In a Q&A with Spurs.com, San Antonio Spurs' Tiago Splitter opened up on his thoughts on how the Spurs season ended, what he has been focusing on during the off-season, and more.
Splitter on his off-season workouts:
I'm working out a lot with shooting coach Chip Engelland and the strength and conditioning coaches to get ready for the next season.
Splitter's plans for the rest of the off-season:
I have playing with the Brazilian national team in my schedule if they can find insurance that will cover NBA players.
Splitter's thoughts on how the Spurs season ended:
I think our team didn’t deserve to finish like that. We did a great job in the regular season, but we need to think about how we can improve for next year. Everybody knows what we need to do. Each player knows what he needs to do to improve and that’s what I’m trying to do.
Other aspects of his game Splitter is focusing on:
My shooting. I’ve been working a lot on new mechanics and trying to find my best shot.
Great to hear Splitter is not wasting time in the off-season to improve. Should he develop a consistant outside shot, that would do wonders for the Spurs.
Personally, I'd like him to contribute more on the boards. This past season, the 6'11" big man averaged 3.4 rebounds. Granted he averaged that in 12.3 minutes per game but he needs to bring that up.
Hopefully all this off-season work will pay off for him next season after going through a turbulent rookie season with the Spurs.
Click HERE to read the complete Q&A.
In a Q&A with Spurs.com, San Antonio Spurs' Tiago Splitter opened up on his thoughts on how the Spurs season ended, what he has been focusing on during the off-season, and more.
This was an expensive season for the San Antonio Spurs. At just over $69 million, the Spurs shelled out enough to put them in the top fifteen highest paid teams in the NBA. With many questions surrounding the team after a disappointing early exit from the playoffs, many are wondering what changes the team can make in the off-season to complete one last run as the Tim Duncan era gets smaller in the window. The answer to that question may rely on the answer to another question: what can the Spurs afford?
For 2011-2012, the Spurs have nearly all of the current team under contract, and will cut loose a lot of dead weight contracts on players that have been traded or released. Most everyone stands to make substantial raises, and even with eight fewer contracts on the books, the team's payroll is likely to balloon to over $75 million, catapulting the team into the top ten of the league's payrolls.
Tim has an early termination option that the team is likely to exercise for what may bring his illustrious career to an end once next season is over. If the team exercises the option, Mr. Duncan will see a cool $3 million raise next season, topping out somewhere north of $21 million. Drinks are on Tim next time.
Tony Parker's re-signing in the fall was much publicized as he remains under contract for the next four seasons, though trade speculation has and will continue to surround his future as a Spur. Manu Ginobili as well is locked down for next season and the season after. While most expect that Antonio McDyess plans to hang up his sneakers, he has one more year unguaranteed on his contract should he seek one last swan song. To the chagrin of fans everywhere, Richard Jefferson will return as the fourth highest paid player on the team at over $9 million, though he is worth every only a penny.
Tiago Splitter, DeJuan Blair, Matt Bonner, James Anderson, George Hill, Gary Neal, Danny Green, and Da'Sean Butler are also signed on for next season as well.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio Spurs Vice President of Basketball Operations Danny Ferry, is one of the top candidates to replace Rich Cho as General Manager in Portland.
The Blazers surprised many when they fired highly-touted GM, and former Spurs scout, Kevin Pritchard.
Pritchard's replacement, Cho, was fired on Monday after being with the franchise for less than a year, because he "didn't fit."
If anyone can get the Blazers back on the right track, it would be Ferry, but would the pay raise and promotion be enough for Ferry to consider working for Paul Allen and Larry Miller.
Allen said his firing of Cho was part of the franchise's commitment to building the Blazers into a championship contender.
Many considered the Blazers an up-and-coming team that could be a championship contender while Pritchard was GM, and even Cho pulled off an excellent trade, bringing Gerald Wallace to Portland. From an outsider's perspective, any shortcomings by the Blazers are due to bad decision making on the part of the owner and instability in the front office.
As John Karalis said on Crossover Chronicles on Monday, the Blazers may have a challenge ahead of them in bringing in a top-notch GM.
