The Spurs had an uncharacteristically busy trade deadline this year, and it was made abundantly clear that they are officially in asset-collecting mode. With Thaddeus Young, Juancho Hernangomez and Drew Eubanks mostly out of the Spurs’ rotation, the only impact player traded was Derrick White. One could argue for weeks whether or not the Spurs were smart to move on from White this early into his new contract, but that’s not the purpose of this article. Instead, I want to focus on how these trades impact the Spurs’ future from a salary cap and roster perspective.
Salary cap implications
Trading Hernangomez for Tomas Satoransky has no salary cap implications on the Spurs moving forward as Satoransky will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and Hernangomez’s contract would have been fully non-guaranteed next season had he remained with the team after the deadline.
Same thing goes for the Spurs trading Young and Eubanks for Goran Dragic. Dragic will be an unrestricted free agent and will most likely be bought out in the coming days. Young would have been an unrestricted free agent and Eubanks’ contract was fully non-guaranteed next season.
The only trade that impacts the salary cap moving forward is White for Josh Richardson and Romeo Langford, but it’s mostly a wash next season. White will be making roughly $16.4 million whereas Richardson will have a salary of $12.2 million and Langford will have a salary of $5.6 million, which totals $17.8 million.
The biggest impact from a salary cap perspective starts in the 2023 offseason when Richardson (unrestricted) and Langford (restricted) become free agents. White is guaranteed $17.6 million in 2023-2024 and $18.8 million in 2024-2025. Coincidentally or not, the Spurs have four major pieces on their roster hitting free agency during that span: Keldon Johnson (restricted) and Jakob Poeltl (unrestricted) in the 2023 offseason and Dejounte Murray (unrestricted) and Devin Vassell (restricted) in the 2024 offseason. Moving on from White’s contract will give the Spurs a bit more flexibility during those negotiations.
Here’s what the Spurs’ roster will look like heading into the offseason:
- Dejounte Murray - $16.5 million
- Doug McDermott - $13.75 million
- Josh Richardson - $12.2 million
- Jakob Poeltl - $9.4 million
- Romeo Langford - $5.6 million
- Devin Vassell - $4.4 million
- Josh Primo - $4.1 million
- Keldon Johnson - $3.9 million
Partially Guaranteed Contracts
- Zach Collins - $7.4 million ($3.7 million guaranteed)
- Keita Bates-Diop - $1.9 million
- Tre Jones - $1.8 million
- Jock Landale - $1.6 million
The Spurs will start the offseason with 8 guaranteed contracts, 1 partially guaranteed contract, and 3 non-guaranteed contracts. Their total guaranteed salary is $73.55 million (including the 8 fully guaranteed contracts and the guaranteed portion of Collins’ contract). Their total salary could be as high as $82.55 million if they guarantee all of the above contracts.
In addition to those 12 contracts, the Spurs will have cap holds on Satoransky ($19 million), Lonnie Walker IV ($13.4 million), Joe Wieskamp ($1.6 million), and Devontae Cacok ($1.6 million). Those holds will be added to the overall team salary until the player is either re-signed or the team renounces their rights. Satoransky and Walker will most likely make less than their respective cap holds, so the Spurs will either re-sign them or renounce their rights instead of using their cap hold.
The Spurs will also have cap holds for each of the 1st round draft picks that they own in the 2022 draft, which right now is the 6th, 18th, and 20th picks. Those three cap holds would total somewhere around $12 million.
Suffice it to say, the Spurs will have plenty of financial and roster flexibility this summer. To put things into perspective, if the Spurs were to guarantee all four of the partially/non-guaranteed contracts and make all three of their first round selections, they would only have around $95 million in total salary with a full 15-player roster. That amount would be around $26 million under the projected salary cap of $121 million and miles below the projected tax level of $147 million. Something will have to give, and it’ll be interesting to see what the Spurs’ plan is for rebuilding this roster.