Originally written on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 10/23/14
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

Giants surge past Royals to even World Series

Mich. St. upset with Michigan over spear planted on field

TCU puts up 82 points in win over Texas Tech

Agent: Joe Maddon prepared to sit out season if need be

Report: Chandler Jones could miss rest of season

Report: Army football enticed recruits with alcohol, women

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Kobe viewed Dwight Howard's departure as 'positive'

Lions suspend CJ Mosley, send him home from London

Federal judge blocks New Jersey sports betting law

Report: Bucs sign Gerald McCoy to seven-year extension

Tim Tebow lectures Florida fans about booing

Report: Shonn Greene arrested after parking in handicap spot

WATCH: Chris Fowler rips 'stupid' fans over ESPN-SEC bias

WATCH: 5-year-old fan cries over Zdeno Chara's injury

LSU knocks off No. 3 Ole Miss

Miss. St. returns onside kick for TD in win over Kentucky

Bad idea: Couple goes blackface for Ray Rice Halloween costume

WATCH: Kentucky DB Blake McClain lays out Miss. St. WR

WATCH: Dwyane Wade videobombs himself

PHOTO: Blue Jackets forward came real close to losing his eye

WATCH: 350-pound Arkansas lineman throws TD pass

Penn State fans blew air horns outside Ohio State's hotel?

WATCH: Oregon's Charles Nelson has impressive punt return TD

WATCH: American flag rips during Game 3 national anthem

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!

WATCH: Fowler rips 'stupid' fans

Maddon prepared to sit out season

MSU upset with Michigan over spear

Couple in Ray Rice Blackface costume

Report: Army enticed recruits with alcohol, women

Penn State fans blew air horn at Ohio State players' hotel?

Tim Tebow lectures Florida fans

NBA Replay Center debuts next week

World Series win = Giants dynasty?

Reliving the worst college football game of the last 10 years

NFL teams facing must-win scenarios in Week 8

What the return of Luis Suarez means for Barcelona

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.