As noted Friday morning, San Antonio Spurs guard Jonathon Simmons will be entering restricted free agency at 11:01 PM CST Friday evening. 12 teams will reportedly have interest in Simmons, but for the Spurs, they want to make the initial offer to Simmons to try to keep him in San Antonio.
The Spurs have already tendered a $1.6 million qualifying offer just to make Simmons a restricted free agent, and now Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports San Antonio intends to offer Simmons an initial deal in the $9 million annual range.
There’s no clarification if this would be a one to four year deal, but if it was a four-year deal, it would look something like this.
Year 1: $8.4 million
Year 2: $8.9 million
Year 3: $9.3 million
Year 4: $9.3 million
Total: 4 years for $36 million
If the Spurs extend an offer to Simmons out of the gate, it’s interesting because it paints two different paths on how they might be operating in free agency.
Operating over the cap
If the Spurs are operating over the cap, that means they’re keeping the cap hold of one of Pau Gasol or Manu Ginobili on the books, which would give them access to the non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($8.4 million). This can allow them to match any offer Simmons signs after July 6, after 48 hours because though his cap hold would go up to $8.4 million, they’d still have his cap hold on the books up to that amount. However, this route would limit the Spurs’ ability to sign outside free agents and only increase the chances to re-sign their own free agents.
Operating under the cap
Or, the Spurs could renounce Gasol and Ginobili, and have $13.3 million in cap space while keeping the cap holds of Simmons and Patty Mills on the books. Simmons though would have to wait to sign the Spurs’ offer last in this scenario to preserve his $1.6 million cap hold, while the team would have access to the room exception ($4.3 million).
If San Antonio renounced all their free agents including Mills and just kept Simmons’ cap hold, the Spurs could have up to $19.3 million in cap space and the room exception ($4.3 million). In this scenario again, the Spurs would have to hope Simmons signs his deal last and doesn’t sign an offer sheet from another team to preserve the $1.6 million cap hold.
With free agency beginning later this evening, it’ll be interesting to see if the Spurs can retain Simmons and whether they jump into the free agency frenzy like many other teams.