San Antonio Spurs: Richard Jefferson Is a Role Player, but Still Paid as a Star
Richard Jefferson is coming off his worst season since his rookie campaign. The San Antonio Spurs realize that there's nowhere to go but down for the former star
Richard Jefferson, a veteran of 10 NBA seasons, hit an invisible threshold sometime in the summer of 2009. During this time, he transitioned from primary scorer and star to role player.
Jefferson had never scored less than 15.5 points (his second season) until his back to back seasons at 12.3 or lower. There's no visible decline in his shooting ability, though he isn't as spry as he used to be. His shooting percentages are superb and peripheral stats relatively normal.
The big declines have been in minutes played, shot attempts and points. No surprise that those are correlated statistics. With less playing time, Jefferson doesn't have the opportunities to do what he used to.
The Spurs are paying him $30 million over the next three years to essentially be a shooter. That's like paying an employee's salary, then capping his work week at 22 hours.
The rebuilding Spurs should cut as much salary as they can as they transition out of the Duncan Era, because they'll need to add a lot of help to soften the blow of Tim Duncan's departure.
Jefferson the role player is one they should try to move. Jefferson the star is a bargain at his contract. Which one will the Spurs encourage?
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