If 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.