San Antonio Spurs wing Devin Vassell is coming off a career year and has a chance to break out as he enters his fourth season. However, Vassell is eligible for a contract extension this summer, and it makes for an interesting situation for the Spurs. If not signed to a contract extension before next season, Vassell would become a restricted free agent.
Recent history suggests that the Spurs won't let it get to that point after they opted to give Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, and Keldon Johnson extensions prior to their fourth season. In fact, thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement, the Spurs have more reason to try and lock up Vassell on a long-term deal.
Predicting the length and amount of Devin Vassel's next contract.
The new CBA allows teams to extend young players on rookie contracts who don't qualify for a rookie max extension to five-year deals. That means San Antonio could offer Vassell a five-year contract, which would keep him in San Antonio for the next six seasons. With a new television contract coming, the salary cap could dramatically rise in a short period of time, even with the raises capped at 10%.
That should concern the Spurs because it means that players' salaries will rise with it and that new centerpiece, Victor Wembanyama, could be in for a historic rookie max extension. As a result, San Antonio would be wise to try to lock Vassell in now rather than wait a year and likely have to pay more in restricted free agency.
A five-year, $110 million deal is pricier than many fans would probably expect, but on a yearly basis, it is actually quite affordable. Johnson will make $18.5 million annually on his next contract, whereas Vasell would be making $22 million on average if the Spurs signed him to a five-year deal. It is possible that Vassell and his agent might not want to be locked into a contract for that long, especially with the cap set to rise.
Despite that, turning down that much-guaranteed money for a smaller deal might be harder to do. Even still, it's possible that they settle on a 4-year, $88 million contract. That could still prove to be a value deal, with the cap expected to jump from $136 million next season to as much as $180 million three seasons from now, when Vassell would be in the second or third year of his extension.
Ultimately, based on three of the team's recent rookie extension negotiations, it seems more likely than not that they will come to terms on an extension with Vassell. Perhaps the biggest question isn't how much, since they have a knack for signing good players to cheap deals, but for how many seasons.