Richard Jefferson Opts Out of Contract

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In a somewhat unexpected turn of events, Richard Jefferson has opted out of the final year of his contract with the Spurs. This move still leaves the Spurs above the cap, but will undoubtedly ease the financial burden on Peter Holt’s wallet. The Spurs could be looking at a tax free 2010-11.

Why would Richard Jefferson leave 15 million dollars of guaranteed money on the table? He and his agent are no doubt convinced that Jefferson can secure a long term contract which guarantees Jefferson more money over, say, the next 5 years. That is, Jefferson is willing to take a financial hit this season for the benefit of more cash over the balance of his career, especially in light of the next CBA, which promises to reduce player salaries.

From the Spurs perspective, this is a financial blessing. Although, it’s not necessarily a help to the team’s on court success. Richard Jefferson’s expiring contract could have brought back a decent player for the Spurs, and now the team is woefully thin at small forward with only the MLE and LLE at their disposal.

The Spurs maintain Richard Jefferson’s Bird Rights, giving San Antonio the option of a sign and trade or simply resigning RJ to a more modest figure. The Spurs, however, would not want to resign Jefferson at the cost of a steep tax bill. There are a handful of teams–the Knicks come to mind–who might be in the market for a sign and trade piece later this summer.

If I were a betting man, I’d say Richard Jefferson has played his last game for the Spurs. And, more to the point, that the Spurs will easily replace Jefferson’ production with a less sexy player, but one who is a better fit for their system.

  • http://www.twitter.com/calebjsaenz Caleb

    Cuse,

    The Spurs are already getting younger at the SF position. By most accounts (see DraftExpress’ brilliant write-up for this year’s draft), Anderson will play at the SF or at least be a tweener. Spurs have Gee. And isn’t Hairston capable of playing 2 and 3, as well?

  • SA_Ray

    I finally thought the Spurs were going to be that team that gets to trade their bad contract/decision for real talent at the deadline. I was always jealous of those with terrible expiring deals that turned into good players.
    Now our bad contract has done left us with nothing to show.

  • ThatBigGuy

    Well Hairston, it’s sink or swim time, my friend.

  • Hobson13

    One last thought: RJ for $15 mil/year is a HORRIBLE player that would present problems if we had tried to trade him. However, RJ for $9mil/year is a decent deal that many teams may want thus increasing his value. If RJ’s value is increased, we can demand more back (although only say $10mil in salary instead of the $15mil he would have made this year) than if someone had to take his albatross contract for ONLY salary cap relief.

    Bottom line: It is possible that we get better players back if RJ takes a serious paycut (which he will).

  • Cuse

    @ Caleb

    I definitely think we are getting younger as a whole and it goes without appreciation on this site sometimes.

    When I look at Bell I see a guy who could handle the demands of Popovich, play solid D, and hit a three when needed. Basically do everything that RJ didn’t do but a fraction of the cost.

    I’m just caught up in the free agent frenzy after the basketball gods helped us tonight.

  • Hobson13

    Cuse
    June 30th, 2010 at 7:52 pm
    “I’m just caught up in the free agent frenzy after the basketball gods helped us tonight.”

    I know the Spurs are at risk of losing RJ for nothing, but I maintain that the basketball gods have once again smiled on the Spurs. Free Agency is just beginning and it’s already getting crazy!

    Bushka
    “June 30th, 2010 at 7:27 pm Matt Barnes? Doubtful he’d be available at that level.”

    I’ve read that Matt Barnes does not want to play in SA. He’s had the opportunity several times to come and play for us and turned us down.

  • Spleen Nelson

    I don’t think that Anderson is a SF. He measures just under 6’5″ despite people in media referring to him as being 6’6″. He’s a backup SG not a viable SF, in my estimation.

    I have always felt Raja Bell has Spurs written all over him. If he’d be willing to take less to play for a top shelf franchise with a Hall-of-Fame coach and a Hall-of-Famer in TD, plus all of those open weakside corner three point opportunities, I hope we can get him. But I fear, from what I’ve read here tonight, that we will have very few options.

    The sum total of this, is we get rid of RJ. He’s a good guy, but was just God awful for this franchise. I think he feels he would be better off in another uniform and in a different system, and I think most agree with him in that regard.

    The truth is, we are no longer championship contenders. I don’t know that we have that to sell to a vet that might take less $ in order to get a chance to play for a championship caliber team. I hope I am wrong. I’m not geeked to go into the season with Hairston as our SF option. Mixed feelings on this deal.

  • Jim Henderson

    Bushka
    June 30th, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    “Whats the LLE at the moment anyway?”

    From my previous post:

    “Just to clarify, other than trades, all we have available to sign in FA’s is:

    MLE – about 6 mil. (up to 5 yrs., I believe)
    LLE – about 2 mil. (up to 2 yrs., I believe)

    They can be split among more than one player, but cannot be “mixed together”.”

