The San Antonio Spurs have locked up a young core player as they set to embark on an extensive rebuild, reportedly agreeing to a four-year, $80million extension with wing Keldon Johnson to tie him to the franchise through the 2026-27 season.
Johnson’s agents, Rich Paul and Lucas Newton of Klutch Sports, confirmed the agreement to The Athletic on Friday night.
Coming off a breakout 2021-22 campaign in which he averaged 17 points and 6.1 rebounds per game while shooting nearly 40 per cent from 3-point range, Johnson was entering the final year of his rookie contract. The 22-year-old was selected by San Antonio in the first round (29th overall) of the 2019 NBA Draft, and started a team-high 74 games this past season.
Johnson will enter the upcoming season as the Spurs’ leading returning scorer after the team traded All-Star point guard Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks in a deal that netted San Antonio three future first-round choices, as well as the option to swap first-round picks in 2026.
The Murray deal was the first indicator the Spurs would be undertaking a roster overhaul after missing the playoffs for a third consecutive season in 2021-22, and with Murray gone, Doug McDermott had the most expensive contract on the team's books at $13m for each of the next two seasons.
Keldon Johnson led the way with 28 PTS— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) April 4, 2022
He has now scored 20+ points in 6 straight games. There is only one player with a longer streak at 22 years old or younger in Spurs history, Tim Duncan! pic.twitter.com/afqcrySz23
With plenty of cap space and a requirement for each team to spend at least 90 per cent of the total cap ($123m for the 2022-23 season), Johnson's deal was a no-brainer, locking him up as a valuable, tradable asset at the very least if they do not view him as a part of their rebuild.
Prior to the Spurs' three-year postseason drought, they reached the postseason 22 straight times – tied for the longest streak in NBA history – and won five league titles under longtime coach Gregg Popovich during that span.
Johnson, who has averaged 14.4 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 38.5 per cent from 3-point range in 161 career games, now heads a youthful roster that includes three first-round selections from the 2022 draft.
The Spurs selected versatile Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan with the ninth overall pick, before later adding Ohio State guard Malaki Branham (20th pick) and Notre Dame guard Blake Wesley (25th pick).