The San Antonio Spurs are stumbling to a bottom-three record and a 14% chance to land Victor Wembanyama at the 2023 NBA Draft. Though their subtle and competitive tanking has positioned them to turn their fortunes around, this rebuild is far from over for the front office.
From lineup decisions and re-signing impending free agents to roster cuts and doomsday draft scenarios, the front office has several vital questions to answer this summer. So what are the urgent matters General Manager Brian Wright must address for the Silver and Black?
1. How much should the Spurs pay Tre Jones?
Tre Jones might not be the best player on the roster, but he has been the glue holding San Antonio's offense together. As their only traditional point guard, it would behoove the Spurs to re-sign him to a long-term deal.
While the former second-rounder was an understudy to Dejounte Murray, Patty Mills, and Derrick White during his first two seasons with the Spurs, he has become their full-time starter after the front office moved on from that trio via trades and free agency. His first go-round at the controls has been adequate, but San Antonio has failed to light up the scoreboard due to his limitations and a subpar supporting cast.
If you scroll through various social media platforms, you'll see fans are on the fence about Jones. Some people have seen flashes that suggest he is a championship-caliber floor general. Others believe he wouldn't earn any minutes on a competitive squad. The reality is somewhere between those extremes, and the Spurs are using their rebuild to figure out where he fits into their plans.
The 23-year-old floor general has averaged a career-high 12.5 points and 6.2 assists on .435/.269/.891 shooting splits, and the Spurs can ink him to a four-year $58M extension before the season ends. If negotiations carry over to the summer, Jones is eligible for a $5.2M qualifying offer from San Antonio if they want to maintain his restricted free-agent status.
If the Spurs sign the third-year point guard to the above deal, the annual average value of his contract would be about $14.5M. For reference, that is a comparable payday to the one his older brother Tyus Jones received from Memphis a year ago.
That price tag might seem steep, but Jones is on track to develop into an elite reserve with spot-starting potential, which might make his wage feel like a bargain as the salary cap continues expanding.
Jones is a decent point-of-attack defender and cautious playmaker with a penchant for protecting the basketball. Although San Antonio has multiple avenues for upgrading his position, you can't dismiss the value of having a steadying presence to orchestrate your second unit.