Richard Jefferson's Value

There have been rumors that the Spurs could be shopping Tony Parker.  The Kings have been rumored as a team that could acquire Parker.  This has upset some, but many of us have been very excited about this news.  Then we learned that San Antonio is attempting to package Richard Jefferson in the deal, and many have soured on the idea.

The primary reason is due to Jefferson's remaining contract, which has roughly $30 million remaining over the next 3 seasons, per Sham Sports.  $30 million, rather than $39 million which I've seen mentioned.  $39 million would include his 2010-2011 salary which has already been paid.

$30 million is better than $39, but is still pretty hefty for a guy who has seen his stats decline over the past few years, and is now 30 years old.  But is the contract unreasonable for what you would be getting?  Let's explore.

To determine if Jefferson's contract is outrageous, it seems fair to compare it to those with similar production and circumstances.  For the purpose of this exercise, we'll look at players who are 30 years old or older, play a forward position, grab fewer than 5 rebounds per game, and score between 10 and 15 points per game.  It may not be pretty, but that's what we're dealing with here.  This gives us a pretty specific list

Now we can compare the salaries of these players:

Corey Maggette - $21 million, 2 years
Tayshaun Prince - $11 million, 1 year*
Grant Hill - $3 million, 1 year *
Mike Dunleavy - $10 million, 1 year*
Hedo Turkoglu - $34 million, 3 years
Richard Jefferson - $30 million, 3 years
Al Harrington - $27 million, 4 years

*Prince, Hill, and Dunleavy are all free agents this summer, so I presented their salary for last season. 

From this, we see that Jefferson's contract isn't really out of line compared to similar players, with the exception of Grant Hill, who took less money to stay in Phoenix last summer.  Another noticeable difference is Al Harrington.  This might be the only time during the length of Harrington's contract where he's considered a bargain.

All of these players are on the downside of their careers, but each is still relatively capable of contributing.  Sure, they may be slightly overpaid, but at least the league is pretty consistent.  And it demonstrates that Jefferson is not horribly overpaid compared to similar players.

All in all, Igoudala would be a better SF for this team than Jefferson, but Igoudala also makes more than Jefferson.  In that regard, Jefferson's contract is not out of line at all.  Not to mention that Igoudala would not come with Tony Parker. 

The contract isn't great, but it also isn't as bad as it initially seems.

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