Via a tweet from Adrian Wojnarowski, the Spurs decided to use their amnesty provision on Richard Jefferson, this after the Spurs made the choice of re-signing Jefferson in July of last year for $38.8 million over 4 years when he opted out of the final year of his contract (which would have payed him $15 million).
In no way would Richard Jefferson ever be worth this much with other good options at small forward available for the Clippers via free agency, except for two things.
First and most importantly, the fact that the Spurs amnestied Jefferson means that he’s up for auction. The Clippers can put in a bid for him and don’t have to pay his full contract. That’s huge, because paying Richard Jefferson $30 million for the remainder of his contract (3-years counting this season, the final year of his deal being a player-option that he would be unlikely to decline) is not for anyone (hence his being amnestied).
Secondly, Jefferson would fit the role that the Clippers initially envisioned for Ryan Gomes perfectly. Jefferson was among the top 3-point shooters in the NBA last season, shooting 44-percent on 4.8 3-point attempts per game last season. I wouldn’t expect him to hit such a ridiculously high percentage again, but his career average of 36.5-percent is still extremely solid. The Clippers’ main offensive weakness last season was spot-up shooting and turnovers. Adding Jefferson to space the floor helps clean up at least one of those. One main worry, though, would be his defensive success outside of the Spurs system (he wasn’t great on D in his first year with the Spurs, made a jump as his comfort grew last season), especially as he diminishes athletically. However, it isn’t like he’d be any worse than the likes of Gomes.
Other than that, the main question is how big of a bid the Clippers will have to put in to get him. It’s unlikely that Jefferson’s cost would be higher than any available small forward free agents on the market, no matter how many competing teams bid for him against the Clippers. Add in the fact that allowing Ryan Gomes to sit on the bench while paying out the remaining 2 years and $8 million of his contract wouldn’t be too bitter of a pill to swallow to grab up a better fit in Jefferson, as well as the fact that signing Jefferson would help the team avoid overpaying the likes of Caron Butler, and we’ve got a recipe for a pretty palatable option in Jefferson.