The San Antonio Spurs locked up a player who they hope will be a big part of their future. Devin Vassell, the 11th overall selection in the 2020 NBA Draft, signed a five-year, $146 million extension with the Spurs that will keep him under contract in San Antonio until the 2028-2029 season.
According to Hoopshype, the deal has $135 million in guaranteed money and $11 million in possible bonuses. The fifth season also doesn’t have a player option, which is a plus for the Spurs.
Devin Vassell’s extension was a solid deal from San Antonio’s perspective. It’s not the no-brainer extension that Keldon Johnson (four-year, $74 million), Dejounte Murray (four-year, $64 million) or Derrick White (four-year, $73 million) received — but it’s definitely a reasonable contract.
The dollar amount for Vassell’s extension may look gaudy but it represents less than 20% of the salary cap in the first year. By the 2028-2029 season, Vassell’s projected salary could account for less than 15% of the cap.
Vassell is a 23-year-old who has seen his scoring average climb from 5.5 points per game in his rookie season and 12.3 points in his sophomore season to 18.5 points in his third year in the league. His ability to spread the court with his high-release three-point stroke should be a perfect fit as the Spurs begin to customize a roster around Victor Wembanyama.
In addition to hitting spot-up threes, Vassell has grown as a self-creator off the dribble and even popped as a distributor at times last season. His steady and continued growth offensively provides hope that he still has another level or two he can reach on that end of the court.
Defensively, Vassell has the tools to be elite. He’s long, athletic and has fantastic anticipation. His basketball IQ shines brightest on the defensive end and he has the grit to eventually thrive as a perimeter stopper.
This extension doesn’t come without risk for the Spurs, however. First of all, it’s concerning that Vassell only played 38 games last season due to a knee injury that ultimately required surgery. After sitting out January and February, he wasn’t nearly as impactful when he returned in March.
Offensively, despite his scoring improvements, Vassell’s shooting efficiency has been below league average in each of his three campaigns. Defensively, while he was stout in his first two years in the NBA, he slacked off on that end last season (along with virtually everyone else on the team, to be fair).
That said, the Spurs are betting on Vassell to continue to improve. San Antonio is obviously comfortable with the status of his knee and believe his defensive focus will return following last season’s hiatus. The franchise has watched him work this summer and trust the fit offensively and trust his ability to improve as a scorer.
As it stands, Vassell is a starting level player in the NBA. If he remains a player best described as an adequate starter, this would be any okay-ish deal for San Antonio. However, if Vassell improves to the point that he becomes an above average starter, this five-year, $146 million contract extension will be a big win for the Spurs.