Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
R.C. Buford has long been one of the NBA’s top executives. Let us take a look at some of his best signings of players currently under contract.
Not every contract is created equal as this slideshow will prove with some of the imbalanced contracts the Spurs have, tilting the scales heavily in their favor.
With the offseason of inflated contracts behind us, it is time that we take a look of which current Spurs contracts are the most team-friendly deals. Deals that are considered team-friendly are those that benefit the team’s interests and put them in good financial position.
To create this ranking, player’s ability, guaranteed salary, comparative player contracts and team/player options were considered.
Next: No. 5 Kyle Anderson
5. Kyle Anderson
2017-2018: $2,151,704 (team option)
2018-future: Restricted Free Agent
Anderson is entering the third season of his rookie contract after the Spurs picked up his team option for this upcoming season. Had Anderson stayed four years in college, this would be his rookie year so he is relatively young for his level of development. He logged a lot of minutes at the NBA level last year and made a compelling case to be a more important piece in the rotation this offseason in the NBA Summer League. If he can learn to transfer his talents and success from the summer to the regular season, a contract of just over one million could look like a steal by the year’s end.
Next: No. 4 Dejounte Murray
4. Dejounte Murray
2018-2019: $1,286,280 (team option)
2019-2020: $2,321,735 (team option)
2020-future: Restricted Free Agent
Murray enters the first year on a rookie contract that was signed using the rookie-scale. He is a player many believe slipped in the draft and had the Spurs somehow picked him in the second round, they would likely be paying him more money right now. Instead, San Antonio has a talented prospect under their control for the next four years if they choose (team options year three and four). If Murray turns out to be the potential star many have speculated, the Spurs will have first dibs on him as a Restricted Free Agent when he does eventually reach the open market.
Next: No. 3 Patty Mills
3. Patrick Mills
2016-2017: $3,245,614… Cap hit is $3,578,947 and incentives are $333,333
Although Mills’ contract has only one year remaining and has some incentives, the actual cap implications from his contract is minuscule compared to those of other backup point guards. For a player who has been a proven commodity for years and looks ready to absorb any minutes Tony Parker needs to concede, a 3.5 million dollar cap hit is nothing. He is not a player who has incredibly high ceiling which makes the shorter nature of the contract beneficial for the Spurs. San Antonio will be able to decide if they would like to continue with the consistency Mills provides or take a chance on someone else next offseason. Presumably that decision will be made mostly based on the amount of money Mills is asking for.
Next: No. 2 Kawhi Leonard
2. Kawhi Leonard
2019-2020: $21,329,750 (player option)
At age 25, Kawhi Leonard has yet to reach his prime which is a scary thought for the other 29 teams in the NBA. The Spurs have him locked up in a contract for the next three seasons with a player option for a potential fourth year. The value Leonard is being paid at made sense before the cap shot up, but in the current NBA economy, Leonard’s contract leaves R.C. Buford looking like the genius he is. By signing Leonard a year before the anticipated cap increase, the Spurs are currently paying Leonard less money per year than Ryan Anderson, Allen Crabbe and 31 other NBA players. Considering Kawhi is undoubtedly one of the top five players in the league and the list of players being paid more than him is only going to increase, San Antonio fans should be very happy.
Next: No. 1 David Lee
1. David Lee
2017-2018: $1,605,967 (player option)
David Lee took a sizable pay cut to be able to play for a Spurs team that will almost surely be competing late into the playoffs. The deal was not structured with longevity in mind, as Lee will presumably look to collect more money next offseason if the Spurs’ cap space allows. Even with only one year of the contract, a veteran minimum is such a bargain price for a player of David Lee’s caliber that it has to be San Antonio’s best contract.