The San Antonio Spurs beat out multiple teams in the Gorgui Dieng sweepstakes.
The best-fitting big man is officially off the NBA buyout market. No, not LaMarcus Aldridge or Andre Drummond, but rather, Gorgui Dieng!
As The New York Times’ Marc Stein reported Sunday morning, Dieng, who was recently bought out of the final year of his contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, has decided to sign with the San Antonio Spurs.
According to Stein, the Spurs beat out a number of suitors for his services, including the Brooklyn Nets, LA Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports the Spurs will waive the recently acquired Marquese Chriss to make room for Dieng.
Gorgui Dieng is joining Gregg Popovich and the Spurs
Although he’s hardly a (former) star player like Aldridge or a double-double machine like Drummond, Dieng brings a lot to the table as a modern NBA big man who can protect the rim, comfortably defend and spread the floor to 3-point range on the other end of the floor.
At this point, he’s become a bit underrated thanks to his massive contract. His perceived value has taken a hit in recent years thanks to an inflated four-year, $64 million deal he got from the Minnesota Timberwolves, but as a buyout candidate that teams could sign for cheap, it’s no surprise he had so many suitors lining up.
In any case, the 31-year-old center averaged 7.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 0.6 blocks in his 16.9 minutes per game with the Grizzlies this season. He also made 51.9 percent of his looks, including 47.9 percent of his 3-pointers on 2.2 attempts per game.
The Spurs recently bought Aldridge out of his contract, freeing up a roster spot they quickly filled with Chriss, and then refilled with one of the best-fitting bigs on the market. Unlike Aldridge, who was unhappy with his lesser role on a younger team that played significantly better without him, Dieng seems more likely to slide into a complementary role seamlessly and without complaint.
That alone makes this a good pickup, and it bolsters the frontcourt of a Spurs squad that is currently 23-20, ranked seventh in the loaded Western Conference.