But San Antonio rescinded Simmons’ qualifying offer, and he signed a three-year contract with the Magic. That Orlando contract is $20 million fully guaranteed according to Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News, $18 million total and $13.3 guaranteed according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Between, how close did the Spurs come to keeping Simmons?
Casey Keirnan of NBC San Antonio:
The Spurs held tremendous leverage, because if Simmons accepted the low-paying qualifying offer, they could have made him a restricted free agent again next offseason. That route would have also allowed San Antonio maximize cap space next summer, which seems to be a priority.
The Spurs still have that flexibility for next summer – just without Simmons. They could have pressured him into signing the qualifying offer or an offer sheet from another team, which might not have come. Instead, they Spurs allowed Simmons, who turns 28 before next season and has spent both his NBA seasons on minimum salaries, to receive his first bigger payday.
Favor? Forceful insistence on maintaining culture by casting out Simmons? Something in between?
Whatever the reason, San Antonio seemingly didn’t try very hard to keep an athletic wing in a league that can’t get enough of them. It’s certainly the type of decision that would draw more scrutiny if not made by a franchise so successful.