Portland has gone from "hot, up-and-coming team" to "potential laughingstock" in a matter of a couple of seasons. Portland's rise has been stunted once. Who knows if Cho could have kept the momentum going, but the Wallace move was a great start. But now no GM worth his salt will want to run the Blazers because he'll know he's not really running the team.
If Allen and Miller are able to bring Ferry aboard, it would be a huge loss to both the Spurs and Austin Toros front office.
But just as several current and former Spurs personnel have been mentioned as top candidates for openings, it's not a surprise at all to see Ferry being considered for another GM job.
According to csnbayarea.com, former San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Mike Brown will be named head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers:
Brown, the former coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, will be named the new coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, according to two league sources.
If true, Brown will have some pretty large shoes to fill with Phil Jackson retiring from the NBA. However, he does have an exceptional coaching resume.
Brown became part of the Spurs coaching staff in 2000 and after the Spurs won the 2003 NBA championship, he left to become an assistant coach with the Indiana Pacers. He would eventually become the head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2005 and enjoy success with the Cavs and LeBron James. He met his former team - Spurs - in the 2007 NBA championship but would lose in four games. Brown won the 2009 NBA Coach of the Year but after regular season success and poor playoff performance, Brown was eventually fired as head coach of the Cavs in 2010.no comments
The San Antonio Spurs tied for the best record in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls at 61-22. Through the 82 game season, the Spurs finished at number one in local television ratings according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
In a comparison of local TV packages, the Jazz (who averaged a 5.6 rating on ROOT Sports) were second only to the team with the best record in the league. The San Antonio Spurs averaged a 10.1 local rating on Fox Sports Southwest, up a whopping 52 percent over the 2009-10 season.
In 2009-10, the Spurs finished as the seventh seed in the Western Conference. A jump of 52 percent in local ratings is very evident due to the success the team had being the number one seed throughout the 10-11' season.
With the blockbuster additions of LeBron James and Chris Bosh to the Miami Heat, the Heat were able to jump to third place in local television ratings.
(Ratings are a percentage of the households in a given TV market. And the size of TV markets varies greatly — 1,580,580 homes in Miami; 953,950 in Salt Lake; 844,910 in San Antonio.)
Be proud Spurs fans, you were there to support the team every night whether it was a major network game against the Los Angeles Lakers or low level game on local television against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Sean Elliot and Bill Land also deserve some credit as they anchored the majority of the games on local television. Former Spur Malik Rose also covered the games in place of Elliot throughout the season.
Former San Antonio Spurs head coach Bob Hill has been in Japan as the coach of the Tokyo Apaches of the Japanese League and one of his former players is Jeremy Tyler who will be in this year's NBA Draft.
Tyler made news back in 2009 when he skipped his senior year of high school to play overseas in Israel. After a tumultuous time in Israel, he wound up with Hill and the Apaches and is now hoping to be drafted in the upcoming 2011 NBA Draft.
Hill has since spent time withTyler in San Antonio, working on his game in the hopes his next career jump into the NBA will be smooth.
Tyler is a 6-10 1/2 power forward, with a 7-5 wingspan and averaged 9.9 points and 6.4 rebounds with the Apaches.
With the Spurs in need of size, could they think about selecting Tyler when they are on the clock during the draft? Currently, NBADraft.net has Tyler going at number 35 in the second round and with the Spurs having the 29th pick, he might be there for the taking.
However, he is very young (19 years-old), had team-chemistry issue while in overseas, and there is a question of his maturity. Though it should be noted he was just 17 when he turned pro and has been performing well at the NBA Draft Combine and seems to have put the issues he faced playing in Israel in the past. As stated before, he does have what the Spurs need - size.
Here is what he had to say at the NBA Draft combine in Chicago.
What do you think Spurs fans? If Tyler's name is there when the Spurs are selecting in the draft, would you take a chance on him?
Enes Kanter has been turning heads at the NBA Pre-Draft Combine, and many have him slotted midway through the lottery, at number four to Cleveland or number six to the Wizards.
