Woj: Spurs to use amnesty on RJ
This comes on the heels of both Caron Butler and Josh Howard, each a free agent small forward, making visits to the Alamo City to meet with Spurs officials. In recruiting pitches that I can only hope would make the University of Miami proud, the Spurs can offer up to the full mid-level exception of $5 million per year to either player. If the Spurs hadn’t used the amnesty on RJ, they would only be able to offer the mid-level of around $3 million a season that is available to luxury tax-paying teams.
We’ll see where this goes. I have reservations about Caron Butler’s affinity for the jab-step, jab-step, jab-step, jab-step, jumper from 18 feet go-to move, as well as concerns about the health of both players, especially in a compressed season. If either is signed on December 9 when free agency opens, we’ll look at how they fit with the team.
As far as Richard Jefferson and the money he’s owed, it may not be so bad (Spoiler alert: it will probably be so bad). RJ has three seasons and $30 million left on his deal. Once he’s amnestied, as expected, the Spurs are temporarily on the hook for paying the rest of his salary, but it doesn’t count against the cap. For the next two days after RJ is amnestied, he is in a sort of waiver system where teams that are under salary cap can bid to take the remaining years on Jefferson’s contract. To be more specific, teams under the cap can say “We’ll take those three years left and pay Richard Jefferson $3 million per year.”
If someone else comes in during those two days willing to pay more than that $3 million per year, they get him. The Spurs hope that bidding goes as high as possible. For every dollar per season that someone takes of Jefferson’s, the Spurs don’t have to pay it. So if the highest bidder picks up RJ for $4 million per season, the Spurs are only on the hook for paying $6 million per season of RJ’s salary. Jefferson is going to get his $30 million over the next three seasons, how much of it the Spurs pay just depends on how high another team values RJ.
And if no one places a bid after two days, RJ becomes a free agent who can sign with anyone and the Spurs have to pay for all of RJ’s $30 million. Pray for some generous owners, people.
Unfortunately, though, this move doesn’t improve the big man rotation.