The Wrap-Up: Opening Day of Free Agent Negotiations

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Before diving into the Wrap-Up for Friday of the opening day of free agent negotiations, let’s quickly recap the four main headlines for the San Antonio Spurs.

  1. Jakob Poeltl agees to re-sign
  2. Drew Eubanks agrees to re-sign
  3. Trey Lyles’ contract fully guarantees
  4. Chimezie Metu was waived

The Roster’s Almost Full

Once rookie Devin Vassell, Poeltl, and Eubanks sign their contracts, the Spurs will have 13 players on guaranteed contracts.

A team can carry up to 20 players into training camp and the preseason in early December, but the final roster needs to be trimmed down to no more than 15 players on the Spurs, and two two-way players before the opening game of the season.

Tyler Zeller is still on a non-guaranteed contract, and the Spurs can take their time in deciding whether to waive him or keep him for the whole season on the roster, since his waiver date isn’t until late February.

Quinndary Weatherspoon is still a restricted free agent seeking an offer sheet from an outside team. If he doesn’t find an offer sheet elsewhere, he has has until November 27 to accept the Spurs’ qualifying offer and return to the team on a two-way contract.

The Spurs likely need to decide within the next month if they’re going to be signing second round draftee Tre Jones to an NBA deal, or a two-way contract.

As of the opening night of free agency, the Spurs’ other two unrestricted free agents Bryn Forbes and Marco Belinelli remain unsigned. The Spurs can still use their bird rights to re-sign either player if they wanted to, though right now with limited roster space and the guard and wing positions filled, that doesn’t seem likely.

Before discussing how much money the Spurs have left to spend in free agency, let’s take a look at what the roster looks like when just observing players on guaranteed contracts.

Backcourt players: Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, DeMar DeRozan, Lonnie Walker IV, Keldon Johnson, Patty Mills, Devin Vassell

Frontcourt players: LaMarcus Aldridge, Jakob Poeltl, Rudy Gay, Trey Lyles, Luka Samanic, Drew Eubanks

Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich typically uses a rotation of 10 players during the regular season, and as the roster is already constructed, three players are likely going to be sitting on the bench for most games.

How much money do the Spurs have left in free agency?

This question is a little tricky to answer until we know how Poeltl is re-signing for his three year, $27 million deal.

I’ll breakdown the two ways Poeltl is able to re-sign and how much money each scenario leaves for the Spurs to use in free agency.

For each of these scenarios, I’m assuming Zeller gets waived and Weatherspoon signs his two-way qualifying offer to remain a two-way player. 

  • Re-signing with full bird rights: If Poeltl re-signed with his full bird rights, the Spurs have around $7.6 million of the mid-level exception available to offer an outside free agent. If they don’t use the $7.6 million, they’d be $1.4 million under the luxury tax.

Which free agents are available in the Spurs’ salary range?

Using the NBA salary projections from ESPN, the following free agent shooting guards, small forwards, and power forwards are still available:

Shooting Guards

Tax MLE Range ($4-6 million) – Avery Bradley, E’Twaun Moore, Bryn Forbes (bird rights), Kent Bazemore, De’Anthony Melton (Restricted free agent)

Bi-Annual Range ($2-4 million) – DeAndre’ Bembry, Shaquille Harrison

Small Forwards

Tax MLE Range ($4-6 million) – Maurice Harkless

Bi-Annual Range ($2-4 million) – Torrey Craig (RFA), Denzel Valentine (RFA), Glenn Robinson, Marco Belinelli (bird rights),

Power Forwards 

Full MLE Range ($6-8 million) – Paul Millsap

Tax MLE Range ($4-6 million) – Bobby Portis, Markieff Morris, Harry Giles III, Carmelo Anthony, Juancho Hernangomez (RFA), Frank Kaminsky, Ersan Ilyasova, Chris Boucher (RFA)

Bi-Annual Range ($2-4 million) – Taj Gibson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeff Green

What does the cap space look like for next season?

With the new numbers for Poeltl and Eubanks, the Spurs are projected to have $54.2 million in cap space next summer for the 2021 offseason, while including Derrick White’s $10 million cap hold.

That would would be enough to offer a max contract to a free agent with 10 or more years of experience. That number could get chipped away slightly depending on if White is able to sign a rookie extension before December 21, 2020.

 

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Paul is an editor, writer and content manager for ProjectSpurs.com (@ProjectSpurs) and AnalyzingTheLeague.com (@ATLeague_NBA). Paul is also the host of the Spurscast (@TheSpurscast). Paul has been a credentialed media member covering the San Antonio Spurs and NBA since 2011. Paul has been featured on numerous radio, tv, online and podcast shows.

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