While the 6-11 center would be a nice addition to the San Antonio Spurs in a position the Spurs need help at, there's not a chance Kanter will fall to the Spurs at 29, especially with his stock rising based just on drills. So Kanter in silver and black is just a pipe dream, right?
Maybe, but that didn't stop the Spurs from sitting down with the 19-year-old in Chicago. While Kanter has been skipping interviews with the Jazz, Raptors and Bucks, who all have early picks, his agent Max Ergul had no problem with him spending time with the Spurs.
"I think coach [Gregg] Popovich has an opinion that really matters. If [Detroit president of basketball operations] Joe Dumars or Pop calls me or [Lakers general manager] Mitch [Kupchak] and asks for an interview, I'm not going to deny that. They may or may not get him, but I will give them their seniority. They are the guys who earned it. It's the same thing with Kevin O'Connor."
While Kanter would be a promising prospect in San Antonio, the Spurs would have to give up a lot to trade up into the lottery.
The Cavaliers, who have been rumored to take Kanter with their fourth pick, need some help on the wing. Former Spurs forward Alonzo Gee ended the season starting at small forward, and while Richard Jefferson would be an upgrade, would the Cavs be willing to take on his contract, while giving up a center who has drawn comparisons to Kevin Love and Al Horford?
But I would take the interview with a grain of salt. The Spurs are unlikely to make a major move in the draft, and have a knack for finding gems with their lower picks. Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors also sat down with the Spurs last year, but, as expected with this interview, it didn't lead to a draft day trade.
Editor's note: Please welcome Trevor Zickgraf to the Project Spurs family. Trevor comes from Going Glass 21 and will bring his brand of insightful posts on the Spurs to Project Spurs. We're delighted he decided to join us. Please enjoy his debut post on Tony Parker's recent comments about the Spurs.
I don’t disagree with what Tony Parker said recently that the current Spurs team can be good but not a championship contender. Any San Antonio Spurs fan who is honest with his or herself has to appreciate Parker’s honest answer. At the same time I can’t help but feel a little discouraged he essentially said, “I’m the Spurs best player and that’s not good enough for us to win a title.” This team just won 61 games and while Parker probably wasn’t trying to send a message of any sorts, he essentially waved the white flag on the Spurs’ title chances for the remainder of the "Three Amigos" era.
Of all the nicknames Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Parker have garnered over the years, I’ve always felt “Three Amigos” was the best. Duncan is Steve Martin. He’s been doing it the longest and has been making us laugh for the longest time and continues to do so. Ginobili is Chevy Chase. A more physical/slap-stick routine, sometimes provides the biggest cheers, but ultimately you’d still take Martin over Chase in most situations. Then there’s Parker, who is definitely Martin Short. Short is very funny, but sometimes not nearly as funny as you want him to be. He’s not at Martin and Chase’s level.
In keeping with the movie comparisons, the best movie where Martin is the lead is Innerspace. A highly entertaining movie, but not on the level of some of the classics that Martin and Chase have given us. That’s Parker. He’s an All-Star, a joy to watch, but he’s no Duncan or Ginobili.
As I was saying, Parker is right, the Spurs aren’t a championship team. Though it’s tough to imagine them not beating Oklahoma City and Dallas. Two teams they’ve owned the last two seasons but I digress.
He’s also right when he says he’s the most likely to be traded since he’s still younger than 30 and has a very manageable contract - 12 million a year for the next four years is very fair.
The Spurs are strongest at the guard spot. George Hill and Ginobili proved that last year. When Parker was hurt for a month, Hill and Ginobili led the Spurs' offense as San Antonio played their best basketball of the season during the month of March. That was the month the Spurs solidified their spot in the playoffs and really gelled as a team. This allowed them to upset the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. Though it should be noted that Parker was excellent in that series as a sixth man.
The tough part now is to figure out what you could get for the Spurs’ Ned Nederlander. David Kahn has already expressed an interest in moving out of the second spot in the upcoming NBA Draft and getting some veteran help since he can’t get Kyrie Irving. If they find out Ricky Rubio isn’t coming over for another couple of years, wouldn’t trading for a top 10 point guard make sense if you’re looking to compete and get out of the lottery?
