The San Antonio Spurs have officially announced they have re-signed Richard Jefferson:
The San Antonio Spurs announced today that they have re-signed Richard Jefferson. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed. (spurs.com)
Many around the NBA celebrated the Spurs trading for Jefferson and felt he was the missing piece to push the team into serious title contention and possibly dethrone the Los Angeles Lakers.
However as the season progressed, Jefferson looked lost in the Spurs system and in the end drew the ire of Spurs fans and most calling the trade a "bust." Jefferson averaged 12.3 points and 4.4 rebounds during the regular season. A drop in his production while he was with the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2008-2009 NBA season.
His numbers also dipped during the playoffs, where he averaged 9.4 points a game. Such production was not smiled upon by fans especially considering he was receiving close to $15 million last season.
While Spurs fans may not be celebrating his re-signing, he was one of the better free agents that was left on the market at his position.
Though terms of the deal were not disclosed, it has been reported the new deal will keep the Spurs under the luxury tax threshold.
The breakdown of Jefferson's deal is for four years at $39 million dollars. The breakdown is as follows: $8.4 million in 2011, $9.3 million in 2012, $10.2 million in 2013, and $11 million in 2014,with the final year partially guaranteed. (source Express News)
Dell Demps, San Antonio Spurs vice president of basketball operations, has agreed to join the New Orleans Hornets as their new General Manager according to the Associated Press:
A person familiar with the hiring says Dell Demps has agreed to become the New Orleans Hornets' next general manager.
The person, who spoke to The Associated Press late Tuesday night on condition of anonymity because the hiring had not been formally announced, says the move is expected to become official on Wednesday.
Demps will join head coach of the Hornets and former Spur, Monty Williams, in New Orleans.
San Antonio remains one of the top spots to work to open doors for other positions in the NBA. Ask Danny Ferry, Sam Presti, Avery Johnson, Monty Williams, Kevin Pritchard, and the list goes on and on.
LAS VEGAS -- The San Antonio Spurs have been seeking that reliable shooter to add to the team for some time. Whether it be through free-agency with Roger Mason Jr., trades which netted them Matt Bonner or through the draft as in this year with James Anderson.
In the 2009 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs drafted guard Jack McClinton out of Miami. Known for his deadly shooting touch, the Spurs felt they found another steal late in the draft.
Spurs' G.M. R.C. Buford praised his ability to shoot the ball, Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich praised his defense and Buford said he would be getting playing time along side Tony Parker and George Hill.
Then came the summer of 2009.
McClinton had a chance to show he really had what it takes to make it in the NBA at the 2009 NBA Summer League. Unfortunately he had a forgettable performance in Las Vegas.
He went scoreless in two of the last three games of the summer league and scored two points in the final game against the New Orleans Hornets. He averaged 2.6 points, and 1.6 assists and shot 21.7% from the field. A far cry from his shooting average in Miami which was at 43%.
If that wasn't enough, when the Spurs signed veteran guard Keith Bogans, McClinton felt he would not get playing time and requested the Spurs to release him. The Spurs obliged. The Minnesota Timberwolves would then sign him but again he would be released and would end up playing in Turkey.
While I was in Las Vegas for the 2010 NBA Summer League, I caught up with McClinton, who was a member of the Chicago Bulls Summer League team, and spoke with him about what he has been doing since his time with the Spurs.
"Being overseas really humbles you," McClinton said about playing in Turkey, "Let's you know how bad you really want to get back into the NBA."
It is this humbling experience which is pushing him to get back into the NBA and prove what happened last summer with the Spurs was not indicative of himself as a player.
"I didn't play that many minutes but when I was out there I made the best of it," McClinton said about playing with the Bulls summer league team, "You never know what's going to happened. There's so many players coming from different places. It's a humbling experience and I think I got better."
For McClinton, like all young players who ever goes through the Spurs system, he took lessons learned from his time in San Antonio not only overseas but now as he continues to develop his game in the hopes of making an NBA team, "Just that you got to be very responsible in the NBA and put that work in. Waking up early, leaving the gym late," said McClinton about what he learned when he spent time with the Spurs.
"It's just back to basics. You got to have that open ear to listen. There were a lot of vets there (San Antonio) so I was just listening to those guys and trying to learn from them."
When the Spurs drafted him, one position the team wanted him to develop was playing point guard. A position he was not accustomed to and might have been a huge factor for his performance with the Spurs summer league team.
Back then he knew it was an adjustment for him to but feels he has improved, "I think I really gotten better at that position. Playing in the Summer League I got into the lane, made some plays for others so that was a plus."
Though McClinton did not continue his basketball career with the Spurs, he has show the fortitude to not give up his dream of playing in the NBA and improving his game. He averaged 4.4 points, 1.2 assists, and shot 32% from the field in 14.2 minutes with the Bulls summer league team. In his last game against the Portland Trail Blazers, he finished with 12 points, three assists, two steals, and went 4/4 from the free-throw line
He has been in San Antonio, Minnesota, and in Turkey and it came full circle to where it all began for him one year ago in Las Vegas. He shown his game has improved and he won't let set-backs get in the way of his dream.
