Summer agenda: Spurs have some work to do to stay near top

Bobby MarksThe Vertical
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/3380/" data-ylk="slk:Manu Ginobili">Manu Ginobili</a> does not have a contract with the Spurs for next season. (AP)
Manu Ginobili does not have a contract with the Spurs for next season. (AP)

The Vertical Front-Office Insider Bobby Marks, a former 20-year executive with the Nets, looks at the possible offseason plans and roster details for every team in the league.

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Offseason focus

The futures of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili

There is little doubt that Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili will be in the Hall of Fame one day.

While spots in Springfield, Massachusetts, are likely in their futures, this offseason brings a measure of uncertainty.

Before rupturing his right quadriceps against Houston in the West semifinals, Parker was playing really well.

Now a month removed from surgery, the 35-year-old’s recovery this offseason will impact the Spurs next season.

Parker, entering the final season of his contract, has a $15.5 million cap hit and is not expected to be back when the season begins.

If Ginobili chooses to return, he could still be a key component to the Spurs’ bench.

Signed to a one-year contract last summer, San Antonio could again sign Ginobili to a one-year deal and retain flexibility.

Ginobili does have Bird rights, so the Spurs can exceed the cap to bring him back.

Free agency: Patty Mills and Jonathon Simmons

Two components of the Spurs’ bench who turned into starters during the playoffs will be free agents.

The $3.5 million and $847,000 bargain contracts of Patty Mills and Jonathon Simmons will soon be high-priced salaries.

The Spurs have the ability to sign both players – Bird rights for Mills and restricted free agency for Simmons – but will need to weigh the financial consequences.

Mills, a backup in his six seasons with San Antonio, is ranked eighth by The Vertical in a solid free-agent class of point guards.

But can Mills be the Spurs’ point guard of the future?

Having never averaged more than 21 minutes a season, Mills’ play was sporadic when his minutes increased during the playoffs.

With the emergence of rookie Dejounte Murray, the Spurs could have their backup point guard next year at a fraction of what Mills will cost.

Thrust into the starting lineup because of Kawhi Leonard’s ankle injury, Simmons emerged during the playoffs as a solid two-way player.

Simmons has early Bird rights and can be signed by the Spurs, who also can match any offer sheet, to a contract that starts at $7.7 million or with cap space.

Teams wishing to sign Simmons cannot offer a contract more than the $8.4 million mid-level exception in the first year.

Teams can take available cap space and sign Simmons to a contract in which the first two years are a reflection of the full mid-level exception, with the last two years being back-loaded at a higher salary.

Simmons’ offer sheet with a team that has $10.3 million in cap space would look like this:

Year 1: $8.4 million
Year 2: $8.8 million
Year 3: $12 million
Year 4: $12 million
Total: $41.2 million
Avg.: $10.3 million

San Antonio would have the right to match the offer sheet and average ($10.3 million per year) the contract over four years for cap purposes.

Under the 2011 CBA, San Antonio would have had a $12 million cap hit in the final two years of the deal.

Patty Mills is in line to earn more than the $3.5 million he made this season. (AP)
Patty Mills is in line to earn more than the $3.5 million he made this season. (AP)

Keep an eye on 2018

How the Spurs spend money on their own free agents or create cap space this summer will have an impact next year.

Entering the 2018 offseason, San Antonio should only have four players under contract: LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Dejounte Murray, with Kyle Anderson being a restricted free agent.

Those four players total $52 million in guaranteed contracts, so San Antonio could have $40 million in cap space next summer.

However, to retain that room, San Antonio needs to be cautious in how it builds its bench this offseason.

Summer cap breakdown

Guaranteed                                          2017-18                                Insider info
LaMarcus Aldridge                            $21,461,010                         Extension eligible
Kawhi Leonard                                  $18,868,626                            Trade bonus
Pau Gasol                                          $16,197,500                     Player option June 29
Tony Parker                                       $15,453,126                         Extension eligible
Danny Green                                     $10,000,000                         Extension eligible
David Lee                                           $2,328,652                       Player option June 21
Kyle Anderson                                    $2,151,704                     Rookie extension eligible
Dejounte Murray                                $1,312,611
Davis Bertans                                     $1,312,611

Non/partial                                         2017-18 
Bryn Forbes                                       $1,312,611

FA cap hold                                         2017-18                                  FA status
Manu Ginobili                                   $21,000,000                                    Bird
Patty Mills                                          $6,800,001                                     Bird
Dewayne Dedmon                            $3,477,000                                  Non-Bird
Jonathan Simmons                           $1,671,382                          Restricted early Bird
Joel Anthony                                      $1,471,382                                  Non-Bird

First-round cap hold                           2017-18
No. 29                                                $1,404,600
Nikola Milutinov (2015)                      $1,465,920

Dead cap space                                 2017-218
Livio Jean-Charles                             $1,035,200
Tim Duncan                                        $1,881,250

Salary table                                           2017
Guaranteed salaries                        $89,085,840
Dead money                                      $2,916,450
Non-guaranteed                                $1,312,611
Tax variance                                        $158,771
Free-agent cap holds                      $37,290,885
Salaries: cap                                    $130,605,786
Salaries: tax                                      $94,473,672
Salary cap                                       $101,000,000
Luxury tax                                       $121,000,000
Cap space                              None ($29,605,786 over)
Tax room                                           $27,526,328

Projected cap space

San Antonio’s management excels at creating cap space when the options are limited.

The Spurs have entered free agency for two consecutive seasons with no cap space and yet signed LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol.

This July will be no different for the Spurs, but perhaps more challenging.

San Antonio has $90 million-plus in guaranteed contracts, not including the $33 million in free-agent holds for Ginobili, Mills and Simmons.

With the likelihood of Pau Gasol opting into his contract, San Antonio would need to move the contracts of Gasol and Parker if they wish to create room.

June draft picks

San Antonio has its own first-round pick.

The Spurs also have the No. 59 pick in the second round.

Future draft picks

The Spurs own all their future first-round picks.

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