I’m watching the TV News, with discussion of title aftermath. Certain players are looking to cash in on the Spurs winning the NBA championship.
For example, Kawhi Leonard is looking to sign an extension, reportedly for 5 years, $80M. Count on that happening in the near future, but not before addressing the team’s unrestricted free agents.
Then there’s other players who are likely to move on from this team, due to cap constraints. The Spurs have been willing to pay market value until the team ends up paying luxury tax. With that tax going up from $1.00 to $2.50 per dollar spent, they’ll be hard pressed to bring back everyone they would like to keep.
The News reports Boris Diaw wants a two-year deal. No problem with that; he established a higher value with his play during the playoffs, but he wants $18-$20M over the two years. That’s not happening, at least not here. $10M/yr for a player who had been released by the BobCats and had a questionable level of fitness? That would be surprising … and a doubling of last year’s salary.
Meanwhile, Patty Mills is looking to cash in on his newfound fame. There’s been talk the Knicks are interested in him, for part of the mid-level exemption, roughly $3.2M/yr. I think the Spurs can match that, but the reality is, Chris Joseph is a better defender and could be a quality backup to Tony Parker if the Spurs are willing to bring him back. He’s also a UFA.
The feeling here is, Diaw is far more important to the Spurs than Mills. I’m wondering what the Spurs might do for a replacement. If Diaw wants near Tim Duncan pay ($10.3M/yr), they might be tempted to let him walk.
AND … if the Spurs are going to be forced to pay any luxury tax, why not go big?
No one here will say it, and there’s not going to be talk about going outside the organization, but if I were looking to pay that pair $13M/yr, they might as well go big.
Don’t be surprised if the Spurs look to bring in someone really unexpected, especially if one or two of Miami’s Big 3 opt out. The Spurs were rumored to have been interested in Chris Bosh when it appeared Tim Duncan’s career was on a downward trajectory back in 2010. Afterwards, Bosh turned into a jump shooter and Popovich might not want a guy who refuses to bang around anymore.
And I think the “other Miami potential free agent” is a possibility. I’m not even going to discuss that here, but it wouldn’t be a huge surprise; not for BSP. That player would benefit immensely from coming here:
James is unselfish. He has a high basketball IQ. He loves to play hard. He has every tool in the bag and an affinity to display them. This is a coach’s dream. Could you imagine James playing for Popovich? Would the Spurs ever lose? Seriously.
For example, a lot less attention, a lot more focus on winning without wearing him out physically and other guys doing their job. No more “follow my lead” nonsense. If you’re going to pay luxury tax, you might as well go big.
If the Spurs are looking to transition from their Big 3 to a new era of roughly the same success, they have to be looking beyond Ginobili and Duncan. They are not going to hit on a lottery pick like Duncan again, or converting a 2nd rounder into a Hall-of-Famer. This might be a chance to do it, and practically guaranteeing themselves another title. R.C. Buford thinks long-term. They have to be, or should be thinking 2014-15 is the last season of Duncan-Ginobili. I don’t think they want to be the Brooklyn Nets, holding onto a bunch of old guys who can’t play anymore.