In the interview he told me he will now speak to his agent and go from there. Let's hope he goes from Turkey and back into the NBA soon.
Since signing Tiago Splitter, the Spurs have been very quiet on the free agent front, while several of their rumored interests started signing and dropping like flies with other teams.
But one free agent, although rumored to have drawn interest from several teams, has yet to sign anywhere.
Richard Jefferson, who opted out of a guaranteed $15 million next season, should be back in the silver & black soon.
ESPN's Marc Stein says it'll happen this week.
Some dribbles of gossip from the front-office grapevine as we transition from summer league to Team USA training camp in the desert:
This is the week, by all accounts, that San Antonio and Richard Jefferson will complete the restructured deal that we’ve all assumed had to be forthcoming...The specifics in terms of years and dollars remain unknown, but I’ve been assured that Jefferson will officially be back with the Spurs quite soon.
Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News says Jefferson will be signing tomorrow.
Free agent forward Richard Jefferson is en route to San Antonio this afternoon, where he is set to sign a long-term contract with the Spurs on Wednesday.
Details of the new deal are not yet available, but his salary next season will be well below the $15.2 million he would have been guaranteed had he not opted out of the final season of his contract with the Spurs on June 30.
Jefferson, who Spurs fans considered the bust of last summer's offseason acquisitions, averaged 12.3 points and 4.4 rebounds during the regular season. His numbers took a hit during the playoffs, where he averaged 9.4 points a game.
While he has drawn the ire of Spurs fans, he is likely one of the better free agents left on the market at his position, and his signing will reportedly keep the Spurs under the luxury tax threshold.
In an interview with esporte.ig.com.br, San Antonio Spurs' center, Tiago Splitter, was asked about finally joining the Spurs, and much more:
P - Only after three years of his employment that you decided to go to the NBA. Why?
R - I had a contract in Europe that had to comply. But thinking about basketball, I matured a lot [in Europe], I could improve my game, I managed to win both individual and collective titles. I was very happy to have been these three years in Europe and improved my game.
Q - What are the difficulties you expect to find in his first season in the NBA?
R - Obviously I need some time to adapt. It is normal after so many years playing in Europe. Moving to the North American league, where there is this difference. When you can adapt myself, I will not have any problem because I have total support of technicians and leaders of San Antonion. As for the game in the NBA he is much faster in transition. Some rules may, in Spain, in Europe, is allowed much more contact. In the NBA, the defense that is very different, is no longer any contact. So I have to learn to defend, to do the locks on the attack because they are very different in the NBA.
Q - How are you imagining your start? Will leave the bank or will be one of the holders of the team?
R - To tell the truth, I'm not thinking about that yet. First I have to work, I have to train. I need to play well to get my minutes. This is normal, it will be my first year there. The same illusion that I had when I was 15 and went to Europe I am now, waiting, eager to begin training.
The one thing which stands out for me is how Splitter acknowledges he is starting over and is humbled enough to know there is an established leadership core with the Spurs. He recognizes he has to work to earn minutes on the court and nothing will be handed to him. Very impressive from the MVP and champion from Caja Laboral.
Click HERE for the complete interview.
LAS VEGAS -- While I was at the 2010 Summer League, most of the buzz focused on which players were making an impression on the court. From Jeremy Lin who impressed many with his performance against Washington Wizard's John Wall to John Wall himself who showed why he was drafted number one in the 2010 NBA Draft.
However, another player who was also mentioned among the buzz was Alonzo Gee of the San Antonio Spurs.
Gee impressed many in the stands including fellow media members sitting in press row. One stated he could be starting for the Spurs in a few years. He displayed a great all around game. Offensively he was getting to the rim and hitting his outside shot as in the game against the Atlanta Hawks where he scored 24 points. On the defensive end he showed a knack for steals including four against the Hawks and three in the last game of the Summer League against the Memphis Grizzlies.
He even impressed Spurs forward, DeJuan Blair, "He has been playing excellent. I think that's our team MVP right now. I can say a lot about him."
Still, he knows he has further development to become an impact player for the Spurs, "The defensive end and keep rebounding and make my open shots. That's what they (Spurs) want me to do," said Gee when I asked him about the areas he still needs to develop.
It is refreshing to see a young player embrace the fact development is still needed but it's not just what Gee has to do on the court. He is fully aware of a great opportunity he has playing for the Spurs and knows not to squander it including taking advantage of the veterans on the Spurs roster, "I talk to everybody. You can get information or whatever you need from all the guys. They are all helpful."
Last season, when Gee was signed by the Washington Wizards, many Spurs fans felt as if another solid young player just slipped away. Perhaps the Spurs organization felt the same. Just as soon as he was signed by Washington, they released him and the Spurs swooped and signed him to a contract. Gee recognized this, "I was in Washington, then got to be with the Spurs and be with them in the playoffs. It's just a great opportunity to be with the organization."
Last season he did not get much time on the court with the Spurs but after his impressive play in the Summer League (averaged 14.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 1.8 assists) it wouldn't be a stretch to see him get a new opportunity with the Spurs and that's minutes on the court as a major contributor.
