The decision allows the Spurs to remove the three years and $30.5 million left on Jefferson's contract from the team's payroll for salary-cap and tax purposes. Jefferson will still be paid the $30.5 million.
The Spurs are aggressively looking for a small forward, and removing Jefferson's contract will allow them to spend the full $5 million midlevel exception for teams under the luxury-tax threshold. Spurs officials have met with Caron Butler(notes) and Josh Howard(notes).
Butler has been the Spurs' primary target, but team officials have been speaking with agents about a number of different options. Before visiting San Antonio, Butler preferred the Chicago Bulls over the Spurs – both of which could use the midlevel exception on him, league sources said. Among teams which can offer him a contract greater than the midlevel, Butler prefers the Los Angeles Clippers over the New Jersey Nets.
After meeting with the Spurs, Butler tweeted: "Great visit. First class all the way."
The Spurs also can play rookie Kawhi Leonard at small forward.
The Spurs acquired Jefferson from the Milwaukee Bucks in June 2009 and signed him to a four-year, $39 million extension before last season. Jefferson, 31, averaged 11.0 points and 3.8 rebounds last season. His 44 percent 3-point shooting ranked fifth in the NBA.
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