Deshaun Thomas – the No. 58 pick in the 2013 NBA draft – has played overseas since the Spurs picked him. He has rejected their required tender – a one-year contract, surely unguaranteed at the minimum – the last two years to allow San Antonio to keep his rights.
That was going to change if the Spurs offered him the tender again this season.
Well, they apparently did.
Thomas will face a difficult time making the Spurs’ regular-season roster. They have 13 players with guaranteed salaries plus Matt Bonner ($749,594 guaranteed), Jimmer Fredette ($507,711 guaranteed) and Reggie Williams (unguaranteed).
But if Thomas accepts the tender and gets waived, he’ll become an NBA free agent. No longer stuck bargaining exclusively with San Antonio, he’d be better off.
If the Spurs waive him, they could assign his D-League rights to their affiliate, the Austin Spurs. Thomas could join Austin on a D-League salary or return overseas, presumably for more money. Either way, he’d be free to sign with any NBA team (though the D-League would allow him out of his contract to do so; a foreign team probably wouldn’t).
Of course, Thomas could make the Spurs’ regular-season roster. That’s obviously the best outcome for him. But he’ll face an uphill battle in training camp to do that – if he follows through on his initial plan of accepting the tender.