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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    The Alamo

    Examining kawhi leonardís upcoming payday

    Are you enjoying the San Antonio Spursí current 19-game winning streak? Of course you are.

    The Spurs have the best record in the NBA by four games with only seven left to play. I bet you wish we could just fast forward to the Western Conference Finals right now. Because, honestly, are you scared of any team in the NBA at this point?

    But letís look beyond that. Fast forward through the draft and Adam Silver struggling to pronounce some European prospectís name, that the Spurs just picked up with the 30th pick in the 1st round. Fast forward through this summerís free agency, where the Spurs are rumored to be in the running to sign LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, but end up grabbing some bench guy youíve never heard of, who played for the Detroit Pistons.

    Itís the Summer of 2015. And Kawhi Leonard decides not to accept the Spurs $4 million qualifying offer, becoming a restricted free agent.


    Currently, the Spurs have $8.5 million committed in salary to the 2015-16 season, all going straight to Tiagoís bankroll. Also, for ďfunĒ, letís accept the depressing reality that Tim and Manu wonít be around anymore. Donít worry about the rest of the roster, it will fill itself out. Your priority is to resign Kawhi Leonard. Does the 2011 1st round pick get a max deal?

    Leonard has improved himself in nearly every single statistical category each year, minus his free throw shooting this season. The 12.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game on 52% field goal shooting, will all be new career highs. And heís doing that while only playing 29 minutes a game, two minutes per game less than last season. The only real concerns about his ability at this point are: A) How much of the offense can he shoulder on his own, and B) His health.

    Popovich has made it clear that he envisions Leonard as a Spur for life, and that Kawhi is one of his favorite playersÖeerily similar to comments Pop used to make about George Hill. But when it came time for Hill to cash out, he was immediately traded to Indiana, and is now Larry Birdís $8 million a year problem.

    Donít get me wrong. The trade initially benefited everyone involved. But down the line, how much is too much for Kawhi? R.C. Buford and company are so financially responsible, they have prime Tony Parker making $12.5 million a year, while the aging Kobe Bryant deposited over $30 million this year alone, for six games played.

    But itís too soon to tell where Kawhiís value lies. Even if the Spurs overpaid him, it wouldnít be the worst thing in the world to try and build around him. San Antonioís cap situation in 2015 will allow them to pay the would be 24-year-old Leonard whatever they please. Kawhi Leonard is a blue chip stock. They just need to find the perfect pink sheet stocks to build around him. (Reference Wolf of Wall Street: Check.)

    It all depends on if Kawhi gets his advice from Jay Z lyrics. Would you rather be underpaid or overrated?

    'Coach, we've got an issue with Kawhi in the arena. Event management called and the lights are not on, and Kawhi's in the arena for two straight days at 6:30 in the morning. And he brought two lamps from home, and he put them up in the arena and shot.'


    (During NBA lockout)

    "No flash, No gimmicks. It's the quiet guys you should fear."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Goshen, IN
    First question: why would the Spurs be rumored to get Lebron or Carmelo? They don't have the money and neither player would have any interest. Not to mention the fact that in reality, they are similar players to Leonard.

    Second question: how is Hill and 8 million problem? I don't know if he is quite worth that price but at the same time he brings value to that team. The spurs didn't trade him because he wasn't worth 8 mil, they traded him because they saw leonard as both a better potential and at a position that they were thin. You can't pay Tony and Hill 20+mil and hope they will run the league. (It's why I think GS will not keep Thompson)

    Is Leonard top money? Absolutely. Parker and Splitter will not get that money. So there is no one else on the roster to get that money. So even if we want to 'steal' someone else, we still have the money. Since I am not in their gym everyday, it is hard for me to say what his potential is, but I am sure the spurs FO have a great idea of how much offensive load he can carry.

    And while I feel like Leonard deserves the money, here are the two options that I see most likely.
    1. The Spurs give Leonard a sweet extension and while not the max it pays him well and he never hits FA. This would be a good faith deal and allowing themselves the opportunity to see if he grows into a max player.
    2. The Spurs let the market dictate Leonard's price and then match. While a little less sincere, this possibly helps the spurs save money.

    Actually the worst case scenario is that Leonard does sign the qualifying offer. Because this means that we only get him for one more year. Then he becomes unrestricted and he has the chance to walk no matter what we offer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Goshen, IN
    Coming back to this now that Leonard's figurative trophy shelf has just added two new alcolades. Many commentaters are talking about Leonards upcoming payday. As in coming up within the next 6 months. This is because he is now able to negotiate a new deal. While it is possible, I am struggling to understand why it would be logical. Signing Leonard to a large deal now adds to our payroll for next year and takes away even more money before we know what the market is like for 2015. I still believe that the spurs let Leonard head to restricted FA and then either sign any offer he gets or offers him a slightly better deal than what the market is offering. Either way, it allows us to head into FA this year and next as players for some of the guys that might be out there.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    San Antonio

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