    “Matt Barnes? Doubtful he’d be available at that level.”

    I would suspect we would have a shot at Barnes with the LLE, if that’s the best we can get (and it’s not a BAD choice for the price). At least he’s physical & plays “D”.

    Cuse
    June 30th, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    “I don’t see why the LLE wouldn’t be enough for Bell. He’s 34 so it’s not like teams are going to be throwing money his way.”

    Look at his salary history. Plus, he has one of the best career 3-point shooting percentages of all-time. AND he can play “D” on the perimeter. Bowen was playing great “D” past 34, and I’m sure Bell has some legs left. On the injury: I don’t think it’s anything serious (not a knee, etc.). Besides, if his injury is really a problem, we wouldn’t want him anyway. Don’t get me wrong; he’s still worth looking into. Just don’t get your hopes up.

    Hobson13
    June 30th, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    “However, instead of us having to unload his salary of $15 mil (he’s super overpaid) he will be paid much less, which will make him MUCH more attractive to potential trade partners.”

    Perhaps, but not for those handful of teams looking to create significant cap space for 2011. In addition, I think RJ’s definitely lost value after this years performance. He’d be lucky to get the 8.5 mil. 4-year deal you’re talking about. His only chance would be with the relatively few truly high-octane teams around the league, and they simply might not have a spot for him. Take NY for example. If you’re NY, are you going to give RJ a 35 million long-term deal when you have a younger (8 years) Wilson Chandler on the team? I’m not.

  • Bushka

    Jefferson & McDyess to NY for Lee & Gallinari lol.

  • ThatBigGuy

    Rumors of Jeff sign and trade to Indy for Troy Murphy on The Daily Dime Live. Can anyone confirm or deny?

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Timothy Varner

    The same Indy team with Granger and Paul George?

  • Bushka

    Indiana is so absolutely loaded at the wings, not to mention Brandon Rush is now third on the depth chart, I don’t see it at all.

  • ThatBigGuy

    I’m not saying it makes sense, just seeing if anyone has any better info than a passing reference on The Dime.

  • Hobson13

    Question: Assuming Jefferson signs a $9-$10 mill/year contract somewhere else, would it be possible for us to sign and trade Jefferson for Ronnie Brewer and Mike Miller? We could then use the MLE on Splitter and thrown in the BLE (around $2mil) on top of the $9-$10mil for Jefferson. Here’s what it would look like.

    Jefferson traded to _____ for $9 mil/year
    Ronnie Brewer signed and traded to Spurs for $5mil/year
    Mike Miller signed and traded to Spurs for $6mil/year

    The salaries would work so we would have essentially traded RJ and used the BLE for Ronnie Brewer and Mike Miller. Our SG and SF positions would be complete. What do you think?

  • jonathan

    i think that would be prett nice i will definitely put spurs right behind the lakers well anyways what do you think about shaq coming to the spurs

  • Jim Henderson

    Hobson13
    June 30th, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    I’m sorry Hobson, but I’m not really sure what you’re talking about. Perhaps you could be a bit more “specific” in terms of “who’s” being trade for “who”. It can be hypothetical, but there seems to be too many loose ends in your example/question.

  • Tobias

    Does anybody really think that RJ got up from bed yesterday morning, knocked on R.C’s door and told him that he was leaving?. My feeling is that Holt, R.C and Pop knew that he was opting out and they are now trying to work on how to resign him to a better deal for everybody. He is a valid player for this team.And with less pressure should be able to show all his talent. And on top of that Pop has been working with him. You don’t do that with a player if you know that he is opting out.

  • Tyler

    In regards to where we go now, I think we’re underestimating the impact of the upcoming CBA. RJ’s entire motive was to secure one last deal before the CBA negotiations most likely limit player salaries. This is the same reason so many college players declared for the draft (hence the “deep” draft). It’s also not a coincidence that all the mega-stars planned to enter the FA market this summer (genius on the part of their agents). In 2 years, the league could look much different – shorter guaranteed contracts, smaller overall payrolls for each team, etc.

    As one of the few owners who will negotiate with the player’s union (I believe there are only a handful on the committee), I’m sure Holt is hesitant to take on any/many long, guaranteed contracts.

    For example, a deal that pays RJ $30M over 4 years isn’t something Holt would sign off on IMO. If the new CBA negotiations do put limits/restrictions on player salaries (by all accounts, it will), it’s going to make deals like RJ’s much more burdensome than they were under the previous CBA. Essentially, under a new CBA with smaller payrolls for each team, bigger, longer guaranteed deals will hamper teams to a greater extent. Even worse, if that player doesn’t play up to his salary (like RJ), you have the worst type of player – an overpaid, under-producing player.

