It's official Spurs fans. Tiago Splitter is a San Antonio Spur.
It's official Spurs fans. Tiago Splitter is a San Antonio Spur.
Now that Lebron-apalooza has finally come to an end, and most of the big name free agents have been signed, the NBA season is now officially over.
Now is the time of year when most sports fans sit around reading fantasy football magazines (guilty as charged) while ESPN plays a seemingly endless amount of College Football Live shows. How long can you really talk about Boise State? Really? But to those true die-hard hoop heads, the ones that wear basketball jerseys to their cousins baptism (my aunt is still mad at me), there is something for us to be grateful for.
The summer marks the return of the NBA Las Vegas Summer League which gives young players the opportunity to showcase their skills and maybe, just maybe, find a spot on an NBA roster.
With the San Antonio Spurs first summer league game today versus the Minnesota Timberwolves, two players hoping to make a lasting impression on the Spurs this summer in Las Vegas are Josh Lomers and Gary Neal.
Standing at seven feet tall and weighing 280 pounds, Josh Lomers is the biggest player on the Spurs' summer roster. Lomers, who went to high school north of San Antonio in the town of Boerne, is hoping to use his big body to fight for his spot on a team that is looking for a big presence down low.
Lomers kept his basketball skill set in Texas when he decided to play basketball at Baylor University. In his senior year with the Bears, Lomers averaged 6.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1 block in 17 minutes per contest."
"I was always a Spurs fan," Lomers told to members of the San Antonio media before flying out to Las Vegas. "They always seem to have a lot more character guys then other teams do and that's always really appealed to me."
While Lomers was balling close to home, Gary Neal took his highly explosive offensive game across the pond, and averaged over 20 points a game during the 2009-2010 season for Benetton Treviso of the Italian League.
During the 2006-2007 season, his senior season with the Towson Tigers, Neal averaged a team high 23.5 points per game. But it was in Italy where Neal flourished. Being the "go to guy" for a rebuilding franchise allowed Neal the freedom to become the better all around offensive player that he is now.
However, there may seem to be some character issues with Neal. He played his freshman and sophomore year at La Salle where he won Atlantic Ten Rookie of the year his freshman season averaging 18.6 points per game. But Neal was let go from the team before his Junior season due to rape allegations by a female basketball player from the University of New Haven. Neal was later acquitted.
So don't be upset my fellow basketball junkies. There is plenty of basketball to be watched. Plenty of young players willing to give it their all just for the chance to grab a spot on any roster. And while it might be a long shot for Lomers and Neal to grab a spot on the San Antonio bench, it'll still be fun to watch, because these summer league players are the bright young future of the league.
Who Knows, maybe one day we'll be watching an hour long special on ESPN entitled the "Lomers Decision."
It's another day which means another Tony Parker to the New York Knicks trade rumor.
According to the New York Post, the Knicks are still pursuing San Antonio Spurs' guard, Tony Parker:
A source told The Post on Dec. 15, when trades are permitted for free-agent signees and draft picks, the Knicks will try to put together a package for either free-agent-to-be Tony Parker or Paul.
Raymond Felton, the Knicks' new point guard acquired last week from Charlotte, will be eligible to be traded in December and if the Spurs or ailing Hornets like him, perhaps either point guard could be had, giving Felton a short Knick run. A Felton/Wilson Chandler package would not be out of the question for at least Parker.
Parker will be a free-agent after this upcoming NBA season.
Though not as quick as Parker, Felton is an underrated point-guard and for his career has averages of 13.3 points, 6.4 assists and 41% shooting from the field.
Chandler's career stats are 13.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, and is 45% shooting from the floor.
After another season without winning the title, the San Antonio Spurs face a long summer with a lot of questions. Will Tiago Splitter finally come to San Antonio? What to do with their free-agents? Is Richard Jefferson re-signing with the team? These are some questions which need to be answered.
