JULY 18: The Spurs have officially announced Johnson’s new deal, issuing a press release to confirm the move.
JULY 15: Keldon Johnson is signing a four-year, $80MM extension with the Spurs, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).
Johnson was the 29th pick of the 2019 draft. As a former first-round pick entering his fourth season, he was eligible for a rookie scale extension, and he has agreed to a lucrative deal to remain with San Antonio.
Johnson spent most of his rookie season in the G League, but emerged as a potential building block during the team’s run in the Orlando bubble. He started to put things together nicely during his second season in 2020/21, showing glimpses of upside while averaging 12.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 1.8 APG on .479/.331/.740 shooting in 69 games (28.5 MPG).
The 22-year-old was one of San Antonio’s best players last season, appearing in 75 games (31.9 MPG) with averages of 17.0 PPG, 6.1 RPG and 2.1 APG on .466/.398/.756 shooting. Nicknamed “Big Body” for his strong frame and hard drives to the rim, Johnson showed improvement as an outside shooter in ’21/22, with his three-point percentage increasing by nearly seven percent.
The young small forward figures to see an increased role during the upcoming season after All-Star Dejounte Murray was traded to the Hawks for first-round picks.
For the sake of comparison, Johnson’s extension is in between what a couple of other small forwards received for their rookie extensions: OG Anunoby got $72MM over four years from the Raptors in 2020 (the last year being a player option), while Mikal Bridges received $90MM over four years from the Suns last summer. Johnson hasn’t been the defender that either of those two were through their third seasons, but he’s been a more productive offensive player — part of that is due to opportunity, but he’s still a talented player with plenty of room for improvement.
Johnson’s extension will kick in during the ’23/24 season. As our extension tracker shows, he is the first player to receive a rookie scale extension that isn’t a maximum-salary deal.
15 thoughts on “Keldon Johnson Signs Four-Year Extension With Spurs”
Well damn, I thought they were looking to move him. Will be solid trade piece in a couple years though.
Still cant believe he fell to 29th. I had him 11th to Minnesota that year, although they traded the pick, but thought he could also go 9th to Washington, who took Hachimura, who I had 18th
That was 2 straight years the Spurs had a top talent fall to them at 29.
Only reason OG didnt get more is his injury history, but also, salaries have blown up again this year, so even though both OG and Bridges are better, this makes sense
I think what made him fall was his unexceptional year at Kentucky. I had him wrote off as another Archie Goodwin or Kahlil Whitney. A wing that came to UK with more hype than their talent could really deliver. Happy to see I was mistaken.
Whitney is kind of a Kyle Anderson type. He is just really slow footed. Keldon Johnson had some questions with his shot, and if he could play at the 3, but I just felt like he would fit those teams
This is absolute insane to me… mid tier NBA players in 2022 are now making more than the max contract for NBA players in 2012 (roughly 17-18 mill).. again.. just insanity to me.. there’s no way this is sustainable long term.
And ppl think mlb players are overpaid, mlb minimum is 650k more or less nba is 1.6 mil? I know two way deals are super cheap but in terms of standard contracts it’s above a mil no?
I agree a lot of bank robbers in the NBA. But this extension is appropriate for KJ. It takes effect after next season, and he is going to be the focal point of the offense. He put up 17-6 with almost 40% from 3 from the wing. Spurs made a smart move if he becomes a 20+ scorer.
When I was populating Ben Simmons trades before he pooped his pants vs Atlanta, Murray and Johnson would have been the two pieces I wanted from SAS. It was actually a sneaky good trade if the Sixers had done it, but we got Harden.
Spurs probably imho will be the one team in the NBA to avoid paying anyone Super Max. They almost did with Kawhi, and I dont see them going that route not when you have bum max contract after bum max contract around the league. Brick and Wall. MPJ, Simmons, KD, Kawhi, PG, Klay, KP, Hayward, Love, Murray, and AD all missed significant time while on a max deal. Even Embiid, Beal, and Middleton missed their fair share of time.
The problem is the Max exists and every top 2 or top 3 guy on your squad thinks hes a max guy. Like Pat Bev saying Harden was a super max guy at this stage is part troll but part that’s how these guys think.
The inflation is due to the CBA and TV rev and only 15 players on a roster. The cap increases and you get these mid level guys making 15m per who used to be 5m per guys. I’ve thought it was unsustainable for years, esp how do you operate when 1/3 or more of the league is over the luxury?
The teams are still making money, and plenty of it. Franchise valuations through the roof, league income exploding. It’s only unsustainable if they can’t afford it and it seems pretty clear that the teams can afford it.
The NBA’s revenue has increased 2.5 times since then. They were a $4 billion industry back then, and now they’re a $10 billion industry
I get that… but happens when growth stops?
A lock out.
They’re going to make even more money on the next tv rights deals, and there is going to be expansion for 2 more teams. If anything, revenue will continue to go up, and salaries will continue to rise, and that’s a good thing b/c owners are obviously pocketing exponentially more
Still doesn’t defend. If he were a competent SF, then spurs wouldn’t of drafted sochan. Hopefully he gets flipped for picks before other teams realize
Below market value, assuming he makes another leap this year. Good deal.
He isn’t much of a defender on the perimeter at all; not just not the defender (nor the athlete) that Bridges or OG were/are. Those are very hard comps, though. This is a defensive use of the early extension, in isolation, but with their payroll situation it might be prudent to take a variable off the table.