For Tiago Splitter, honeymoon over and just beginning

by

Newly wed and now newly signed, Tiago Splitter interrupted his honeymoon long enough to stop in San Antonio and make his long awaited arrival official.

Having forged his game overseas against the best competition not in the NBA, Splitter is no ordinary rookie, joining Arvydas Sabonis as one of only two players to win the regular season and finals MVP in Spanish League history. But the San Antonio Spurs are no ordinary team for a highly touted rookie to come in and impact immediately either.

Joining the Spurs is like dating a single mother, the relationship might be new but the honeymoon phase is already over.

Fair or not, Spurs fans have been waiting for Tiago Splitter since the team drafted Luis Scola. That is to say that the team has been waiting for frontline help from overseas since before Splitter was drafted, and Scola’s NBA success–for a division rival no less–has put a lot of expectations on Tiago Splitter before a lot of people have even had an opportunity to see him play.

The team is also in the midst of trying to contend for a title in the twilight of Tim Duncan’s career, putting extra emphasis on the need for Splitter to adapt quickly.

“I heard about (the expectations), you cannot always control what people tell you but I tried to keep my attention on what I had to do,” Splitter said. “I was playing for Baskonia, so I had to concentrate on that and the playoffs.”

Those expecting Splitter to step in and run through the league like a Pau Gasol might find themselves a little disappointed, or at least that is what San Antonio Spurs general manager R.C. Buford and head coach Gregg Popovich have warned fans about.

“I don’t think Tiago is going to be somebody we just throw the ball into the post until he gets a better understanding of our system,” Buford said. “But he’s a really good pick-and-roll player, very smart offensively and defensively, so they have to guard him.”

Although the European leagues may offer the more physical style of basketball, as Buford pointed out during the press conference, Tiago Splitter will have to adjust to playing bigger, stronger players on a nightly basis; or as Buford put it, “he doesn’t have his NBA body yet.”

What they are confident in is his ability to guard pick and rolls and mesh with Tim Duncan much in the same way Fabricio Oberto did–though Splitter is projected as a more talented player, obviously.

A lottery pick quality talent whose contract situation left him undesirable by many teams, the San Antonio Spurs patience seemingly once again pays off. Any fears about how Splitter’s game translates over to the NBA would be a little overblown.

Unlike a few European busts (see Milicic, Darko), Splitter has produced on the biggest stages against the best competition outside the NBA in the world. While there will undoubtedly be an adjustment, the acquisition is probably a safer bet than anything outside the top five of the most recent NBA Draft.

While the signing might not be as exciting as some of the other offseason headlines, the addition of Splitter could very well have positive ramifications throughout the roster.

For one, Gregg Popovich should find himself with three solid defenders to mix and match his rotations with during the regular season. Should Splitter turn out to be the defensive player he is expected to be, it will immediately upgrade DeJuan Blair and, yes, even Matt Bonner.

Both of the San Antonio Spurs reserve big men were defensive liabilities, something compounded by the fact that they often played together. Between Duncan, McDyess, and Splitter, the Spurs should have enough depth to keep Bonner and Blair off the opposing team’s best post option without fear of fatigue or foul trouble.

Any increased playing time the reserves can muster would be less wear and tear on Tim Duncan, who can still be an elite force when not worn down.

Whatever Splitter produces from the start, it is likely to come at a bargain price. After fears that recent signing might drive up the costs of signing Splitter, Mike Monroe of the Express-News reports that the deal is actually under the mid-level exception, leaving the Spurs with roughly $2.37 million of the MLE to shop the free agent market (possibly for a wing player?).

Though this summer might not reach the enthusiasm of last year, not many teams can claim they added the top big man in Europe, an All-American college player with the 20th pick, and an All-NBA point guard (provided good health for Tony Parker) over the summer.

Throw in the development of Blair and Hill, and should any single player from Garrett Temple, Alonzo Gee, and Malik Hairston emerge as viable rotation pieces, and the San Antonio Spurs are bigger and better in a conference that lost Carlos Boozer and Amare Stoudemire.

