the tender is another question.
He’ll compete with Ryan Arcidiacono, Patricio Garino, Bryn Forbes and Nicolas Laprovittola for the Spurs’ final regular-season roster spot. Despite a fully guaranteed salary, Bertans might also need to work his way onto the team in the preseason.
Whichever of those players San Antonio waives will become NBA free agents. Hence, the Spurs might have preferred Richards stay overseas, where they could have retained his exclusive rights among NBA teams.
But for Richards, this is a decent opportunity to make an NBA team. The Spurs don’t have an apparent lock for that 15th spot. Even if they waive him, he’ll gain NBA free agency and the ability to sign with any team.
Richards is a 7-foot 25-year-old big man with a solid shooting touch and jarring lack of rim protection. A British native, he has bounced around lesser leagues, most recently playing in Beirut.