Spurs’ Jefferson takes less money, gets more security
Swingman agrees to multiyear deal with San Antonio
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.
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.
Richard Jefferson, right, made $14 million last season but was worth far less with his average of just 12.3 points per game.