  • spursfanbayarea

    Championship! Go Spurs Go!

  • http://fundamentally-sound.blogspot.com Jaceman

    I remember the good old days that Pop would’ve just run the likes of Duncan, Splitter, and McDyess for the full 48 minutes, but I suppose those days are gone. Splitter I think is there for defense, though if he does develop more into the David Robinson role that’s sweet too. We now have a decent front-court rotation of Duncan, Splitter, McDyess, Bonner, Blair.

    We now have money on wings huh? Well, lemme peruse the list of who’s available… Depends on if we want projects or solid additions. I think we want additions since we have no one to really mentor the additions, but cheaper projects like Malik Hairston, I’m willing to gamble, so no projects like Joe Alexander. Joey Graham? Jarvis Hayes? Rasual Butler? Hrm… not a whole lot out there. Marquis Daniels? Ronnie Brewer? Antoine Wright? Damien Wilkins? We’ll see what Buford does, but getting Splitter does get my hopes up.

  • kalone

    I’d be interested to hear what one of this blog’s authors thinks about possibly signing Josh Howard. I know about the recent character stuff, but he seemed to have his head in the right place those first few years in Dallas, not to mention a good jumper and good on-ball defense. He’s also likely not the most expensive GI-Joe at the toy store, either.

  • http://fundamentally-sound.blogspot.com Jaceman

    @kalone
    I don’t think anything will work out with Howard as he is one of the better FAs left out there available. I think he’ll warrant at least the full MLE if not more, which we no longer have available. I think those medium marquee players like RJ or J-Ho will be out of our budgetary reach. It would be awesome if we can sign Howard, but I don’t think we can. I’m not sure who’s available out there., or our interest, James Anderson probably takes one spot, so our roster now has what? Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Hill, McDyess, Splitter, Hairston, Gee, Bonner, Blair. I think. We only really have two or three more roster spots. So some vets… I like Damien Wilkins, maybe James Singleton or Rasual Butler or something.

  • Jimbo

    I think we should go after Ronnie Brewer – they guy has proved he can play in the NBA for a demanding coach (while with the Jazz), and would give use some good D on the wing, which is probably our biggest hole at the moment….

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  • ChillFAN

    Why do I keep hearing Tiago’s first year expectations compared to Fabricio Oberto’s?

  • SpurDAWG50

    @Chillfan

    You keep hearing that because it usually takes a full season for Euro players to adjust to the rules. Oberto had to get used to what the NBA called a moving screen because Euro league rules on that are different. That sort of thing. It’s not a knock on Splitter. Hell, if he plays with as much heart as Oberto did then it’s a compliment.

  • Simon

    I think what Fab did for the Spurs goes a little under appreciated, he actually slotted into the system remarkably well. This is a great article, I particularly like the part that mentions Spltter as the “safest bet outside of this year’s draft’s top 5″. However I think coupling his name besides Gasol’s is a little damaging. Offensive production wasn’t such a problem for SA last year as it has been in the past – so if Tiago can just bring us some defensive solidarity, then I’m a happy Spurs fan.

  • Borgy817

    why are people comparing him to Oberto? did you see him play? he’s not a Robinson type of a player, he is more like a Duncan type.. i expect him to be at the start playing 4 and timmy playing 5..

  • Manolo Pedralvez

    Without much fanfare, the Spurs have landed the player they have coveted for the past three years, Brazilian Tiago Splitter, but were unable to acquire because of his contractual obligations to his Spanish ballclub.
    How typical and dignified of this organization. And that they did so at a reasonable – some would say cheap – price also tells a lot of this winning NBA franchise.
    But like most of us armchair pundits, we don’t expect Splitter to become the Spurs’ overnight savior. Although with him in the roster, I certainly
    like Timmy’s chances of landing that fifth NBA crown.
    And with other pieces, I believe San Antonio has a deeper bench compared to last year’s.
    Can’t wait for the season to start!

