Despite the San Antonio Spurs renouncing the rights to Jonathon Simmons, can they still re-sign him?
On Thursday, The Vertical’s Shams Charania reported that the San Antonio Spurs renounced the rights to Jonathon Simmons, making him an unrestricted free agent. He was under restricted status for the first 12-plus days of free agency, after the Spurs made him a qualifying offer.
However, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski added that San Antonio is still talking with Simmons. So they are still able to re-sign him, despite making the 27-year-old fully open for the other 29 NBA teams. That may not mean the Spurs renounced the qualifying offer, as Hoops Rumors pointed out.
How is this possible? Under the NBA’s salary cap rules for the 2017-18 season, the Spurs can re-sign Simmons, via his Early Bird Rights if he had his qualifying offer withdrawn. As explained on CBAFAQ.com, depending on which is higher, a team can re-sign its own free agent at 175 percent and below of his previous year’s salary or 105 percent of last season’s average salary.
As for the contract length, it’s a minimum of two seasons. Deals can be for up to four years, unlike the usual five for teams re-signing their own players in free agency.
Via Basketball-Reference, the Spurs used $84.5 million of the $99.093 available in salary cap for the 2017-18 season. That’s without Joffrey Lauvergne’s figures included, so the number will be slightly smaller for leftover money. Pau Gasol is still expected to re-sign, too, which could bring the team over the cap on that deal alone.
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With this, it’s possible a Simmons deal guarantees the Spurs going over the salary cap. If San Antonio goes above a payroll of $119.2 million, they will reach the tax level. If Lauvergne gets the veteran’s minimum of $1.52 million, it would give the team $33 million to work with before hitting the tax. So it’s feasible that the Spurs can bring Gasol and Simmons back, unless their average annual salaries combine for over that amount. Since the former already said he’ll take less money to return (he made $16 million in 2016-17), the Spurs should be able to stay below the tax level.
Note this is just one scenario for the Spurs re-signing Simmons. It would change if San Antonio officially renounced him, as they would lose the Early Bird exception, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
Big difference of renouncing vs. pulling a Qualifying Offer. Player still has early bird if QO is pulled. EB exception lost if renounced.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 13, 2017
The Spurs will try to re-sign Simmons, but anyone else can swoop in and grab him, unchallenged. Will he remain in the Alamo City?