The 2019-20 NBA season was suspended earlier this month due to the COVID-19 outbreak around the world. When the games will resume remains unclear, leaving teams in limbo until the pandemic simmers.
The San Antonio Spurs were on the outside of the playoff mix, and if the last of the regular season games already happened, attention will move to the 2020 off-season. Franchise-altering decisions are ahead, including a situation with the team’s premier backcourt player.
Much of the roster is likely set for next year, too, given all the payroll’s guaranteed salaries. Who among them is under contract? Which will hit the open market in the off-season? Let’s take a look:
LaMarcus Aldridge: After guaranteeing his entire 2020-21 salary, Aldridge will remain on the books for $24 million in the final year of his contract. For veteran production and stability at the top, this is the Spurs’ only guaranteed option, unless they find a taker in the off-season for his age-35 money.
Dejounte Murray: Murray re-upped with San Antonio for four years, and the deal does not begin until the start of 2020-21. With $64 million ahead, the Spurs have someone locked into the backcourt, but with more offensive improvement needed as he separates himself from the October 2018 torn ACL.
Rudy Gay: Making $14 million in the final season of his two-year pact, Gay is coming off a down 2019-20, most of which came off the bench. He will be 34 years old next season and the days of being a team’s top two or three contributors are probably over. If San Antonio is out of the playoff mix again, a buyout to join a contender’s bench makes sense, given the low trade value on his current salary.
Patty Mills: The longest-tenured Spur has one year and $13.28 million left. He remains a steady bench presence, especially as one of the team’s few, prolific 3-point shooters.
Derrick White: The Colorado product enters the final season of his rookie-scale contract with a potential extension ahead. The window for this to happen usually closes in October, but with everything uncertain right now, that clock won’t start ticking for a while. Either way, his $3.51 million salary is more than reasonable.
Lonnie Walker: 2019-20 was middling at times for Walker, who flashed in spurts but struggled to gain coach Gregg Popovichs full confidence. That started to wear off in the second half of the season, and the 2018 first-round pick should see a greater role in the final two years of his rookie-scale deal, starting at $2.89 million in 2020-21.
Luka Samanic: With just one NBA game, the No. 19 pick of the most recent draft is still an unknown commodity. Grander opportunities should arrive after his “redshirt” season, though, at $2.82 million.
Keldon Johnson: Johnson only had nine NBA appearances, but the last four happened before the season was suspended. There is potential as a wing contributor, and the Kentucky product, like other previous draft picks, has a bright future in the rotation.
DeMar DeRozan: A complex decision is ahead for DeRozan’s $27.7 million next season. He either takes the money amid a potential salary cap decrease and plays for a long-term deal, or he takes his chances as one of 2020’s top free agents. There is both scenarios.
Non-guaranteed Contracts For 2020-21
Trey Lyles: A non-guaranteed $5.5 million is Lyles’ situation for next season. He was a steady contributor for the Spurs, but either team decision would not be surprising for the frontcourt role-player.
Chimezie Metu: After two seasons of minimal production, Metu is a candidate to have his $1.66 million declined, thus clearing some space for flexibility.
Jakob Poeltl (RFA): Poeltl had two years to audition with the Spurs. So far, he’s settled into a reserve role while occasionally starting. Perhaps another team sees enough interest in making the Austrian center a full-time starter, leaving San Antonio with a decision to match an offer sheet if a qualifying offer is extended.
Marco Belinelli: Younger Spurs are waiting to take heavier backcourt roles, leaving Belinelli to walk in free agency—unless he takes a reduced salary and role.
Bryn Forbes: While a defensive liability, Forbes was still a standout 3-point shooter; it was not at his 2019-20 levels, but he is still a necessity for one of the NBA’s most infrequent long-distance units. Another short-term deal makes sense, but at a higher rate than $2.87 million.