  • analyzed

    It will be a beauty to watch Tiago and Manu play the pick and roll. Tiago can finish 10 times better than Oberto and we all know how good Oberto was working the P and R with Manu. They will be on the same page speaking their own language confusing the heck out of defenses, which know one will be able to figure out. Don’t underestimate euro craftiness and smarts , you only have to ask the dream team on how difficult it was for them to handle Greece P and R

  • Jim Miller (jimjule)

    Don’t expect Tiago to absorb the intricacy of the Spurs defense quickly, but by mid-season I think he will have it down. From what I’ve seen Splitter is not a super athletic leaper, but more of a smart position player who understands the game better than most. I’m interested to see how effective his face up game is. Can he put the ball on the floor and drive or pull up for a quick jumper? His post up game seems to be pretty good, but he will find in pretty difficult against NBA big bodies. Still he plays a smart game and takes what the defense gives him. I was impressed with Gee on the first game Monday, even if he is turnover prone. Having said that he sure has some immpressive shake and bake moves. I like his game which still needs some polishing. Temple is a shoo-in to make the roster as is Hairston. The last spot should go to Gist or a reliable FA three who can defend and hit the three. Hard to find. The above mentioned guys will eventually decide how competitive the Spurs are this year.

  • ThatBigGuy

    I’m happy with this signing. Oberto was great in our system, so if Splitter is 20% more talented, surely he’ll flat out kill for us.

    Just a caveat: combining the ACB and EuroLeague, Splitter only played in 45 games last season. What are the chances of him hitting the rookie wall? Blair hit it particularly hard, but he did recover nicely toward the end of the season.

    Also, Splitter only averaged 28 mins a game last season. Will his minutes increase with the Spurs, and how much will that affect him in the second half of the season?

  • BrazilSpursFan

    @analyzed

    The only problem is Tiago speaks Portuguese and Manu speaks Spanish.

  • careyset

    Sign Shaq – for two reasons, 1) Lakers, shaq adds to the spurs match-up and provides valuable psychological impact against his old team and coach
    2) so noone else has him

    We have the roster spot and he will be cheap. We have room for 2 FA signings now that splitter was so cheap. We need to first try to get a talented perimeter defender, but as those efforts are either successful or our main targets sign elsewhere, lock up Shaq.

    Timmy needs to play 27 minutes a game and sit out every 4th game. Shaq is great for opponents with big men. He will sit, when we play opponents with talented, agile big men.

    He does not take away from the development of Blair or Splitter, he enhances that by being a big body in practice and by sharing his knowledge.

    Sign him.

  • ruth bader ginobili

    The big man minutes will be tricky. Depends how sharp Tiago and DeJuan look, and how much rest Timmy and Dice need. And I just can’t imagine Pop giving Bonner less than 10 mins/gm (regular season), not with how much he likes his vets.

    My guess: Duncan: 30 mins; McDyess: 18 mins; Splitter: 20 mins; Blair: 18 mins; Bonner: 10 mins.

  • idahospur

    Splitter will be really limited for about 20 games (as in 25 minutes per game). He’ll be good for defense and rebounds but I don’t expect to much scoring (12 pts). After he gets his feet wet, and hopefully looking at a potential deep playoff run, he will be a good player to have down low when Duncan takes a breather. All I know is the team looks better with him on the roster, then without.
    GO SPURS GO!!!!

  • Tyler

    Splitter might be the best bargain of the summer. It might take him time to learn the system, but I have a feeling Pop will throw him out there early and often and let him learn on the fly. He might make mistakes, but he seems like the kind of guy who will learn from those mistakes and be better late in the season because of it.

    As for the rest of our offseason, a wing and an insurance big seems like the best bet. I like Rasual Bulter. He’s a no-nonsense guy who will defend. If he was a better 3 pt shooter, he’d probably be a signed already – career 36% from behind the arc, but shot just 33% last year. He seems like the best fit to me.

    However, this is assuming we need more production than simply plugging in Gee, Hairston, Anderson, and/or Temple. If the staff feels like this group is ready to contribute on a nightly basis, signing another wing like Butler might not be warranted.

