The best signing is locking up the best player for the longest time. That’s why the New Orleans Hornets locking up Anthony Davis for at least four years is a brilliant signing. Plus, he signed for the max under the salary cap structure that kicks in next year, so when the cap spikes in 2017 the Pelicans will have room to add help, to put people around Davis. With player-friendly coach Alvin Gentry, New Orleans will become a free agent destination.
I look at my top five signings to start the free agent season, and some of that is just teams just doing the right thing. The Cavaliers locking up Kevin Love. The Spurs securing Kawhi Leonard.
But you also have to love what Toronto did with DeMarre Carroll.
Duncan is 39, and he’s due for significant decline at some point. I think.
He has aged amazingly well. If he maintains close to the level of production he hit last year and the Spurs sign Aldridge, they should contend for a title. Even if Aldridge signs elsewhere, they have a chance.
Kawhi Leonard is phenomenal, and Danny Green is a strong starter. We’ll see where Parker and Manu Ginobili fall in the aging curve, but Gregg Popovich will limit their minutes to maximize their effectiveness. The Spurs always get the most of their role players, too.
No wonder Duncan is returning.
Report: Pistons signing Aron Baynes away from Spurs for up to $20 million over three years
But no matter how you slice it, that’s a lot for Baynes.
Baynes is coming off a career year, averaging 6.6 points and 4.5 rebounds in 16.0 minutes per game. He can make mid-range jumpers, and he rebounds well. He’ll be a solid backup center to Andre Drummond.
But Baynes is already 28 and not very athletic. It’s hard to see much upside. Plus, he probably benefited from the Spurs’ system in ways he won’t in Detroit.
This is an overpay – not a crippling one, but an overpay nonetheless.
Report: Spurs reach deal to trade Tiago Splitter to Hawks, create cap space for LaMarcus Aldridge offer
The Spurs are sending out his $8.5 million will not be taking back any salary in this deal — which, along with their other moves (such as signing Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, and eventually re-signing Tim Duncan at a steep discount) will give them to cap space to offer LaMarcus Aldridge a max contract (they may or may not be able to keep Patty Mills). The Spurs were always considered the front-runner to land Aldridge (with the Lakers close, although their meeting with him may not have gone as well as they thought) and now San Antonio can offer the chance to return to his native Texas and walk right into a serious title contender.
Spurs are walking into the LaMarcus Aldridge meeting right now, armed with Danny Green, cap space and frontrunner status on luring Aldridge.
And when Tim Duncan retires in a year, Aldridge will step into Duncan’s role in the offense.
As for the Hawks, there are moving parts here but this much becomes clear: They need to re-sign Paul Millsap. The Hawks have prioritized bringing Millsap back — he and Al Horford would make a great front court rotation — but Millsap is considering Orlando. With DeMarre Carroll choosing to play in Toronto, the Hawks need to land Millsap or they will have taken a healthy step back this summer.
Report: Kawhi Leonard, Spurs reach deal for five-year, $90 million contract extension
After the San Antonio Spurs presented an offer of a maximum contract extension to his representatives, star forward Kawhi Leonard has agreed to the framework of a five-year deal that could be worth in excess of $90 million, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
“I have every intention of signing with the San Antonio Spurs,” Leonard said in a statement. “There are details in the contract which need to be worked out with the organization. I am confident that this will be accomplished.”
Those details pertain to exactly how big the contract will be based on the finalized numbers, plus any potential opt-outs for Leonard.
Leonard is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year plus has become a central cog of the Spurs offense, averaging 16.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
Don’t expect Leonard to put pen to paper and sign this deal for a little while. The reason is to give the Spurs more financial room to maneuver as they try to land LaMarcus Aldridge and other free agents. Right now Leonard’s cap hold — the space allotted to his next contract on the official team books — is just over $7 million and it will not increase until Leonard actually signs the deal, and it is submitted to the league. The Spurs and Leonard have until late October to do that, so they can take their time and leave the millions of dollars of cap space open to help lure free agents. The Spurs are allowed to exceed the cap to re-sign their own player (Leonard) under the “Bird rights” rules.
Leonard being locked in as part of the future of that franchise — along with having Tony Parker for a few more years, and Gregg Popovich — is going to be attractive to free agents who want to win.