SEPTEMBER 4: The signing is official, according to a team press release.
AUGUST 30: The Spurs have reached a contract agreement with 2018 second-round pick Chimezie Metu, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Metu is signing a three-year deal with San Antonio.
Metu, a 6’11” forward/center, declared for the draft as an early entrant this past spring after a productive season at USC. In his junior year, Metu averaged 15.7 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 1.7 BPG with a .523 FG% in 34 games.
The Spurs used the 49th overall pick in the 2018 draft to nab Metu, and while it took a couple months for the two sides to finalize a contract agreement, Charania notes that the team is “high” on the young big man.
San Antonio will use a portion of its mid-level exception to complete its deal with Metu. The Spurs initially used about $6.15MM of their $8.64MM MLE to sign Marco Belinelli, and could’ve fit Dante Cunningham‘s one-year, $2.49MM contract neatly into the remaining portion of that exception.
However, signing Cunningham using the mid-level exception would’ve prevented San Antonio from offering Metu more than two years, since the team only would have had the bi-annual exception and minimum salary exception still available in that scenario. Instead, the Spurs completed their deal with Cunningham using the bi-annual exception, leaving their MLE open for Metu.
The Spurs currently have 13 players on fully guaranteed salaries, not counting Manu Ginobili, who figures to be waived at some point after having announced his retirement. Metu’s deal will almost certainly have at least a guaranteed first year, increasing San Antonio’s fully guaranteed contract count to 14. Quincy Pondexter, who reportedly received a partial guarantee on his new contract, is also in the mix for a spot on the regular season roster.