    Either way, I can’t wait for the season to start….

  • Raja&Shaq

    sign Raja Bell – we have more to offer than LA and Raja loves to defend Kobe, not play with him.

    then sign Shaq – for one reason, to match up against Lakers. There are other reasons – he will be great for the development of Splitter and Blair, enables Duncan to play less than 30 min per game and take off every 4-5th game.

    We need him for the Laker match up and he is cheap. Plus he will sell a lot of tickets and jerseys for the spurs. we have a roster spot.

    There is no downside. He is an entertainer, but not a distraction.

    If we were willing to go over the cap for Jefferson, then we can spend a bit extra to have Shaq and keep Gee Hairston and Temple. Our total payroll will be less than if Jefferson had not opted out. That is including resigning Jefferson for a reasonable salary.

  • http://www.bpifanconnect.com Alix Babaie

    I am very pleased by the signing but moreover, that the FO was able to do so while saving almost half of the MLE to spend on another player! The Spurs are without a doubt, the smartest managed team in the NBA! We should thank our lucky stars that we don’t have schmucks like the T-Wolves, Knicks or Nets running our franchise into the ground. What I would like to see is the Spurs take a flyer out on Shaq for 2 years for the remainder of the MLE. Appeal to his ego that he can directly assist in beating Kobe with the Spurs. I have heard rumors that the Spurs are exploring a sign and trade with the Wizards for Josh Howard with the Spurs sending over R-Jeff and McDyess. Then they would be set for a run at the title. GO SPURS GO, STRIVE FOR FIVE!!!!

  • duaneofly

    I like the sound of signing Brewer with the rest of our MLE.
    I think Tiago will help us out a ton! I think the best way to get Tony to sign an extension is to have a killer team this year.
    I know all the rumors of Tony wanting to play in a big market, but if we get back into the championship hunt this season, I think he’ll want to stay.
    I think the idea of adding some more rings to his fingers is more appealing than playing in NY with Amare.

  • ITGuy

    Go Spurs Go!!

  • Dr. Who

    @Raja&Shaq

    There’s a whole nuther thread about the Shaq and the risk of him imploding the Spurs. Not sure if the risk is worth the reward. I’m intrigued by the thoguth of Shaq in Spurs uni but the more I think about it, the more I don’t want it. That other thread gives a ton of reason from many posters who are wary of the big cactus coming to town.

    As far as Bell, he is a smaller defender and we need a SF not another gaurd but a defender who can hit a 3 sounds like a nice fit for a Spurs team lacking both. His injury was in his non-shooting hand and it’s only his first career injury AFAIK. The issue with Bell is that all reports dont’ list the Spurs at the top of his list of teams he’d like to play for. All of the reports I’ve read out there state a list of teams he’s interested in and then at the end of the article it states San Antonio and other teams have expressed interest as well. Not exactly a warm fuzzy feeling there. Don’t think it’s goign to happen. Kobe is selling it hard and realistically the Fakers have a better shot at a title on paper than SA does at this piont.

  • OneWing

    Isn’t Matt Barnes still available? Take him as a backup to RJ, I would think. A sign and trade involving RJ is also an intriguing bet, but you absolutely have to get a SF back in that deal. A good one. I’m not sure there are any situations that will get us an upgrade at the 3.

  • idahospur

    ESPN Insider rumors:

    “Splitter’s contract”

    The Spurs officially announced the signing of Tiago Splitter on Monday, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2007.

    Some had surmised Splitter would see north of three years and $13 million, which is what the Timberwolves gave Nikola Pekovic, their 2008 first-round draft pick.

    But according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Splitter actually come cheaper than Pekovic.
    “Splitter contract is actually three years for $10.9 million with Spurs, league source says,” he tweeted. “He will make $3.4 million this season.”

    Wojnarowski also added: “One GM calls Spurs deal for 7-footer Splitter, ‘The best contract of the summer.’”

