San Antonio Spurs: Projected payroll, cap space after 2017-18 season

By Rob Wolkenbrod
SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 22: Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs talks to the media during a press conference after Game Four of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors during the 2017 NBA Playoffs on May 22, 2017 AT
SAN ANTONIO, TX - MAY 22: Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs talks to the media during a press conference after Game Four of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors during the 2017 NBA Playoffs on May 22, 2017 AT
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An early look at the payroll for the San Antonio Spurs after the 2017-18 season.

The San Antonio Spurs usually don’t need to look into the future for their salary cap situation, as the core of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Tim Duncan didn’t require the team to get top-of-the-line stars in free agency. They had Kawhi Leonard fall into their laps in the 2011 NBA Draft, which stalled a need to be aggressive for a superstar player, or bringing in multiple of them.

By July 1, 2018, that may all change for the Spurs.

Since the years of LeBron James’ anticipated venture into 2010 NBA free agency, the period that starts on July 1 has become looked upon seasons in advance. It’s made teams deal their top players 1-2 years in advance of free agency, due to fear of them leaving for nothing. The Spurs won’t face the situation of dealing someone, but after next season, this team could look much different and make them head into free agency with an open mind.

As it stands five players are under guaranteed contracts for next season: Leonard, Pau Gasol, Joffrey Lauvergne (two-year deal, but details weren’t revealed), Derrick White, and Dejounte Murray (assuming the Spurs pick up his team option). So, going into the next offseason, San Antonio is projected to have as many as 10 open roster spots. Throw in the possible 2018 first-round pick, and it brings the number down to, more realistically, 9.

These are the projected salaries on the books for the 2018-19 season:

  • Kawhi Leonard – $20 million
  • Pau Gasol – $16 million
  • Tim Duncan – $1.8 million (waived in 2016; stretch provision used)
  • Joffrey Lauvergne – $1.7 million (projected minimum salary for player of four years of service time)
  • Derrick White – $1.7 million
  • Dejounte Murray – $1.5 million

This leaves the Spurs with $42.7 million in contracts for the 2018-19 season. The salary cap is projected to be $102 million.

So, what about the contracts that will or potentially be off the books for next year? Let’s take a look (all numbers below are approximations).

Restricted Free Agents

It begins with the team’s restricted free agents for 2018 — three of them, with the potential of a fourth.

Kyle Anderson will see his rookie scale contract expire, which pays him $2.2 million for the final year of his deal. He can receive a qualifying offer of $2.5 million.

Davis Bertans will be eligible for a qualifying offer of $1.5 million, given his two years of service time, by the time next season ends. He will receive $1.3 million in 2017-18.

Bryn Forbes can also receive a qualifying offer of $1.5 million. He will make the same amount of money as Bertans for next season.

More from San Antonio Spurs Free Agency

Brandon Paul is a possibility for restricted free agent status. Basketball-Reference lists his salary for $815,000 for this season, so he’ll get to make the veteran’s minimum of $1.3 million plus $200,000. This is based on the projected veteran’s minimum figures for the 2017-18 season.

Unrestricted Free Agents

The Spurs will have one unrestricted free agent, Tony Parker. His $15.47 million deal will come off the books after next season. Parker desires one more deal, so look for him to be back.

Player Options

The player options will be where things get interesting for the Spurs. They will either remove roughly $44 million from the books for 2018-19 or see a $6 million raise from the following players:

LaMarcus Aldridge has a $21.5 million salary for this season. It will rise to $22.3 million for 2018-19 if he exercises his player option.

Danny Green’s 2017-18 salary will be $10 million. He has a player option of the same figure for 2018-19.

Rudy Gay signed for the Mid-Level Exception this offseason. He will make $8.4 million in 2017-18 and $8.8 million in 2018-19 if he exercises his player option.

Next: Top 10 first-round picks in Spurs history

The look of this will change as the 2017-18 season nears, along with signings and trades made during the year. For now, though, the Spurs look to be in line for plenty of cap space for 2018.

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