Spurs must monitor if unique playoff final four is a blip or developing trend

The 2024 NBA Playoffs are without some of the highest-paid players in the league. Should that be a concern for the San Antonio Spurs?
Gregg Popovich
Gregg Popovich / Jason Miller/GettyImages

The Spurs are the darlings of the league right now. The youngest team in the league is primed with so much promise that the wheels of the NBA rumor mill have spun around Alamo City's hottest ticket. There is a treasure chest of draft picks and flexible cap space, only projected to increase due to the intelligent contract dealings of GM Brian Wright.

Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson and Zach Collins are all examples of players signed to deals with the team in mind regarding price and trade potential. When you examine the contracts of the players on the roster, nobody is signed to a deal that one would consider untradeable. In a sea full of criticism for the front office, they deserve some credit for asset management.

That diligence will need to continue as Victor Wembanyama breaks down barrier after barrier, leading him to a massive payday. Winning is the ultimate goal for San Antonio, so observing what successful teams are doing has to be part of the agenda, and it is hard to miss the commonality among the remaining teams in the playoffs.

Balanced spending must be a priority for San Antonio

The Denver Nuggets won the NBA championship last year but one of their strengths was the depth of their bench. Nikola Jokic's salary increased this season and the defending champs lost some of that depth. During their recent series against the Minnesota Timberwolves, an obvious disadvantage for The Joker's squad was their lack of a second unit. It came back to bite them in more than one game, leading to a second-round exit.

Fortunately, the Spurs will be getting some relief from the incoming increase projected for the NBA cap.

Of course, that money has to go somewhere, as the league's owners are obligated to pay a salary cap minimum every year as negotiated in the CBA (collective bargaining agreement). Jaylen Brown is set to make $65 million in 2028. Contracts will only continue to increase. Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum will be up for contract extensions before the French phenom, further pushing the market. The price tag at that point for what will quite possibly be the best player in the NBA may be pretty astronomical.

The Celtics, Pacers, Timberwolves and Mavericks are all still in the playoffs because they have some variation of two bona fide stars or two burgeoning stars, and either way, they are surrounded by a strong supporting cast.

The Spurs could make Victor the first player in NBA history to earn $100 million in a single season. At the rate at which players are getting paid, it isn't impossible. San Antonio has the foresight to know what they have in Wembanyama, so they know what's coming, but they should still be able to build out their roster armed with that knowledge.