    M. Haubs of TrueHoop Network blog The Painted Area also signs the signings praises: “Oh my goodness, Splitter is an unbelievable steal at three years, $10.9 million. Less than Darko Milicic? About the same as Nikola Petro and Timofey Mozgov? Are you kidding me?”

    Splitter is expected to come in and have an immediate impact for the team this season in the frontcourt.

    If Splitter is making $3.4 million this season, it means the Spurs should have about $2.4 million of their midlevel exception left, which means they could target another player in free agency.

    Wojnarowski lists Raja Bell as a potential get.

  • johnny

    I am really liking the top 12 the Spurs have right now. I understand that they may add 2 more players to the mix but for a 12 man rotation they are pretty good.
    Splitter (45big) Blair (4,5big) Bonner (4,5 big)
    Duncan (45big)McD (45big)
    Jefferson (3) Anderson (2,3) Hairston (2,3)
    Ginoboli (2,3) Hill (1,2)
    Parker (1) Temple (1,2,3)

    That gives us 5 bigs, 5 players who can play the wing, 3 players that can run the point, and 5 who can man the shooting guard spot. Pretty good

  • DaveMan77

    Let Splitter play with Blair if they’re as good as we think they are then they’ll figure it out. I’m just saying the young dudes need to play heavy minits durring the regular season they need to keep our vets rested for the playoffs. Tim,Manu, and Tony need to be doing more coaching and less playing durring the regular season. We know in the playoffs the big 3 are going to do their thing we need to make sure we get defensive stops , hit open 3′s, and have someone step when the big 3 is not enough.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    @idahospur

    One thing the Spurs may have in their favor when trying to sign Bell is the fact that both he and Tim Duncan hail from the Virgin Islands. Not a huge factor, but still something for Bell to take into consideration when choosing teammates.

  • DieHardSpur

    Daveman77 –

    you forget the west is still the most talented conference. It is as deep with great teams as it has ever been. we will need 25+ minutes a night from all of our big 3 to even make the playoffs, regardless of how many strides ahead our new guys take.

    I believe the SPURS have taken the necessary steps to compete with the best of the best, but now it is up to the players. It will take alot of hard work and dedication, but I would love to see the SPURS beat MIAMI in 4 games. This way, both times the selp-proclaimed “KING” met Timmy in the finals, he was swept by a true master of the rock!

    Timmy is ready to take his 5th ring with a passion!

    SPURS 2010

  • Tyler

    @ DiehardSpur

    While the west is still very tough, especially when you factor in Yao’s return in Houston, Memphis’ growth and CP3′s return, I think the Spurs should be closer to the 2 seed than the 7 seed for a number of reasons. Keep in mind, we were only 5 games out of the #2 spot even with a few give-away games at the end of the regular season, and our point differential indicated we were probably a little better than our record.

    First, bringing in Splitter adds another big to the rotation which we desperately needed on both ends. I think he alone can make us 3-4 games better than last year. Next, TP and Manu should be healthy from the get-go. Both struggled thru the first half of the season and our record showed it. I don’t expect that to happen again. Also, you have the organic growth from Hill, Blair, Gee, Hairston, and Temple. If these guys are truly ready to contribute (and I think they are), we’ll have young guys who know system from day 1, as opposed to an RJ who was forced to learn/adjust on the fly.

    Also, Phoenix should take a step back w/o Amare. I think Denver has peaked as a team; I don’t expect them to be any better than last year. And w/o Boozer (I realize they’re adding A. Jefferson), they may have to go though an adjustment period.

    The biggest factor for the Spurs will again be health. If the big 3 are healthy for the majority of the season, I think we can edge out Dallas for the division and a top 4 seed.

    Of course, we could struggle to get production from our SF spot, one or more of the big 3 could be sidelined w/ an injury, TD or Manu’s production could drastically fall off….only time will tell. I just think it more likely that we perform much better than last year in the regular season.

    My prediction is 54-28, a division title and the #3 seed.

  • DieHardSpur

    Tyler,

    You have made some great points.

