The San Antonio Spurs will have to make one of two choices when it comes to the free agency of Kyle Anderson, Davis Bertans, and Bryn Forbes before June 29. A) Tender the qualifying offer to each player to make them a restricted free agent, or B) don’t tender the qualifying offer and allow that player to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
The expectation is the Spurs will tender each player their one-year qualifying offer unless they’re trying to open cap space for a max level free agent.
For Anderson, his qualifying offer will be $5.3 million after he achieved starter level criteria last season to boost his qualifying offer by $600K.
Anderson started 67 of the 74 games he played in last season. Anderson averaged 7.9 points (53% FG), 5.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 turnovers, and 1.6 steals in 26.7 minutes per game.
Should the Spurs tender the qualifying offer to Anderson, he’ll be a restricted free agent when free agency begins July 1. This means Anderson has three main choices to make: 1) Sign the Spurs’ one-year qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019. 2) Try to see if another team will provide an offer sheet, and from there, the Spurs would have two days after moratorium (July 6) to either match the offer sheet and keep Anderson, or decline, and allow Anderson to sign with the new team. 3) Re-sign a longer deal (up to five years) with the Spurs using Anderson’s bird rights (up to $25.2 million in the first year) or the mid-level exception ($8.5 million for non-tax teams, or $5.3 million for tax teams).
For Bertans and Forbes, the qualifying offer for each player is $1.6 million. Last season, Bertans played in 77 games with the Spurs where he remained a floor spacing big who produced 5.9 points, two rebounds, one assist and shot 37.3% from three-point range in 14.1 minutes per game. Forbes played in all but two games for the Spurs this past season, as he came in off the bench as a scoring option from different areas of the floor. Forbes averaged 6.9 points (42% FG, 39% 3PT), 1.4 rebounds, and one assist in 19 minutes per game.
If the Spurs tender the qualifying offers to Bertans and Forbes, like Anderson, each player will have three main choices: 1) Accept the Spurs’ one-year qualifying offer and become unrestricted free agents next summer. 2) Seek an offer sheet from another team and see if the Spurs will match the offer sheet, or 3) Re-sign a longer deal with the Spurs using early bird rights or the mid-level exception.
There is a difference as to how much the Spurs or any other team can offer Bertans and Forbes compared to Anderson, because Bertans and Forbes only have early bird rights. This means the maximum amount for one year on a new contract can only be up to $8.2 million if early bird rights are being used, or whatever mid-level exception is being used ($8.5 million for non-tax teams, $5.2 million for tax teams).
If the Spurs decided to re-sign one or two of their restricted free agents using the mid-level exception, it’s important to note that the full amount can only be used on one player, or it can be split between multiple players at smaller amounts.
Bertans and Forbes won’t likely see offers in the full mid-level amount, and ESPN’s Bobby Marks even noted Forbes’ market could be in the $2-3 million range this summer.
So long as the Spurs aren’t trying to preserve cap space to make a run at signing a max level free agent, expect Anderson, Bertans, and Forbes to be tendered each of their qualifying offers before June 29.
Salary information from ESPN.com, BasketballInsiders.com, and ShamSports.com.