The preseason is set to begin in just a few days for the San Antonio Spurs, and it will give fans the chance to see players such as Devin Vassell back in action. Vassell was arguably the team's best player last season but logged just 38 games due to injury. Those injuries are hopefully behind him now thanks to an extended summer break, and he likely used that time to continue to add to his game.
In addition to showing fans what he has learned this summer, he can also use the preseason to show the Spurs his expanded skillset. That could be key for Vassell, who is still awaiting a contract extension, with the deadline being the day before the start of the regular season. That gives the Spurs a deadline of October 23rd to decide whether to sign him to an extension.
If they don't, then they could wait until next summer, when he enters restricted free agency. However, there are several reasons why San Antonio should avoid restricted free agency at all costs. Next, we'll take a look at why the Spurs should extend Vassell ahead of the regular season.
3. Extending Vassell now could save cap space later.
The NBA's rookie contract extension process is weird because it is partly a guessing game. Teams have to decide the future value of a player and try to offer a deal that is worth less than or equal to that projected amount, hoping that the player and his agent accept it. The same will be true of the Spurs, Vassell, and his agent.
However, negotiations could be made more complicated by the fact that there will soon be a new TV contract. That will cause the salary cap to dramatically rise over the next few years. Therefore, if you were expecting Vassell to make around $20 million a season, he and his agent might be thinking closer to $35 million annually.
Especially after other wings like Jordan Poole, RJ Barrett, and Tyler Herro all recently got 4-year, $120 million-plus deals. Vassell's agent can make the case that he is better than each of those players, and other teams might agree if Vassell hits restricted free agency. That increases the need to get a deal done before this year's deadline.
Recent history suggests that the Spurs will come to an agreement on an extension before the deadline and avoid restricted free agency altogether. Better yet, when looking at Dejounte Murray's, Derrick White's, and Keldon Johnson's extensions, San Antonio normally does a great job of locking young players into cheap long-term deals. That may be tougher this time around, but not impossible.