    All in all, it’s hard for me to see RJ resigning with the Spurs for more than $5M/year. A 3 year deal worth $15M with a team option for the 4th year might be something we take a look at, but anything more and I think you start to get into “overpaid” territiory. And with Malik, Gee and Anderson is the wings, we have a stable of young guys who most likely can replicate RJ’s production at a fraction of the cost.

  • DieHardSpur

    RJ in silver and black next year… write it down.

  • rob

    Apparently being over the cap was not an issue to Mr. Holt last year when getting Jefferson. And in an attempt to win another title Jefferson looked to be the missing piece. Unfortunately Jefferson could not produce as expected.

    I believe this is a good thing for Spur fans. Jefferson becomes a higher value trade asset in a “restructured” contract that pays him less money over a longer period of time than what the Spurs probably would have received from his expiring contract at the end of next year if he did not opt out.

  • Hobson13

    Jim Henderson
    June 30th, 2010 at 11:19 pm
    “I’m sorry Hobson, but I’m not really sure what you’re talking about.”

    Jim, this was just a sign and trade scenario involving RJ for Mike Miller and Ronnie Brewer. I threw in the BLE ( of $2mil) just to make sure the salaries lined up. BTW, Brewer is now an unrestricted FA so he should be easier to get from Memphis.

    rob
    July 1st, 2010 at 7:13 am
    “I believe this is a good thing for Spur fans. Jefferson becomes a higher value trade asset in a “restructured” contract that pays him less money over a longer period of time than what the Spurs probably would have received from his expiring contract at the end of next year if he did not opt out.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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  • manufan

    Good. Now we can sign Splitter and have enough money to get SF(Barnes,Outlaw,Gay,Josh Howard) and pick some pure shoter(Mike Miller,Korver,Morrow,Ray Allen, Salmons, or Redick. A lot of options for Pop an RC.

  • Jim Henderson

    manufan
    July 1st, 2010 at 11:20 am

    No, our options are actually more circumscribed now that RJ has opted out.

  • spursfanbayarea

    @Jim Henderson
    Never said I wanted Jefferson at that deal. I stated thats the most likely deal. That is the deal I was predicting. If jefferson is going to give up an annual salary of 15 million to cut in half, he will definetly want the years.

    My predictions have come to be pretty close as the circulating rumors suggest. Also this is backed up by mysa.com spurs “One unconfirmed report circulating the league Thursday had Jefferson discussing a three-year, $30 million deal with the Spurs. Another placed the terms at a more robust five years for $45 million, with the final season likely only partially guaranteed.

  • Jim Henderson

    spursfanbayarea
    July 2nd, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    “Never said I wanted Jefferson at that deal. I stated thats the most likely deal. That is the deal I was predicting.”

    Okay, so you think the Spurs FO is going to give RJ a 5-year deal for about 40 mil. Why?

    “One unconfirmed report circulating the league Thursday had Jefferson discussing a three-year, $30 million deal with the Spurs. Another placed the terms at a more robust five years for $45 million, with the final season likely only partially guaranteed.”

    Either these rumors are clueless or the Spur FO needs their head examined. RJ should be happy to get 24 mil. for three years, or maybe 30 mil. for four, with the 4th year only partially guaranteed. The guy is coming off his worse season, and he’s past his prime at age 30. If someone wants to give him more than that, lets hope it isn’t the Spurs. I’d rather not even give him the 24 million. Do a sign & trade, or let him walk.

  • spursfanbayarea

    @Jim Henderson
    Jefferson knows this is his last big contract. No way he settles for 3 years. He will definetly be looking for 4-5 years from anyone who signs him. All the players are scared of the new CBA. They will all be going for the most amount of years and guaranteed money that is out there. Signing him allows us to do a sign and trade. Not signing him lets him walk away with more holes in our roster.

    Unfortunatly for the spurs the only way we can upgrade our team without blowing it up is to keep Jefferson. The spurs are pretty much maxed out and will not be able to sign anyone other than splitter. And in your opinion the spurs are 3 players off of contending. So we have to hope he signs and plays well and then can be traded for some younger assets. This would help the transition toward the post duncan era while keeping us out of the lottery.

  • Jim Henderson

    spursfanbayarea
    July 3rd, 2010 at 8:04 am

    “Jefferson knows this is his last big contract. No way he settles for 3 years. He will definetly be looking for 4-5 years from anyone who signs him.”

    Then we let him go, unless we do 7.5 mil per over 4 years, last year only partially guaranteed, which I’m not in favor of.

    “Signing him allows us to do a sign and trade.”

    The more ($ and years) we sign him for, the harder to unload, and get much back in return. If we already have a deal in place to trade him as a part of the signing, fine. But we can’t sign him and just hope for a deal.

    “Unfortunatly for the spurs the only way we can upgrade our team without blowing it up is to keep Jefferson. The spurs are pretty much maxed out and will not be able to sign anyone other than splitter.”

