Richard Jefferson and San Antonio Spurs: It was just a break

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Richard Jefferson is returning to San Antonio for 2010-2011. Please control your excitement.

Most of the time, when there’s a sequel, it sucks. It’s usually a half-assed attempt to capitalize on a previous edition for cheap.

In hopefully-unrelated news, Richard Jefferson will re-sign the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

After a rough first season in the silver and black, in which flashes of what Spurs fans expected when the team acquired Jefferson were few and far between, Jefferson surprisingly opted out of the final year of his contract. That final year would’ve paid Jefferson $15 million.

Defending his move, Jefferson said publicly that he was looking for long-term security as opposed to a quick payday.

Many frustrated Spurs fans were initially excited at the prospect of ridding themselves of Jefferson. But hours after the news of the swingman opting out, reports were already surfacing of Jefferson’s return to the Spurs, albeit at a more cap-friendly (and some would say, more deserving) price.

And though it took longer than people were expecting, RJ is indeed returning to the silver and black. Terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed, but should be released later this week. Either way, it shouldn’t be anywhere in the neighborhood of the salary that was left on the table.

This should comes as a relief to San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt who won’t have to pay the difference in salary or the luxury tax payments that would go along with Jefferson’s abandoned $15 million, which had San Antonio far and away over the salary cap.

Defenders of Jefferson’s have been beating the drum that players are more comfortable in their second season in Gregg Popovich’s system. And of all the things Jefferson was this past season, comfortable was not one of them. Luckily for Spurs fans, Jefferson has reportedly spend the summer in San Antonio working with Coach Pop on the finer points of the system, adapting his game to fit the team’s.

In the end, after the Spurs were able to at long last bring Tiago Splitter over from Spain, and after re-signing the sandwich hunter, there were few free agent small forwards left on the market that the Spurs could afford. And with the Spurs holding Jefferson’s bird rights, it was tough to find a better option for the Spurs than RJ.

Former Ticket 760 radio host Peter Burns might have summed it up best on Tuesday afternoon when he tweeted that, in effect, the San Antonio Spurs “refinanced” Jefferson.

Enjoy year two of Richard Jefferson and his shoulder tattoo.

  • bduran

    Jim,

    “But use the same WP48 averages I used. Generally speaking, it’s the fairest way to look at it.”

    I wouldn’t use those averages because I don’t think that this true. I think it inflates Yao’s numbers since he his WP48 of .280 in ’05-’06 was by far his highest. The next three years he was .23 and under, which is what you used for his average. And after two years of decline I expect Miller to be below average. I’m fine with you using them. These are just projections after all. I generally prefer last 3 years.

    Also, you didn’t use Brooks last 3 years. I’m fine with this since he’s young. In general I would probably through out a players first year or two from his average. Just though I’d note it.

    Lik I said earlier, when I started discussing the rockets I hadn’t really looked at Hill. If he lives up to his promise I think this could be a 54-55 win team. If you’re right and Miller rebounds then your estimate is probably right.

  • doggydogworld

    I watched some of the Rockets/Mavs summer league game and Omar Samhan simply owned Jordan Hill at both ends. But Omar is headed to Lithuania, leaving Hill free to excel against seasoned western conference bigs.

    Allocating all minutes to the top 10 players biases the result slightly high. During a season players #11-15 might contribute 10% or so of the minutes despite zero or even negative WP48. I’d multiply the 57.48 by 0.9 as a crude adjustment to yield 52 projected wins.

  • bduran

    doggy,

    “I watched some of the Rockets/Mavs summer league game and Omar Samhan simply owned Jordan Hill at both ends.”

    Hmm, well we could use your evluation of watching Hill in “some” of a summer league game. Or we could use over 600 minutes of NBA playing time his rookie year to evaluate him. Considering the facts that he averaged almost four boards and 50% shooting on 13.3 minutes a game and that he improved on these numbers with the Rockets towards the end of the season, I think he’s a pretty good prospect.

    10% of minutes works out to about 24 minutes a game on average. I think the players outside the top ten would average less. Also, some of those minutes will go to Patterson and the rookie average is .05, and of course their are players like Ian last year who have high WP48 in limited minutes. Come in for five minutes and score one baket and grab two boards and you will be very productive per minute.

    In general I would guess the very end of the roster to not have much of an effect on wins.

  • Jim Henderson

    bduran
    July 23rd, 2010 at 5:31 am

    If you used Yao’s last 3 years, his average WP48 was .21 instead of the .23 that I used. That would subtract 1 win from the total.

    Miller has not had 2 years of decline. It was just last year (the anomaly). His WP48 was .16 for both 2008 & 2009. Averaging his WP48 over just 3 years puts too much emphasis on the one bad year. The Rockets FO/coach are too smart to pay Miller 5 mil. per year if they thought he was washed up and likely to repeat last years performance.

  • Jim Henderson

    doggydogworld
    July 23rd, 2010 at 7:24 am

    Yeah, 10% of the total minutes is generally too high for the players below the bottom ten. For example, for the Spurs last year, the minutes for players below the top ten were just 6.7 % of the total minutes. Also, with your calculation of a .9 multiplier, you’re in effect saying that all of the players minutes below the top-ten are going to average a zero WP48, which as bduran points out, is unlikely. I would say it’s more reasonable to conclude that the below top-ten players’ would be about half as productive as the top-ten players during their relatively small amount of playing time on the floor. So if we used a .93 multiplier, and then added back in half of the wins that we took out, that could give us a better picture. Thus, .93 x 57.62 = 53.59, which means we took out about 4 wins; add back in 2 wins, gives us about 55-56 wins. Of course, all of this depends on whether the great majority of the Rocket’s most productive WP48 guys can stay healthy pretty much all season.

  • bduran

    “His WP48 was .16 for both 2008 & 2009. ”

    Actually, we were both wrong. In 2009 I think you were just looked at his Chicago WP48 and I just looked at his Sacrament which was .104. If you combine the two to get his entire season WP48 it is .122. So this is still a decline, but not as much as I had thought.

    Anyway, I’m thinking low 50s and now it looks like you’re thinking mid 50s. Not exactly a world of difference. I can’t wait for the season to start.

  • annie

    He’d better be productive this season

    otherwise what a waste of money this will be

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