The release of small forward Corey Maggette earlier in the Spurs’ three-game preseason road trip all but guarantees the team will open the regular season without a veteran backup for Kawhi Leonard.

How pressing an issue this is depends on who you ask.

The Spurs played most of last season’s playoffs without needing a backup small forward. True Tracy McGrady was on the roster then but appeared in only six games and totaled 31 minutes of garbage time.

Coach Gregg Popovich survived then by using smaller wings Danny Green and Manu Ginobili some at the position mixing in the 6-foot-9 Boris Diaw when a bigger body was required. This season Popovich also has 6-foot-6 Marco Belinelli at his disposal.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who can play” Popovich said “but as an insurance policy it wouldn’t be a terrible thing to have a bigger body so you don’t have to overplay people like Marco or Danny.”

That insurance policy won’t be the 33-year-old Maggette who was waived after the Spurs played their third preseason game in Denver on Monday.

It also won’t be Sam Young another NBA veteran who was waived after the preseason opener last week.

The Spurs’ preseason roster has been whittled to 16 after the latest round of cuts with forwards Courtney Fells and guard Dan Nweaelele the only camp invitees remaining. One or both could be joining the Austin Toros before long.