We were live for the first time this summer yesterday, and while you may have missed on an excellent opportunity to ask a question to one of the players live, we do have the archived audio file for you.
Shortly after the Spurs' route of the Memphis Grizzlies to go a perfect 5-0 in Summer League, we reviewed the game and a few players and then brought on our own Jeff Garcia, who was representing Project Spurs at the Thomas and Mack Center at UNLV for the last two games.
Jeff gave us some great insight and answered our questions having been up close and personal and have access to all of the summer league players. We discussed several players, especially Alonzo Gee and Gary Neal.
We also talked to Garrett Temple and got his thoughts on how his team played without him, how his ankle injury is healing and if he was looking forward to training camp.
If you get a chance, thank Jeff for flying out to Vegas on his own dime to cover this for us and bringing all Spurs fans exclusive interviews.
It has been a crazy offseason for most teams in the Eastern Conference. The Miami Heat hit the jackpot after landing Chris Bosh and Lebron James, the New York Knicks were able to sign Amar'e Stoudemire, the Chicago Bulls now have a legitimate threat in post with Carlos Boozer and added sharpshooter Kyle Korver to their roster.
While in the Western Conference, the Dallas Mavericks pushed hard to get Tyson Chandler from the Charlotte Bobcats, the Utah Jazz added Al Jefferson and Raja Bell, and the Phoenix Suns essentially replaced Amar'e Stoudemire and Leandro Barbosa with Hedo Turkoglu and Josh Childress. The list just goes on and on.
The San Antonio Spurs? Their offseason moves might not be as celebrated as the other teams, but they are quietly doing their job. They drafted scoring guard James Anderson and Euro big man Ryan Richards, re-signed Matt Bonner and finally convinced Tiago Splitter to make San Antonio his new home.
However, they are not yet done reshaping their roster. Richard Jefferson likely will be back with a more reasonable contract and they need to add more depth at their wing position. Maybe they can get either Rasual Butler, Bobby Simmons or Damien Wilkins by using the bi-annual exception (worth $2 million) or $2.36 million leftover from the MLE.
Matt Barnes will probably ask for more money. Also, even with Splitter coming over, adding another serviceable big man won't hurt. Former Spur Fabricio Oberto and Francisco Elson remain available in the market plus the team also have two bigs Dwyane Mitchell and Darryl Watkins playing in the Summer League that may have a shot at making the roster.
As currently structured, the Spurs still pale in comparison to the defending champions Los Angeles Lakers. Splitter is expected to provide a major boost on the teams' aging frontline and Anderson could be another offensive threat because he is a proven scorer in college but both of them are still question marks. They have to prove that they can bring their game into the NBA-level.
Nonetheless, Splitter's decision to join the Spurs this season gives greater implications in the long run. If he can play effectively for 20-25 minutes and DeJuan Blair playing more time at the four. Tim Duncan could get more rest during the regular season and that will come in handy come playoff time.
Anderson will give added depth on the Spurs' guard rotation which already includes Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, George Hill and probably Garrett Temple. The team also have guys who can play the three-position should they decide to bring back Malik Hairston and keep Summer League sensation Alonzo Gee.
With a lot of big name free agents moving to the East, the power may have shifted there which means the Spurs' road to the playoffs might be easier than it was a year ago.
However, the West still has the defending champions Los Angeles Lakers which solidified their point guard spot by adding Steve Blake. They still are the team to beat.
But don't count out the Spurs just yet. A couple of solid moves more this offseason and this team can be serious title contenders in the upcoming season.
What are your thoughts? Is bringing back Jefferson, adding more perimeter depth and inside help enough to make the Spurs title contenders? Tell us what you think.
Las Vegas -- As the San Antonio Spurs finished their 2010 Las Vegas Summer League, I had a chance to speak with Eric Dawson and get his thoughts on the Spurs finishing undefeated (5-0) and his summer league experience with the Spurs.
Jeff: How would you assess your performance here in Vegas?
Eric: It was great. Played team ball. Before we came out here, we wanted to not worry about winning but play as a unit. When you play together, the results are good and we go 5-0.
Was finishing in the Summer League undefeated still in the back of your mind?
We wanted to take it. We wanted to go 5-0 and we wanted to sweep everybody.
Going 5-0 is actually a testament to this Spurs summer league team playing with out DeJuan Blair, and other key players. This has to tell you a lot about this squad.
We had our mind set to just take it to whoever and play as a team and play hard. The number one thing was to play defense.
How was it going up against Hasheem Thabeet?
It was my first time playing against him and I wanted to prove to everybody that I can take it to him. I had fun playing against him. Coach Bud told me to be physical, by aggressive and that's what I did.
So what is next for you?
My options are open. Just waiting for anything to come around. Obviously I want to be in the NBA but if I don't, I played in Japan last year they wanted me back but I am going to see what the NBA will do for me first.
Dawson finished with 14 points, had three steals, perfect from the free-throw line (6/6) and had two rebounds against the Memphis Grizzlies in the final game of the Summer League.