However, one area the Spurs need to address is how they will return to the lock-down defense or more in particular, finding a suitable perimeter defender.
The Spurs won four titles because of their trademark stingy defense. In fact, during their last title run in 2006-2007, the Spurs were second in the league in defensive efficiency rating and fifth in offensive efficiency rating.
Since then, the team has declined steadily on both areas:
Season Offensive Efficiency Defensive Efficiency
2007-2008 15th 3rd
2008-2009 13th 5th
2009-2010 9th 8th
Last season the Spurs suffered a sharp decline in defensive efficiency. Not surprisingly, it was the same year when they lost defensive ace Bruce Bowen in a trade that landed Jefferson. He did lose a step or two after the teams' last title run but this past season proved how important a perimeter defender is to the Spurs defensive schemes.
The Spurs tried to bring in others to be the next "Bowen." Ime Udoka was one of them but was too slow to be an effective wing defender and didn't pan out. Keith Bogans was brought in last season and again, he could not duplicate what Bowen brought to the Spurs. George Hill has promise but he is too short to consistently defend the perimeter effectively against bigger players.
The Spurs have to find a capable wing defender to help bring the Spurs defense to where it was --- among the best in the entire league.
Maybe the Spurs already have the answer in Malik Hairston or Alonzo Gee. Hairston has proved to be a capable perimeter defender in short stretches last year. While Gee has the athletic ability to body-up his opponents not to mention he can score.
Free-agent Matt Barnes is an intriguing prospect in this role and he could fit well with a veteran team like the Spurs but do the Spurs have the financial means to sign him?
Don't get me wrong, finding another Bowen is next to impossible. No other player can ever duplicate what he brought to the Spurs.
If defense wins NBA championships, then bringing back the Spurs' once mighty defense has to be a huge priority.
It will take time but they got make sure to have the right pieces to make it work. If everything falls into place on the defensive end, the Spurs could be back into serious title contention in the upcoming season but it has all to start with rectifying the defensive decline.
What do you guys think? Are there any other free-agents that the Spurs should keep an eye on to get some perimeter help? What are the areas do they need to address? Share us your thoughts.
According to the Star-Telegram.com, the Dallas Mavericks are close to signing San Antonio Spurs' free-agent, Ian Mahinmi:
The Dallas Mavericks are close to signing former San Antonio Spurs center Ian Mahinmi, NBA sources said Sunday.
Mahinmi, 25, is a 6-foot-11 Frenchman who played 26 games for the Spurs last season and is an unrestricted free agent. He averaged 3.9 points and two rebounds in six minutes per game. Several NBA sources said he's ready to make a significant improvement.
With the Spurs re-signing Matt Bonner and Brazilian center, Tiago Splitter, coming to the team, not to mention other big-men such as Tim Duncan, DeJuan Blair and Antonio McDyess on the roster, Mahinmi seems to be the odd big-man out.
Also, Mahinmi never could get on time on the court whether it be due to injuries or simply falling out of the rotation. Perhaps now he will be able to get significant time on the floor and show what he can do.
According to ESPN, the Mavericks and Mahinmi have agreed to a two-year deal:
The Dallas Mavericks, seeking youth and front-line help, have agreed in principle to a two-year deal with 6-foot-11 project Ian Mahinmi, a source with knowledge of the team said Monday.
Mahinmi, 23, averaged 3.9 points and 2.0 rebounds in 26 games for the San Antonio Spurs last season. The French center played briefly in two games against the Mavericks in their first-round playoff series. According to the source, the deal is believed to be for the bi-annual exception of about $2 million per season. The second year is a team option.
After reports the San Antonio Spurs and their 2007 NBA Draft pick, Tiago Splitter, reached an agreement, some Spurs fans might still be holding their breath waiting to see if this is true. It seems Spurs fans can exhale.
