Spurs' Dejounte Murray agrees to four-year, $64 million contract extension, per report
Murray's deal can reach $70 million with incentives
The San Antonio Spurs have always prioritized continuity and chemistry, but they took it to another level on Monday.
Fourth-year guard Dejounte Murray tore his ACL before last season began. He missed the entire year, and second-year prospect Derrick White thrived in his place. With DeMar DeRozan entrenched on the perimeter, Murray's role with the Spurs for the long haul was in question. Those questions have now been answered.
Before even seeing him play in a regular-season game following his injury, the Spurs have locked Murray into a four-year, $64 million contract extension, which can reach $70 million with incentives, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. In addition, Charania reported that Murray has signed a multi-million dollar shoe contract with New Balance, capping off a big day for the young guard.
Murray's deal is fully guaranteed, showing a tremendous amount of faith in spite of his injury. His play during the 2017-18 season justifies that faith, though. He was a member of the All-Defensive Second Team that year while averaging 8.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
Murray's primary weakness has always been as a shooter, but there was optimism about his shot prior to his injury. The Spurs employ arguably the best shooting coach in basketball, as Chip Engelland has helped a number of players become far better shooters than anyone expected. Kawhi Leonard made only 25 percent of his 3-point attempts in college, but he is now one of the NBA's better shooters thanks to Engelland. The Spurs hope that Murray can enjoy the same improvement.
If he does, and he manages to stay healthy, this deal will turn into a bargain. If not, he and White still give San Antonio one of the best defensive backcourts in the NBA. With DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge at the forward spots, having excellent defense from both guards is going to be absolutely critical this season. After finishing near the bottom of the league in defense last season, Murray is their best hope at bouncing back this year.
There is no telling what kind of player Murray will be a year removed from knee surgery, but the Spurs have enough faith in him to lock him up early. That says quite a bit about Murray as a player and the Spurs as an organization. If any team is equipped to get Murray back up to full strength, it is the Spurs.