    1) I do believe that Tiago will be the best signing we could have made this offseason. (Have you watched him play extensively? THIS GUY CAN BALL!)

    2) Do not expect Richard Jefferson to have a better year of points. As the 4th option he averaged 12 points and 5/6 boards. With the signing Splitter, he becomes the 5th option.

    3) I do believe that our “organic” growth will be a big help to our bench, however, you have to assume that everone else’s organic growth is just as good…(“Dont underestimate your opponent” thing)

    I believe that your prediction is not that far off as far as wins go, but i would hate to see us win a division title. If we do – it guarantee’s no ring… look at our past history. Kinda funny the way that has panned out for us…

  • Mark

    @DieHardSpur

    Not necessarily. Look back at the 2004-2005 season. We were the 2nd seed in the West (behind Phoenix) and we won the division title. Of course, we all know what happened after. :)

  • Jim Henderson

    That would be a nice pick-up. A tough-nosed veteran wing-defender that is 5th active ALL-TIME in career 3-point shooting %.

    “The Miami Heat are tying to recruit Bell, but it appears the Lakers and San Antonio Spurs could be the two top remaining suitors for Bell.

    “The Lakers have a little less than $1.8 million of their midlevel exception left to pay Bell after agreeing to a four-year, $16 million contract with point guard Steve Blake(notes).

    After agreeing with 2007 first-round pick Tiago Splitter(notes) on a three-year, $10.9 million contract, the Spurs have nearly $2.4 million left in the midlevel exception to offer Bell.”

    Pop, figure out a way to beat out the Lakers on this!

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=ys-freeagentbuzz071310

  • Jim Henderson

    ruth bader ginobili
    July 13th, 2010 at 6:14 am

    “My guess: Duncan: 30 mins; McDyess: 18 mins; Splitter: 20 mins; Blair: 18 mins; Bonner: 10 mins.”

    If Blair doesn’t get close to 25 mpg., we have a problem. McDyess should be 12-15 mpg.

  • Spurlady

    @ BrazilSpursFan
    Splitter played 10 years in Spain and is more fluent in Spanish than in English. He and Manu will have no trouble communicating. He took 2 questions in Spanish during the press conference.

  • Jim Henderson

    SAinSLC
    July 13th, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    It’s often hard to get a guy that’s an excellent defender AND a 40% 3-point shooter for 2 million dollars. And, if we have to take one or the other, I’d prefer the excellent defender over the shooter but mediocre defender. The Spurs main problem for contending is defense, not offense.

    That said, if we want to have the best chance to contend in Duncan’s window, Raja Bell could be a critical piece that may be affordable because he’s an older vet coming off an injury. Bell can defend AND shoot the three.

    Aparently Kobe’s meeting with Bell Wednesday to try & recruit him for the Lakers, but the Lakers have more than a million less over two years to pay him. I say Tim sets up a meeting with Bell right after Kobe. They’re both from the Virgin Islands, and Tim can tell him that he believes Bell is the missing link for another Spurs title, and wave some extra cash. They can be the David’s slaying the bought off Goliath’s of LA & Miami. I think that might appeal to Bell. He’s not the classic front-runner.

  • DorieStreet

    @ThatBigGuy-

    Although he filled his role for the most part during the ’07 title run (I always felt he was a ‘fellow countryman’ concession to Manu) Oberto’s offensive game was pedistrian at best. For a league mvp and leader of a perenial playoff team, I expect Splitter’s to be strong & multi-faceted. Good observation about a shorter season. If I did the math correctly, the combined total game average for the Spanish and Euroleague seasons is 53- roughly 2/3 of an NBA season. I don’t forsee a “rookie wall” for Splitter, but maybe an intense endurance program starting now and leading up to training camp. He needs to increase him game time from 29 minutes- 5 minutes over a half- to 32 – 4 minutes under 3 quarters.

  • Jason

    I think the spurs will do surprisingly well this season. I think parker, duncan and manu will play as if it were their last seasons, and parker and manu especially will play with a chip on their shoulders, and it’s a contract year for parker.

