Jonathon Simmons

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Report: Spurs never offered Jonathon Simmons contract above qualifying offer


The Spurs extended Jonathon Simmons a $1,671,382 qualifying offer and were reportedly preparing a $9 million-per-year contract offer.

But San Antonio rescinded Simmons’ qualifying offer, and he signed a three-year contract with the Magic.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.

Report: Magic signing Jonathon Simmons to three-year contract

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The Spurs essentially told Jonathon Simmons they were done with him – or at least ready to be done with him – by rescinding his qualifying offer and letting him become an unrestricted free agent.

So, Simmons will go to Orlando.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Magic had about $8 million-$9 million in cap space. I’m guessing Simmons, who turns 28 before the season and has received the minimum his first two NBA seasons, got nearly all of it. A starting salary of $8,406,000 is the demarcation line. Any higher, and Orlando couldn’t have made this offer while Simmons was still restricted.

The Magic are loading up on athleticism – Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, Terrence Ross, Bismack Biyombo, Elfrid Payton and now Simmons. There are a lot of tools for Frank Vogel to craft a nasty defense. (Scoring could remain a problem with a lot on the plate of Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic.)

The Spurs will miss Simmons, as they have no mechanism to replace him. But they knew that when they rescinded his qualifying offer, allowing him to get paid elsewhere. While loading up wings like Simmons appears to be the best way to match up with the Warriors, San Antonio is going a different direction.

Report: Spurs, Jonathon Simmons break off contract discussions

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Why would the Spurs renounce Jonathon Simmons (or even rescind his qualifying offer) while still trying to re-sign him, as reported?

Maybe because they’re not actually trying to re-sign him.

Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News:

This makes more sense.

If they didn’t renounce Simmons, the Spurs could have offered him a starting salary of about $7.9 million. If they didn’t pull his qualifying offer, they also could have matched any offer sheet, which could have included a starting salary up to $8,406,000.

With Simmons renounced, San Antonio can likely offer him just the $3,290,000 bi-annual exception.

The Spurs will likely remain above the cap regardless. So renouncing Simmons and removing mechanisms to re-sign him likely means only one thing: San Antonio is moving on from Simmons.

Plenty of teams could use the athletic wing, but cap space has dried up around the league. He’ll a home, but maybe for not as much money as he could have commanded as an unrestricted free agent earlier in the process.

Report: Spurs allow Jonathon Simmons to become unrestricted free agent

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The Spurs held tremendous leverage over Jonathon Simmons.

He was an Arenas Rule-limited restricted free agent, meaning his starting salary in an offer sheet couldn’t exceed $8,406,000 (though the third and fourth years could be balloon payments up to the max). His qualifying offer was a miniscule $1,671,382, and even if he accepted it, he’d be restricted again next summer (though without Arenas limitations).

Yet, San Antonio reportedly prepared an offer of $9 million annually. Somehow, negotiations have gone awry.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This suggests the Spurs didn’t actually renounce Simmons, but just rescinded his qualifying offer. That’d make him an unrestricted free agent whose Early Bird Rights are still held by San Antonio.

The Spurs have operated as an over-the-cap team and will likely continue to do so. They could carve out $7,693,651 in space, which would also grant the $4,328,000 room exception. But they’d still need to re-sign Manu Ginobili and Pau Gasol with cap room, the room exception and/or minimum contracts. As an over-the-cap team maintaining Ginobili’s Bird Rights and Gasol’s Non-Bird Rights (technically a form of Bird Rights), San Antonio could pay Ginobili up to the max and Gasol up to $18.6 million starting.

In other words, this was probably just a favor to Simmons. It’s hard to see an advantage the Spurs gained by rescinding his qualifying offer.

I’m not even sure why they granted this favor if they still want to sign him themselves. Today is the last day teams can unilaterally withdraw a qualifying offer, but if they’re just trying to help Simmons, it’s not a real deadline. They could always pull the qualifying offer with his consent later.

I strongly doubt San Antonio feared Simmons accepting the qualifying offer – the usual reason for withdrawing it. Simmons returning on a $1,671,382 salary? That’d be great for the Spurs.

Simmons turns 28 before the season, so this could be his only chance at a big payday. He reached the NBA only after paying to participate in an open D-League tryout.

He’s an athletic wing in a league that can’t get enough of them. His defensive awareness is improving, and he can finish above the rim.

I get why the Spurs want to re-sign him. I don’t understand why they pulled his qualifying offer.

Kawhi Leonard out for Spurs in Game 3 Saturday night; Zaza Pachulia out for Warriors


Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich made it official at shootaround Saturday:

Kawhi Leonard is out for game three against the Warriors.

Leonard had been listed as questionable, and there was a sense he would give it a go if at all possible. Pop shot that down, here is his quote via the San Antonio Express-News.

“In the end, I guess it’s my decision,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said at shootaround Saturday. “He’s not thrilled that he’s not playing, but he’s not ready, so we’re not going to play him.”

Jonathon Simmons will start in Leonard’s place. Even though San Antonio is home for this game, it suddenly seems an uphill struggle as the Spurs have not been able to hang close to Golden State since Leonard re-injured his ankle in Game 1 — since that injury, the Spurs have been outscored by 65 points. The Spurs are already down 0-2 in the series and another loss would all but seal their fate.

Missing Leonard is especially bad for the Spurs because they are without Tony Parker, their second best playmaker, with an injury suffered in the last round.

On the other side of the court, Andre Iguodala is listed as probable for Game 3, while the Warriors will be without starting center Zaza Pachulia.