    Untrue. We have McDyess as well, and the LLE. (not to mention, Parker).

  • spursfanbayarea

    @Jim Henderson

    If Jefferson already has his mind set on a team to go to, many teams do sign and trades. We do not have to keep him to do a sign and trade. We can see where he wants to go and at least get some good pieces.

    The LLE will not bring back anything useful. What impact player do you get at 2 million?

    Trading McDyess will not get us any young players. What team will give up young talent for an old dude who has one year remaining plus a team option year? His contract doesnt clear a huge amount of money. Trading Jefferson will at minimum get us a rotation player.

    Im not opposed to trading parker as long as we can get equal value back. Allstar big man is a must. Possible 3 way trade with knicks I wouldnt be opposed to. Parker to Knicks, David Lee to Minnesota and Jefferson to Spurs.

  • Jim Henderson

    spursfanbayarea
    July 4th, 2010 at 10:17 am

    “If Jefferson already has his mind set on a team to go to, many teams do sign and trades. We do not have to keep him to do a sign and trade. We can see where he wants to go and at least get some good pieces.”

    What is your point? This is what I said:

    “If we already have a deal in place to trade him as a part of the signing, fine. But we can’t sign him and just hope for a deal.”

    From your recent post:

    “The LLE will not bring back anything useful. What impact player do you get at 2 million?”

    You said, the “ONLY way to UPGRADE” our team was to do a sign & trade with RJ. I simply said that no, we can still UPGRADE our team with a Dice trade & an LLE signing. I didn’t say anything about “impact player”, whatever that means, which we’re not likely to get with an RJ sign & trade either. But it is not true that we cannot get someone “useful” with the LLE.

    “Trading McDyess will not get us any young players.”

    No, we don’t know that.

    “Trading Jefferson will at minimum get us a rotation player.”

    No, we don’t know that.

    And the bottom line is: I want to do a sign RJ, but ONLY if a sign & trade deal has already been agreed to with RJ and another team. I also want to trade McDyess, AND look for a good LLE prospect, like Joel Anthony of Miami.

    “Im not opposed to trading parker as long as we can get equal value back. Allstar big man is a must.”

    That’s not the only type of piece(s) that would make it worthwhile to trade Parker. For example, Parker to the Knicks for two promising young players, Gallinari & Douglas, and a 5-6 million dollar trade exception, might be tempting enough to make the move.

  • spursfanbayarea

    @Jim Henderson
    So you want to trade Jefferson but you do not think we will get back a rotation player? What exactly do you propose we trade him for? A bag of basketballs and some old jock straps? Also I dont think the Knicks are keen on dumping Gallinari as he is in their future plans of rebuilding. If the knicks want to lure any top free agents they need to keep something on the roster.

    Who do you think will give us young promising talent in exchange for McDysess?

    There are many ways of upgrading our team. My point is that there are not many ways to upgrade without closing our short championship window.

  • Jim Henderson

    spursfanbayarea
    July 6th, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    “So you want to trade Jefferson but you do not think we will get back a rotation player?”

    RJ is a FA. As such, we don’t have complete control over doing a sign & trade for one. If RJ agreed that it was in his interest to do a sign & trade, we also would not have as much leverage as we would if he was under contract. I’m hoping (and I believe it’s likely) we get a solid rotation player in the deal, but it’s far from guaranteed.

    I have proposed multi-player trades recently involving RJ & McDyess. They’re outlined on the most recent thread, as of July 6th, if you’re interested in taking a peak. We would be fortunate to pull such trades off. Of course, I’m sure that there are several other possibilities, as well.

  • lvmainman

    Reasons why I’ve lost faith in the front office in the past year.

    1) Thinking the trade for Jefferson, signing McDyess, and drafting Blair meant the Spurs had to stand pat and hope for the best.

    It appears the Spurs said if this does or doesn’t work, we won’t do anything until next year. Always look to upgrade when possible!

    So when the chance to trade the 7th(Bonner) and 8th(Mason) best players on the team for Stephen Jackson – $7 mil, they decided not to do so. Stephen Jackson, 1 of 6 NBA players, to avg a minimum of 20 pts, 5 reb, 5 asst. (The others were Kobe Bryant – $21 mil, Lebron James – $ 15 mil, Dwayne Wade – $15 mil, Chris Paul – $12 mil, Andre Iguodala – $12 mil).

    You’d think every team in the NBA would have a 20 pt, 5 reb, 5 asst player on it, especially all good teams and all bad teams, right?

    So, production @ half price for the year and next 3(could jettison as a trade chip in last year), a player with knowledge of the system(no acclimation time needed), proven winner ( 3 – 3pt baskets in the 4th qtr of a clinching game 6 vs Nets to win a championship), the Spurs don’t want him.

    Kept Bonner and Mason instead.

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