    But that’s not all, Splitter is better than many ppl think and was surprisingly a cheap acquisition. He hasn’t proved himself in the NBA, but he plays the pick and roll (on offense and defense) very well and blocks shots and rebounds very well as well. Most impressive though is his post-work. He’s got a good feel for the game and he plays physical even for his size (6’11/7’0). Plus if ginobili thinks hes a good player, you know he is.

    James Anderson is solid too, good enough that he can become a 3-point threat along with Bonner and he defends very well. Based on the talent pool from the toros, it seems optimistic that at least one player will emerge as a solid rotation player for the spurs this season.

    I hope we win it all.

    I’m also hopeful on prosepect george hill because he’s so good on defense, and towards the end of the season started to show good one on one play and off the dribble shooting.

    And duncan is duncan.

    His lowpost footwork on offense and defense is polished, and he’s been playing he pick and roll with some of the best guards in Europe (that’s a big deal).

    he mostly just needs to adjust to playing against bigger human beings,

  • RO

    RC, Pop lets get either Ronnie Brewer or Raja Bell!!!

  • senorglory

    o.k., all good… now… NO LOCKOUTS!

  • rcast1986

    SAinSLC

    I’ve been living in Utah the past 5 years as well and as a result watch a lot of Jazz games. I like Brewer quite a bit — though perhaps not as much as Bell, as Jim Henderson points out — and I don’t think his offense is as absent as you make it out to be. Then again, that wouldn’t even be what he’s needed for. Not with this version of our boys.

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  • Dr. Who

    “The issue with Bell is that all reports dont’ list the Spurs at the top of his list of teams he’d like to play for. All of the reports I’ve read out there state a list of teams he’s interested in and then at the end of the article it states San Antonio and other teams have expressed interest as well. Not exactly a warm fuzzy feeling there.”

    One thing we do have going for us as far as Bell goes is money (TD is form the VI too but not sure how far that goes). Spurs may not put the full court press on Bell right now since as of today we have ZERO SF’s under contract. I hate RJ, the mess he’s caused by opting out and losing the fat expiring contract, but he’s the best SF we could sign on the market right now. Gotta make signing him a priority, we can’t play 6’6″ Manu at that position night in and out or 6′ 5″ Bell if we’re lucky enough to snag him. And we need a back-up for said SF. Finding a good back up at our price is not an easy task either. Should be interesting to see what happens. Spurs are quiet about Bell, but if the hand is OK, his D and 3pt shooting surely has the FO salivating. Should be interesting to see how it plays out. I still think we miss out on Bell since he hasn’t said we’re at the top of his list. But one can hope.

  • Jim Henderson

    In the end, we lost out on Bell mainly because of money. No big surprise there.

  • J2

    I am really liking the top 12 the Spurs have right now.
    Splitter (45big) Blair (4,5big) Bonner (4,5 big)
    Duncan (45big)McD (45big)
    Jefferson (3) Anderson (2,3) Hairston (2,3)
    Ginoboli (2,3) Hill (1,2)
    Parker (1) Temple (1,2,3)

    Ginobili, Temple, Hairston, and Anderson are all undersized 3′s (6’6″ or shorter) and can only be used at the 3 situationally.

    Jefferson is not under contract, and may have played his last game as a Spur.

    Until Jefferson or another starter at the 3 is signed or acquired in trade, the Spurs have a huge hole at the starting 3 position.

    J2

  • J2

    I probably should have made it clear I was quoting another poster in the first paragraph of the previous posting.

    A player the Spurs should take a look at is Curtis Withers. Withers is on the D-league Select team in the summer league. These are a group of D-leaguers not on the extended 15-man roster of any NBA team and thus are free agents (who would be delighted by the entry level salary for an undrafted rookie).

    Withers plays the 3 position and put up some nice stats against the summer league teams fielded by NBA teams. He appears to be better than James Gist anyway, and I’d like to see him invited to training camp.

    J2

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