Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick reports that the Spurs have re-signed Danny Green to a 3-year, $12 million contract with all 3 years fully guaranteed. PATFO have made their first move of this off-season and it was a good one. Follow me after the jump to figure out why.
These are the questions and thoughts I imagine some Spurs fans have on their minds right now:
I'm disappointed. I wanted the Spurs to go for a big-time free agent, not re-sign Green.
Contrary to popular belief, the Spurs didn't have a lot of cap room to work with this off-season. They were $9 million below the cap without accounting for Duncan's new salary, and they couldn't use that space until they re-signed or renounced Timmy because of his cap hold. They couldn't get a big time free agent unless they were really creative. Getting a productive young player for what's a below average salary is a great move by the Spurs
Does this affect the Spurs' chances of getting Boris Diaw or any other free agent?
With Green's new deal, the Spurs are still under the cap by about $5 million. Duncan's salary will surely put them above the cap, where they will have the full MLE to spend on Boris Diaw or some other free agent, unless Tim's contract pays him more than $15 million the first year (highly unlikely). The full MLE pays $15 million over 3 years, which sounds about right in terms of compensation for what Boris Diaw provides.
Is Green worth that much money?
Yes, he is. I'll show you the per 36 minutes stats from two players.
Pretty even, right? Player 1 shoots more from 2 and gets a better field goal percentage while also getting to the line more, but Player 2 shoots better from 3 while shooting more, assists a little bit better, and is equally good rebounding the ball and making plays on defense.
Player 1 is Nicolas Batum, who is reportedly signing a $12 million a year offer sheet from the Wolves. Player 2 is, of course, Danny Green. Their advanced stats are pretty similar as well. Considering Danny will get paid three times less, I'd call it a good deal.
If you prefer to compare Green's deal to those signed by similar players in the past, we have this nice little table courtesy of timvp from SpursTalk.
It's pretty clear Danny Green deserved that contract but, more importantly, it's clear he was going to get it from someone else if the Spurs didn't offer it to him.
Can he maintain that production?
The excellent 3-point shooting might be an statistical aberration, but the rest of his production should be maintainable. Green plays all-out when he's on the court and takes pride on his defense, which leads me to believe he will earn every dollar of that contract. Ideally, Green will continue to shoot over .400 from 3, but even if he doesn't, his contract would be reasonable and it wouldn't be crazy to suggest he might improve in other areas.
But he disappeared in the Conference Finals!
Get out of here with that. It was his first playoffs as a pro, playing against a fantastic team and without having the full trust of his coach yet. Pop reduced Green's role on that series because he was missing shots, yet his defense was solid. He has to work on being more consistent with his shot and with not letting his offense dictate his focus on defense, but Green was a good player all season long and in the first two playoff series, a pleasant surprise not a lot of us were expecting. He's also healthy and durable enough to sop up minutes and allow Manu to rest and can guard three positions. A single series does not a career make, and Danny is aware that he failed to come up big and wants another shot.
How does this contract affect future salary cap flexibility?
Not a lot, really. It's a perfectly movable contract, so the Spurs won't be "stuck" with Green unless he regresses significantly. The new contract eats up some of the cap space the Spurs were supposed to have next off-season, but it's better to have a solid, young player like Green under contract than having cap space; after all, San Antonio is not a popular free agent destination and that's not going to change as Tim, Manu and Tony get older.
The Spurs are reportedly working out the kinks with Nando De Colo's agent to bring the French combo guard over for next season. With Green and possibly De Colo signed, the Spurs should be able to focus on getting a big man, since they are covered in terms of guards and wings. They'll have the bi-annual exception and the mid-level exception to work with. Assuming De Colo signs for the bi-annual exception ($4 million over 2 years), they can offer a 3 year, $15 million contract to the big of their choice, be it Diaw or someone else.
So that pretty much covers it. The Spurs re-signed 24-year-old Danny Green to a completely reasonable contract: not too short, not too long and certainly not too pricey. Now they can focus on ironing out the details on Duncan's contract and bringing back or replacing Boris Diaw.
Welcome back Danny!