I almost headlined this sucker “Spurs are doomed, thanks for asking.” I’m not trying to overreact to the last month3 months 6 months, but it’s hard to ignore the very real situation that’s developing in the Spurs’ organization. Namely, if the future is now, they’re in trouble, and if the future is later, they’re in trouble, too.
For now, let’s focus on those long-term prospects. Richard Jefferson has a player option he’ll almost assuredly pick up for $15 million next season.He’ll be an expiring contract, which means he’s movable, but getting out from under that rock won’t be the easiest thing in the world. Even if the Spurs sign no draft picks, and re-sign no players (including franchise stable Manu Ginobili), they’ll still be on the books for $54 million, which may actually be over a reduced-cap.
Then you have to look at the guys that were supposed to cement the future. Like Tiago Spllitter. The Spurs have been waiting on Splitter for years, and now are discovering that Real Madrid in Spain may make an offer. If Splitter isn’t with the Spurs next year, the franchise could be in dire straights, even with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker still around.
We say this, but then, if the Spurs do get it together and make a playoff push, ownership could decide it’s worth it to keep spending in the luxury tax and keep the band together. But if not, R.C. Buford and Popovich are going to have to pull a mighty fine rabbit out of the hat.
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.