Originally written October 01, 2012 on Project Spurs:
It's been written for what feels like two years now that the San Antonio Spurs need a mobile big man that score and play some defense.  After seeing some of his highlight reel, a lot of people thought 2010 second round pick Ryan Richards could, in time, be that guy.  Then, when Richards turned up on the Spurs Summer League team in July, people thought that time could be sooner rather than later.  Richards had his ups, downs and meh's, mostly meh's, but enough ups to maybe get an invite to Spurs training camp. Yet, here we are a day away from the start of camp and Richards' name is nowhere to be found on the Spurs' roster.  Instead, their are undersized, mobile forwards like Derrick Brown, Tyler Wilkerson and Josh Powell.  So what's the hold up?  Did the Spurs not see enough in Richards to give him an invite?  Even if he isn't good enough to make the Spurs' roster wouldn't the Austin Toros be the perfect place for him to go?  The short answer is yes, but it's not that simple. Sending a guy to Austin but keeping his exclusive rights is what the Spurs might want to do with Richards, but it's actually a tricky process to get him there and make sure no one else can get to him without giving him an NBA contract (and roster spot).  As Scott Schroeder of Ridiculous Upside wrote last March, the Oklahoma City Thunder went through a similar process with second round pick Ryan Reid in 2011.  The Spurs can't invite Ryan Richards to camp without giving him a roster spot because if he's cut, they lose his rights.  Schroeder laid out the alternatives with Andrew McNeill of 48 Minutes of Hell.  First, they could have Richards enter the D-League draft, assuming they get a high enough draft pick to take him.  That still might be too risky.  Alternative number two is to wait until after the draft and have him sign a D-League contract when the Toros are at the top of the waiver wire.  Then the Spurs would keep his NBA exclusive rights. Schroeder and I also talked briefly about this during Summer League and he told me that there's nothing to keep Richards from working out at the Spurs' practice facility up until training camp if the team is serious about keeping him in the program.  That may or may not have happened, we don't know for sure because Coach Pop won't let us use any of old CIA surveillance equipment to monitor the practice facility.  Just don't think the Spurs have given up on Richards, they probably haven't.  Short of signing him to a guaranteed contract, there just isn't a quick, clear cut way of getting him to Austin without risking another team plucking him from the Spurs' system.  So patients friends, you could be hearing more about Richards as the leaves begin to change colors in the coming months (figuratively of course, since leaves in South Texas don't really change colors).
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rondo hoping for an opening night return from broken hand

Jon Gruden on Raiders job: 'I'm not thinking about coaching'

Tom Brady defends not congratulating Garoppolo on TD

Ohio State student who ran on field loses full scholarship

Report: Carson Palmer's nerve injury 'still lingering'

Adam Dunn to retire after 14-year MLB career

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Ryan Lochte: Phelps made dumb decision, will learn from it

Tiger Woods to open restaurant in Florida next year

Royals beat A's in extras, win first playoff game since '85

Mark Davis: Raiders head coaching job will be 'enticing'

Fan on Craigslist offers Nats playoff tickets for threesome

Brady snubs rookie Garoppolo after touchdown pass

Ranking the NFL coaches already sitting on the hot seat

WATCH: Smith tells Panthers to go home and mow his lawn

The best games on the NFL slate in Week 5

Aaron Rodgers says smoking gesture a tribute to Jay Cutler

What will the A’s look like in 2015?

Major League Baseball's 2014 All-Disappointment Team

Jeter introduces 'The Players Tribune,' 'The Voice of the Game'

Grading each NFL's team's play at quarter-season mark

MLB.com posts wrong story saying A's won game

WATCH: Brett Favre in new nose hair trimmer commercial

WATCH: Michigan students protest, call for AD to be fired

Marlins president: We're not trading Giancarlo Stanton

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

What will the A’s look like in 2015?

All-Disappointment Team in MLB

Ryan Lochte: Phelps made dumb decision

WATCH: Brett Favre in new commercial

Brady snubs rookie after TD pass

FCC: Washington nickname 'inappropriate today'

Could Jon Gruden return to Oakland?

Marlins: We're not trading Stanton

Study: 76 of 79 deceased NFL players had CTE

Heckling fan sues Knicks over ejection

Sparano to step in as Raiders head coach

This weekend in NFL stupid

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.