Reggie Williams,  Al Thornton, Tiago Splitter

Spurs’ Splitter gets insurance, will play for Brazil

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Suddenly NBA players are like a lot of Americans — without health insurance.

Which is a big problem for the international players who want to help their teams qualify for the 2012 London Olympics through a series of FIBA Tournaments around the globe. Insurance doesn’t just have to cover treatment and rehab of an injury, there is the money owed on contracts and team issues that have to be covered in these policies. They are not cheap.

But Brazil’s basketball federation has stepped up to insure San Antonio’s Tiago Splitter, according to the Spurs blog at the Express-News.

He will play for the team in a series of exhibitions (including one against Team USA, which is filled with college players this summer), then in the FIBA Americas tournament in Argentina that will determine the Olympic qualifiers from the Western Hemisphere. (The USA has already qualified by winning last summer’s World Championships in Turkey — thank you Kevin Durant.)

The Spurs also have Tony Parker (France) and Manu Ginobili (Argentina) dealing with the insurance issue. And there are numerous other players on other teams in the same boat. The solution is going to have to come from the national federations, but in the case of a team like France with six NBA players it can get very, very expensive.

Stan Van Gundy rips ‘selfish’ Pistons

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The Pistons had just 19 assists – to 22 turnovers – in their 93-83 loss to the Nets last night.

Stan Van Gundy was none too pleased.

On offensive problems:

I told them in there – that was the first thing – we’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance, and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men. They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot, so the passing angles were gone. I just thought we forced play after play after play. We’re not willing to move the ball

On Reggie Jackson, who scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists and six turnovers, and was coming off Achilles soreness:

He was not good at all. He was forcing everything.

On injuries to point guards – Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake – hindering the team’s flow in practice and that carrying over to the game:

We could probably make a lot of excuses for our guys, but we were selfish.

Van Gundy is clearly trying to send a message, and the preseason is the best time to do it.

But it’s somewhat troubling he had to do it after this game.

Eight of the 10 Pistons who played against Brooklyn project to make the regular-season rotation. Joel Anthony played over Aron Baynes, and once healthy, Blake could challenge Spencer Dinwiddie to become back up point guard – at least until Jennings is ready. Otherwise, Detroit – with Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond, Jodie Meeks, Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver – looked similar to its opening-night lineup.

Van Gundy is blunt, but he doesn’t tell the media things he hasn’t already directly told his players. They appreciate that.

He’d appreciate them getting this message.

Report: Dwight Howard didn’t have offseason surgery

Dwight Howard
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Dwight Howard said he played with a torn MCL and meniscus in the Western Conference finals – pretty shocking news that few knew what to make of.

So, um, did he have offseason surgery?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Howard obviously feels great about his health now, so maybe this was the right course.

We’ll never how Howard would have performed if fully healthy, but he averaged 14.4 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game against the Warriors during the conference finals. How bad could the injuries have been?