Derrick Williams could play either small forward or the stretch four for the Spurs. Would the Rockets be interested in taking Parker for Luis Scola and a younger big like Jordan Hill? Is Atlanta looking to upgrade at point guard and willing to give up a guy like Josh Smith? Are the Lakers really looking to revamp their team and would Pau Gasol for Tony Parker be something they’re interested?
You could even say the Spurs have a plethora of options when it comes to trading Martin Short, er… Tony Parker. I'd love to know what everyone else thinks.
Six years ago, on May 22, 2005, I decided to connect a bargain bin mic to my computer to record my thoughts on game one of the 2005 Western Conference Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns. That became the first episode of the Spurscast.
The Spurs went on to win that series and eventually, their third championship. The third episode of the Spurscast was recorded the night after the Spurs won that series against the Detroit Pistons. A few episodes later, Jeff Garcia made his debut and has been at my side on the Spurscast and on Project Spurs since.
Since that night in 2005, the Spurscast has delivered latest Spurs news and analysis through two championships, several heartbreaking season-ending losses, recorded through the offseason, broadcasted at several venues throughout San Antonio, streamed live pre-game and post-game shows, covered several NBA and International events and have had the privilege of meeting many die-hard Spurs fans and Spurscast listeners. Thanks for listening through all these years, and you'll be glad to know that we have no plans to stop any time soon.
To celebrate our sixth, we brought on Art Garcia, formerly of Turner Sports/NBA.com and currently reporting for Fox Sports and CBS Sports.
Before being a NBA reporter for Fox, CBS or Turner, Art cut his teeth right here in San Antonio at the Express-News. In fact, I still remember reading his articles on Trinity Football and UTSA Basketball.
Art talked to Jeff and I about Tony Parker's recent comments and said while he doesn't mind players speaking their mind, it was also disrespectful to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and GM R.C. Buford. He also mentioned some trade possibilities for Parker, with George Hill primed to take over at point guard.
We also talked about the NBA Draft, free agents the Spurs should target and Art answered several questions we received for him over Twitter.
To end the show, Art brought up a very interesting topic most Spurs fans would shy away from thinking about. The gist of the conversation was, since the Spurs are now out of the playoffs, should Spurs fans give Dirk Nowitzki his due respect? He said he isn't expecting Spurs fans to jump on the Mavs bandwagon, but since they are the only Texas team left, and since Nowitzki is a class guy and in fact a player both Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan respect, is it time for Spurs fans to do the same thing? Be sure to listen to the podcast before commenting on the topic, because he does make some excellent points.
Thanks to Art for taking time out of his busy schedule to join us and thanks to all of our listeners for celebrating six years with us.
The Spurscast. The original Spurs podcast.
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Intro Music: "No More Tears" by Ozzy Osbourne.
Recently, the San Antonio Express-News gathered summer reading lists of several local celebrities.
The list was published on Saturday, and not surprisingly, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had a few tomes ready to enjoy. Perhaps along with a glass of his Silver and Black wine.
“A book? Are you kidding me? I was just in New York for three days and spent three afternoons at the Strand. The only thing that rivals it is Powell's Books in Portland. I'll never get through them all, and people give books to me during the season, too. I'll try to pick three or four I know I have to get done.”
These include: Christopher Hitchens' “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything,” Dinesh D'Sousa's “What's So Great About Christianity” and “The Fruit of the Tree” by Edith Wharton (“for the fun of it”).
Since it is the offseason, I have a reading list of my own and we'd also like to know what you're reading.
I currently have 39 books in my "books" wishlist on amazon.com. Some of the one's I hope to tackle this summer are "FreeDarko Presents: The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History" by fellow NBA blogger Bethlehem Shoals, "Loose Balls: The Short Wild Life of the American Basketball Association" by Terry Pluto and "Poke the Box" by Seth Godin.
So Spurs fans, what will you be reading this summer aside from Project Spurs. Leave your book picks or Shelfari links in the comments.