Spurs guard Derrick White quietly flourished in the 2019 playoffs then quietly flourished in the 2020 seeding games.
Before White has a chance for a louder breakout, San Antonio is signing him to a big contract extension.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
An $18-million-plus annual salary is quite expensive for White. But at age 26, he sits in the sweet spot of being able to help both young growing teams and older ready-to-win teams. He would’ve drawn significant interest in restricted free agency.
Though they’ll still have considerable cap space next summer, the Spurs accepted an opportunity cost by signing White now rather than re-signing him as a restricted free agent. They could have held White at just $10,548,852, used their cap space then exceeded the salary cap to re-sign him through Bird Rights next summer.
Now, he’ll count against the cap at his 2021-22 salary (at least $16,294,643) all of next offseason.
But San Antonio secures a productive player – at least when healthy.
White remains sidelined with a toe injury suffered in the bubble. But the Spurs just gave Dejounte Murray a big contract extension coming off a torn ACL. It would’ve been difficult for them to hold a hard line with White after that.
Murray and White could form San Antonio’s long-term backcourt… or not really fit well together. The Spurs foolishly didn’t play those two together enough last season to have more information.
But both are locked in and fairly expensive. So, San Antonio must hope for the best.
Maybe, with Lonnie Walker up for an extension next year, the Spurs will play their young core together more this season and learn more about it.