Jefferson May Opt Out This Summer

JeffersonAccording to Chris Tomasson of NBA Fanhouse, Spurs forward Richard Jefferson is considering opting out of his contract this summer, the same contract that would pay him $15 million next season.

And Spurs fans rejoice.

Jefferson has caught the ire of Spurs fans all season long because his contributions on the court never matched his salary. While he’s started to find his role and contribute more lately, Jefferson’s contract handicaps the Spurs from being a player in free agency this Summer.

According to Tomasson, Jefferson will look at several factors before deciding whether or not to opt out before the June 30 deadline.

Jefferson said he will look at several factors before the opt-out deadline of June 30. Those include what the NBA‘s economic climate looks like due to the possibility of a 2011 lockout, how the free-agent market sizes up, how the Spurs’ future looks and how they do in the playoffs.

“If you win a championship, you might opt out,” he said. “If you lose in the first round, you might stay. You can’t say it’s going to be one way or the other. That would be foolish (to not take many factors into account). Guys like LeBron (James), it doesn’t matter.”

Jefferson, who never really has fit in with the Spurs and whose scoring average is the lowest since his rookie season of 2001-02, said his value is not as high with a slower-tempo team such as San Antonio as it would be with more up-and-down unit. Jefferson played with faster-paced New Jersey from 2001-08, and twice averaged more than 22 points in a season.

After signing Manu Ginobili to a three-year, $40 million extension, Jefferson’s $15 million off the books would be some major cap relief for the Spurs, who are currently in position to pay the luxury tax a second straight year next season.

If Jefferson opts out, could Tiago Splitter be in a Spurs uniform soon?

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

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