Spurs Notes: Free Agents, Simmons, Paul, Lee

The Spurs’ decision on whether to pursue Chris Paul will play a role in which free agents return next season, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. The organization would have to clear a massive amount of cap space to offer Paul a max deal, which would probably mean renouncing Patty Mills and not matching an offer sheet for restricted free agent Jonathon Simmons. In addition, Dewayne Dedmon and David Lee both have player options and might also be renounced if they opt out. If the Spurs are able to sign Paul, they will have to fill out the roster using their mid-level exception and veterans minimum deals.

There’s more news out of San Antonio:

  • If the Spurs want to keep Simmons, they will get some help from an “arcane” rule, McDonald notes in the same story. The Gilbert Arenas provision limits first-year offers to Simmons to the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which will be roughly $8.4MM next season. Of course, offer sheets can be heavily backloaded over the final two years, similar to what the Nets did with Tyler Johnson last summer. If the Spurs are operating over the cap, they won’t have the ability to spread the hit evenly over four seasons, so they could be looking at a substantial salary commitment in 2019/20 and 2020/21 for a player who turns 28 in September.
  • To make a realistic run at Paul, the Spurs would have to find a taker for LaMarcus Aldridge, Danny Green or Tony Parker, writes Nick Moyle of The San Antonio Express-News. That means trading them without taking back salary, which will almost certainly require giving up draft picks. Aldridge would probably be the most difficult of the three to move, as he is signed for $21.461MM for next season, along with a $22.347MM player option for 2018/19. Green will make $10MM next year, with a $10MM player option the following season. Parker is entering the final year of his contract at $15.453MM.
  • Lee won’t need surgery for a strained patellar tendon in his left knee, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. The injury, which Lee suffered in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, is expected to heal in about six weeks.
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