Spurs’ Jef­fer­son takes less money, gets more se­cu­rity

Swing­man agrees to mul­ti­year deal with San An­to­nio

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

SAN AN­TO­NIO — Richard Jef­fer­son was a way over­priced $14 mil­lion swing­man in San An­to­nio last sea­son.

His new deal will likely give the Spurs more for their money.

The Spurs re-signed Jef­fer­son to a mul­ti­year deal Wed­nes­day, nearly a month af­ter the nine-year vet­eran opted out of a guar­an­teed $15.2 mil­lion next sea­son. Terms of his new deal weren’t dis­closed, but Jef­fer­son had been will­ing to give up the fi­nal year of his bloated deal for longer-term se­cu­rity.

“To him, be­ing able to se­cure his fu­ture un­der the cur­rent set of rules that we’re liv­ing un­der, elim­i­nates some un­cer­tainty,” Spurs gen­eral man­ager R.C. Bu­ford said.

Al­though his new salary wasn’t im­me­di­ately known, the Spurs will be pay­ing less for the 30-year-old Jef­fer­son, who was San An­to­nio’s fifth­lead­ing scorer last sea­son while earn­ing a salary sec­ond only to Tim Dun­can.

Jef­fer­son av­er­aged 12.3 points last sea­son — his low­est since his rookie year — while strug­gling to adapt to a new sys­tem. A ca­reer starter, Jef­fer­son came off the bench at one point.

Jef­fer­son was no doubt mo­ti­vated to sign a new deal be­fore the NBA’s col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment ex­pires next sum­mer, which many ex­pect could re­sult in a lock­out.

Jef­fer­son’s re­turn means the Spurs will largely re­main the same team that looked like a dan­ger­ous sleeper in last year’s play­offs be­fore be­ing swept by Phoenix in the West semi­fi­nals.

Their biggest ad­di­tion was Brazil­ian cen­ter Ti­ago Split­ter, San An­to­nio’s her­alded 2007 draft pick who was MVP of the Span­ish League last sea­son.

The Spurs also picked up Ok­la­homa State swing­man James An­der­son in the draft last month.

Else­where ...

The Ok­la­homa City Thun­der signed free agent Royal Ivey to add depth to their back­court. The 6-foot-4-inch guard from the Uni­ver­sity of Texas has av­er­aged 3.6 points in six NBA sea­sons with At­lanta, Mil­wau­kee and Philadel­phia.

Dell Demps, who for the past five years was di­rec­tor of player per­son­nel in San An­to­nio un­der Spurs gen­eral man­ager R.C. Bu­ford, was hired as GM by the New Or­leans Hor­nets.

The United States has lost an­other big man, as David Lee will miss the world cham­pi­onships be­cause of an in­jured mid­dle fin­ger on his right hand. The Amer­i­cans al­ready are missing Amare Stoudemire and Robin Lopez, who were forced to pull out Tues­day.

The Trail Blaz­ers have signed shoot­ing guard Wes­ley Matthews af­ter the Utah Jazz de­clined to meet Port­land’s five-year, $34 mil­lion of­fer for the re­stricted free agent.

Mike Fuentes

Richard Jef­fer­son, right, made $14 mil­lion last sea­son but was worth far less with his av­er­age of just 12.3 points per game.

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