The San Antonio Spurs don’t have a ton of financial flexibility this offseason, but the moves they make will determine whether they can take a step forward next year.
After the San Antonio Spurs executed the Kawhi Leonard trade last offseason, they essentially locked themselves into this core for the next couple of years.
Unless San Antonio decides to trade away one of those big three contracts this offseason, their core will essentially remain the same heading into next season.
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According to Danny Leroux’s offseason preview for The Athletic, the Spurs have $99 million in guaranteed salary already committed to their players for next year and the projected 2019-20 salary cap is expected to be around $109 million.
Once they pay their picks from this year’s draft class, which could contain up to three rookies, San Antonio won’t have much room to operate under the salary cap. However, they do have some significant room under the projected luxury tax line which is expected to be around $132 million next season.
Also, operating above the salary cap line allows the Spurs’ front office to use the non-taxpayer Mid-Level exception which is worth around $9.2 million.
San Antonio can offer an unrestricted free agent a contract with a maximum value of $39.8 million over four years using that Mid-Level exception, or they could split it up among multiple incoming free agents.
The Spurs’ top impending free agent is Rudy Gay, and they’re able to offer him up to $17.7 million under the Early Bird rights rule without dipping in to their Mid-Level exception. That should be more than enough money to get a deal done if the front office wants to keep him around, and they could still use their Mid-Level exception as long as the front office negotiates a deal that’s worth less than that $17.7 million number next season.
The Spurs could get a bargain on a Murray extension if he’s willing to negotiate after missing an entire year with a torn ACL, and it may be worth while to lock up Poeltl for the future after a promising run in this year’s playoffs.
I think Murray will probably bet on himself this year to try and earn a bigger contract after coming back from his injury, and San Antonio could simply let Poeltl hit the restricted free agent market where they’d be able to match any offer sheet he receives from another team next offseason.
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While the Spurs don’t have the cap space to go after some of the big name free agents in one of the most intriguing classes in NBA history, they do have some money to work with to improve their roster at positions of need and San Antonio has a lot of draft capital to work with. Or they could shock the world and trade one of their big contracts to change the look of this team dramitcally this offseason.
We’ll discuss some potential free agent targets for the Spurs and what they should do with their three draft picks as the offseason has officially begun in San Antonio.