According to elperiodico.com, Splitter has decided to come to the Spurs:
After 10 years in the ACB League, the Brazilian power forward has decided to take the plunge and go to the NBA, where he was elected in 2007 at number 28 in the first round of draft.
Después de 10 años en la Liga ACB, el pívot brasileño ha decidido dar el paso y marcharse a la NBA, donde fue elegido en el 2007 en el número 28 de la primera ronda del dratf.
There has been reports that Splitter will sign with the Spurs as soon as this Monday.no comments
According to Jim Bob Breazeale and Mike Taylor, hosts of Sports Talk San Antonio on the Ticket 760, the Spurs have reached an agreement with Brazilian center Tiago Splitter.
Ticket 760 has learned that the San Antonio Spurs have reached a contract agreement with Tiago Splitter. He is expected to sign the deal on Monday. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
If the reports are true, everyone around San Antonio can take a deep breath knowing Splitter is finally signed and we will finally see one of the Spurs foreign draft picks actually wearing a Spurs uniform.
Earlier this week, word from Splitter's camp is that they wanted the Spurs to make an offer quickly, but it appears they were just waiting for the Lebron James decision to be over, since it seems they have now signed both Bonner and Splitter.
My best guess is that he will sign for the full Mid Level Exception. This also rules out the Spurs chances of signing Shaquille O'Neal, who was likely a backup plan.
Update: Chris Duel and Jason Minnix from the Chris and Jason Show on ESPN 1250 just tweeted that their sources are indicating that Splitter has signed.
The San Antonio Spurs have agreed to terms to resign their free-agent Matt Bonner with a four-year contract (via unionleader.com):
The Concord native agreed to terms with the Spurs on a four-year contract extension through the 2013-2014 season.
"I'm just very excited. I'm really happy things worked out, and I can go back to San Antonio. I'm really looking forward to the future," Bonner said.
The new contract is expected to exceed the annual salary of $3.2 million he earned last season.
"In the end, if San Antonio was going to make a fair deal and give me a long-term contract, that's what I was looking for at this point in my career," Bonner said. "To not have to uproot my family and my living situation and go back where I'm established and where my daughter was born, it's a great feeling.
"That's the kind of long-term stability I was looking for at this point in my career. I get to exhale and start getting ready for next year.
Four years is a bit long in my opinion but it seems he did come "cheap" by NBA standards. However, I do not think Spurs fans will like this deal.
The good thing now is that Spurs fans won't have to burn any Bonner jerseys a la Cleveland Cavaliers fans when LeBron James decided to join the Miami Heat.
Now if he can only show up in games when it really matters -- the playoffs!
Thoughts Spurs fans? Go ahead and chime in!
According to the San Antonio Spurs, guard Malik Hairston will not be on the roster for the Spurs summer league team. He has been replaced by guard Michael Cuffee from Middle Tennessee State.
Cuffee spent time in the NBDL playing with the Utah Flash and Bakersfield Jam in 2007-2008.
According to the Express-News, the San Antonio Spurs and Matt Bonner are ready to get negotiations started now that LeBron James has made his decision to go to the Miami Heat:
“I think they were waiting for LeBron to get his thing done,” said Kenny Grant, who is representing forward-center Matt Bonner in free agency talks with the Spurs. “Now, I think they're ready to get started.”
Grant is hopeful the Spurs might now be free to talk more seriously about a new deal for Bonner.
Grant said Thursday he's talked with Spurs general manager R.C. Buford on multiple occasions since the start of free agency, but not since before Fourth of July weekend. Now that the free-agent market has clarified, he expects conversations with the Spurs to resume.
Bonner has also received interest from a handful of other teams, including Dallas, Denver and Chicago.
“Obviously, Matt wants to stay with the Spurs,” Grant said. “If that can't happen, he'll find somewhere else.”
The Spurs do hold Bonner's "Bird Rights" so that can be used to re-sign him.
Thoughts Spurs fans? Should the Spurs bring back Bonner or explore other options in free-agency?