Continuing our look at San Antonio Spurs free agents ahead of free agency on August 2, today we’ll take a look at Trey Lyles, a player who dropped out of the rotation and spent the year on the disabled list.
After appearing in 63 games and starting 53 of them for the Spurs in the 2019-20 season, Lyles only appeared in 23 games this past season, with his final game action coming on March 24. After that, he was sidelined for the rest of the season due to an ankle injury.
Lyles’ minutes decreased from 20.2 previous season to 15.6 this season in 23 games. He scored five points per game on 1.7 attempts while shooting 35 percent from three and grabbing 3.7 rebounds.
Last year, when Lyles was forced to miss the Spurs’ bubble games due to injury, there was a hint that the team would convert to a more small-ball lineup. That trend continued this season, when the Spurs added Keldon Johnson as a starter and went with four perimeter players and one big in the starting lineup. Lyles would have to come off the bench as a result, but Gay was already receiving plenty of minutes as the backup four.
Contract Projection for Lyles
Lyles, who will turn 26 in November, just finished his sixth NBA season.
According to ProFitX, Lyles produced at the level of a starter for the squad in the 2019-20 season. That season, he outplayed his deal, but this season, with his position reduced and games missed, Lyles played like a second-unit player who didn’t live up to his $5.5 million contract, according to ProFitX.
ProFitX is a dynamic financial and performance index powered by AI, with front-office optics providing 17 visual and time-series models for 480+ NBA players. The Athledex monitors and projects information on contracts, performance, injuries, team fit, development, and potential using historical, dynamic, and future performance data. Follow them on Twitter @ProFitXAI and Instagram (@ProFitXAI).
According to ProFitX’s career outlook AI model, Lyles is expected to produce like a vital reserve during the next two seasons. According to ProFitX, a new contract this offseason may be worth $6.9 million to $10.6 million.
That means a team interested in Lyles will almost certainly use one of their exceptions, such as the $9.5 million non-tax payer exception if they are a non-tax team over the cap, the $5.8 million tax-payer exception if they are a tax team over the cap, or the $4.9 million room exception if they have cap space.
Lyles’ chances of re-signing with San Antonio don’t appear to be particularly good. In March, it was reported that he and his representatives wanted to see if he could be moved to a different squad. When you consider that the Spurs may pursue John Collins, a four-man player, in free agency, and that the team still needs to get Luka Samanic minutes at a similar position, it appears that Lyles will not be returning to San Antonio.
According to ProFitX’s Teamfit AI model, the Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, and Los Angeles Lakers are the four teams that best fit Lyles’ skill set. The mid-level exemption is the maximum those clubs can provide.