What was Richard Jefferson thinking?

Apr. 14, 2010: San Antonio Spurs forward Richard Jefferson during an NBA game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX Dallas defeated San Antonio 96-89.

Jeff McDonald and Chris Mannix have some news/rumors about Richard Jefferson.

Jeff McDonald: FWIW, source close to the process sets odds of Jefferson returning to SA at 95 percent.

Chris Mannix: Contrary to some reports, Richard Jefferson does not have any kind of deal in place with Spurs to return for more years at lesser salary.

Chris Mannix: I’m told Jefferson is open to returning to SA but his first priority is a long term deal at the best annual salary he can get.

Jefferson raised more than a few eyebrows when he opted out of the final year of his contract with the Spurs (at the tune of $15.2 million) in order to become a free agent and secure a long-term deal. He overestimated the market for the services of a 30-year-old swingman who averaged 12-4-2 and shot 32% from long range.

The Clippers are reportedly interested, but McDonald seems pretty sure that he’s headed back to San Antonio, which is curious because Jefferson has said in the past that the Spurs’ offense does not showcase his abilities. Maybe he doesn’t care if he has a long-term deal in place. Jefferson’s market seems to be about three or four years at the mid-level ($18-$24 million total), which makes one wonder why he’d leave a one-year payday of $15 million on the table.

At this point, he might as well play for the Heat at the veteran’s minimum. At least that way he can say he opted out for the chance to win a ring instead of looking foolish for overestimating his value.

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