As the NBA landscape constantly changes around them, the Spurs quietly go about their business of winning more often than everyone else for the past quarter-century, and the typically understated signing of All-Star point guard Tony Parker allows San Antonio to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
In a day and age when every last detail of a star player's free agency tour is reported, Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski and the Spurs website announced Parker's three-year extension almost simultaneously, a reflection of the workmanlike philosophy that's made them so successful.
The 32-year-old will make $12.5 million this season with presumed maximum raises of 7.5 percent each season through 2017-18. The estimated $14.4 million average annual value of Parker's new deal is a relative bargain compared to the recent extensions signed by fellow top-five point guards Russell Westbrook (5 years, $80 million), Derrick Rose (5 years, $94.8 million) and Chris Paul (5 years, $107 million).
So, the Spurs lock up a three-time returning second team All-NBA selection who has steered them to four NBA championships, including the league's most recent lest you forgot, through his 36th birthday.
Whether by Jedi mind trickery or some strange spy training technique, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and president R.C. Buford consistently convince their superstars to stay put under market value. Tim Duncan picked up his $10.3 million option last month, and Manu Ginobili will play out the final season of a two-year, $14 million deal. Both will be free agents next summer, as will Kawhi Leonard, who could command a max extension as a restricted free agent a la Gordon Hayward. (Although, given San Antonio's history, the reigning NBA Finals MVP will sign an extension now for half his worth in 2015).
Like Duncan and Ginobili before him, Parker's deal allows San Antonio to retain a championship core while adding the necessary role players to contend again and keeping their options open for the future.
According to the great Mark Deeks' salary information, the Spurs have just $32.5 million guaranteed committed to Parker, Tiago Splitter, Boris Diaw and Patty Mills in 2015-16. That number decreases each successive season. Even if the Spurs are forced to match a max offer for Leonard, they'll still have plenty of room below the projected $66.5 million salary cap to potentially re-sign Duncan and Ginobili next summer and remain major players on the expected free agent bonanza if the salary cap skyrockets in 2016.
Just as they've done on the court, the Spurs are playing the game better than everybody else off it, too.
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