San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter is having his best season overall since joining the team. In his third season, he is averaging 10.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, shooting 73% from the free throw line and 57% from the field this season.
He has definitely come a long way since his rookie season and is now an integral part of the Spurs this season.
In an interview with Brazilian site Estado.com, Splitter opened up about his successful season, the NBA title, his impending free agency and more.
Splitter is in his final contract year and will be a free agent after this season. With his improved performance, he can expect a nice pay day from the Spurs or any other team that wants to add him to their roster. But he will be weighing his options until the end of the season.
I spoke to my agent that I wanted to take a break, and not think about it during the season, and wait for the end of the season to see what are my options, what's best for me. But surely, I am very well here in San Antonio. I will look at all of my options.
I'm thinking about the next game. We have a long way to go until then, but of course it would be nice to have an NBA title.
Tiago has been a nice compliment to Tim Duncan this season in the paint. The two form a formidable one-two punch and Splitter attributes it to simply learning from each other each day.
We understand and we are a good complement to each other in the paint. We learn more every day. The moves are working, I hope it stays that way and we have a good playoff run.
Heading into the NBA, some though Splitter would be the immediate-impact type player in the post for the Spurs but in the end, it didn't happen. However, he is now a starter for the Spurs and says it was just a matter of time for him.
San Antonio is a competitive team and is always contending for the title, so they don't have time to train a rookie. They need players to play well from the start. What they did to me was to just put me in their system. The second year was been better than the first and in the third I'm feeling better, I adapted and things are great for me.
So what do you have to say Spurs fans? Put on your GM hat and how much are you going to offer Splitter to keep him in black and silver and for how long?
Not sure what Splitter value is worth since he has improved each season and is in the Spurs system. On the open NBA market, his numbers will be depreciated because he is in the Spurs system, thats how good of coach Pop is. The same numbers with another team is worth more on the open NBA market. But what he does in the next three games against Clippers, Miami, Memphis and on the road in the playoffs will go along way in deepening his pockets. Playing in regular season at home (good game vs Denver last night) vs the playoffs are two diffierent things. If he disappears in this years playoffs like he did against OKC, then he would only be worth 5M-6M a year for 3 or 4 years. Now if he exceeds his season avg in the playoffs and Spurs win, I could see giving him 7M-8M a year tops tfor 3 or 4 years, but at this time he is not a 10M a year player.
Well I suppose this is just the opening salvo in the Splitter FA that I think will be more interesting/contentious than everyone else is predicting. Tiago's statements here are justifiably diplomatic: he wants to get paid but at the same time not cause a distraction on the team. I respect him doing this, but I can't help but believe that these sentiments point to Tiago testing his value in the FA market. It's gonna be a doozy.
I think that Tiago's maximum value would probably fetch around a 4 year, $50 mil, given the right team that was willing to overpay. This would be devastating to us b/c I think our FO will only be willing to pay Tiago 4 years, $40 mil with a team option at most. So, if Tiago and his agent really want to turn the heat up, they could put us in a real bind.
It's clear that we want Tiago Splitter to be the future big man of SA. The question is, how much are we willing to pay/how much is Tiago going to want? I am praying that he will follow the examples set before him, and take some type of a pay reduction a la Timmy D, Tony Parker, and most likely, Manu this summer. I just don't know. If the past is any indicator, it doesn't bode well for us (remember Tiago choosing to remain in Spain instead of signing with us because of the money difference?). It will be interesting to see how much info comes out of Tiago's signing this summer given the Spurs' usual FO secrecy. However, I believe that behind closed doors there is going to be some intense discussions. I just hope we don't have our own James Harden situation unfold this summer...
@CraigThomas Great take. See the thing is team covet bigs. I am worried a team will back load a deal the way the Rockets did for Asik.
@JeffProjectSpurs As am I. Asik's payday was unbelievable given his lack of any sort of offensive skills. Comparatively, Tiago would be massively overvalued if another team did the same thing.
You know, I can't blame the guy, but I sure hope he resigns with us. He is finally clicking in the system and I would hate for that effort of training and learning to be wasted as he walks away. Quality big men are hard to come by so I expect we will pay to keep him. As a rookie contract do we have Bird Rights on him?