Sunday, June 30, free agents can begin negotiating contracts with NBA teams at 5 PM CT. For the San Antonio Spurs, at the moment, they’re not expected to get meetings with the marquee free agents because they are currently a team without any cap space, barring any major trades in the next few days.
Knowing that, let’s get primed for free agency by looking at the Spurs’ current cap situation and why they’re an over the cap team, as well as who their current free agents are and what tools they have available to upgrade the roster.
Players on guaranteed contracts (13): DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Patty Mills, Davis Bertans, Marco Belinelli, Jakob Poeltl, Bryn Forbes, Luka Samanic, Lonnie Walker IV, Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Keldon Johnson, Chimezie Metu
Players on two-way contracts (2): Drew Eubanks, Quinndary Weatherspoon (reportedly)
Unrestricted free agents (4): Rudy Gay, Dante Cunningham, Quincy Pondexter, Donatas Motiejunas, Ben Moore – Being an unrestricted free agent means if the Spurs and the free agent wanted to sign a new deal together, the Spurs could go over the cap at a certain number to re-sign the player depending on what level of bird rights the player has. The player could also sign with any other team that has interest and the Spurs would have no way of preventing the signing.
The non-tax payer mid-level exception: The one tool the Spurs will have to upgrade their roster whether one of their unrestricted free agents returns or not is the non-tax payer mid-level exception projected to be worth $9.3 million. This exception can be used as whole or split up to sign outside free agents up to a four-year deal, with 5% raises after each season. Since the Spurs used part of the bi-annual exception last year, they’ll have to wait until next summer to have access to this $3.6 million exception if they’re once again an over the cap team.
Extensions for DeRozan and Murray – both DeRozan and Murray will be eligible for extensions after July 6 until the first game of the regular season if they were to negotiate an extension with San Antonio. If DeRozan doesn’t get an extension, then next summer he could decline his player option and sign with another team if he wanted. If Murray doesn’t sign an extension, he’d be a restricted free agent next summer and he could let other teams set his market by signing an offer sheet, or he could sign the Spurs’ qualifying offer, play out the 2020-21 season, and then become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2021.
Gay’s options – A few weeks ago, a writer from the Athletic reported that Gay was most likely going to re-sign with the Spurs over $10 million annually. However, until a contract is actually signed on July 6, Gay will be presented with different options. On a recent interview, Gay didn’t reveal where he’d be signing. If a team with cap space going after marquee free agents strikes out, there’s the possibility that team could sign Gay to hefty one year deal to roll over their cap space to next offseason.
Bojan Bogdanovic – The one outside free agent the Spurs have consistently been linked to this offseason is Indiana Pacers forward Bojan Bogdanovic, who will be an unrestricted free agent June 30. While Bogdanovic could command a deal worth $15-18 million annually, the Spurs wouldn’t have enough with just the MLE to sign him. If they really wanted him and Bogdanovic also wanted to come to San Antonio, either multiple player trades would have to be implemented by San Antonio to unload salary without taking any back, or a sign-and-trade agreement would have to be worked out with the Pacers if they agreed to that type of deal.