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Report: Richard Jefferson opts out of deal; Spurs fans believe it is a miracle

Jun 30, 2010, 7:55 PM EDT

NBA_jefferson1_250.jpgIf you are Dirk Nowitzki, it makes a lot of sense to opt out of the last year of your deal. You’ll lose a little money in the short term to make it back in the long haul over the next few years.

Richard Jefferson used that logic in opting out of his deal with the San Antonio Spurs. But the same rules of supply and demand do not apply to him, and he’s about to learn that the hard way.

Jefferson opted out the $15.2 million he was due next year, according to KSAT news in San Antonio. This came as a surprise to just about everyone.

Jefferson is going to find the market unforgiving. After an unimpressive season where he his scoring dropped by seven points a game, his three point shooting fell way off and his PER dropped below the league average, there is just not going to be a lot of demand for Jefferson’s services. He has not really wowed for a couple years, and teams are going to be hesitant to spend on him.

It is very easy to picture Jefferson getting no better offer than the mid-level exception, about $5.6 million. He’ll probably get an offer for about three years, all of which combined barely covers the $15.2 million he would have made just this one year.

Jefferson just threw away a lot of money if this report is true. Maybe he did it because he wasn’t really happy, just not fitting in with San Antonio. Maybe. But that’s still a lot of money to leave on the table.

Spurs took a gamble on him last year and felt let down by the results, but now they get bailed out of paying the steepest price. They also just dropped below the salary cap by about $5 million and have a little more room to maneuver to improve a team that needs to get more athletic. If they were to trade Tony Parker to the Knicks just for cap space, they would suddenly have bout $14.7 million to play around with. Not that they plan to move Parker, but the number of options available to the Spurs just increased dramatically.

Free agency hasn’t even started and RC Buford feels like he’s won.

  1. Jared - Jun 30, 2010 at 8:40 PM

    There has GOT to be an angle here. It just doesn’t make sense to leave that much money on the table without a back-up plan. Spurs continue to be the luckiest franchise ever.

  2. Mpete - Jun 30, 2010 at 9:11 PM

    No backup plan, Jeff really thinks he’s good enough to get a 4 year 40 mil deal elsewhere. I doubt there’s a single team out there willing to give him the full MLE. Maybe just under 5 mil, but not the full exception.
    Problem for the Spurs is that they could’ve traded Jefferson’s expiring contract for Igoudola, Troy Murphy, etc. They still have the same amt to spend on a free agent — and Splitter’s getting all of that money. Jefferson’s expiring contract was actually worth a lot more to RC Buford than not. Spurs owner Peter Holt is the only winner here. He saves over 30 mil. Jefferson will certainly come out the biggest loser. What a horrible decision.

  3. nate - Jun 30, 2010 at 11:22 PM

    look rj was a a bust and if he does not opt out then i think they should trade him he’s not worth 15 mil look i know the spurs will love to get in on some action in this deep offseason cause look at the spurs but they sould get some young talent and start rebuilding for after the duncan era ends so that they cam be ready and not start a slump cause the spurs fans who are used to sucess by wining 4 banners in last 11 years and 11 staight 50 plus games won look they might not be in their prime but in 5-6 years the city will be having a other parade when george hill leads to champion level once agian

  4. Zack - Jul 1, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    I really don’t under the hate for RJ- he was taking less than 10 shots a game because he was the FOURTH option on the team.

  5. Max in Missouri - Jul 1, 2010 at 12:45 AM

    This blows my mind! I can’t believe he opted out! The Spurs just lucked out big time. I couldn’t understand why they traded for him (or why the Bucks did before that) and that albatross of a contract. He seems like a nice guy, but his game was based almost purely off athleticism of being young and playing with J Kidd. He must have been really unhappy, because he’s gonna lose A LOT of money…..

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