It took a while for Tiago Splitter to find his spot with the Spurs. The former Spanish League player of the year had to learn the NBA style of game and how to play next to Tim Duncan. But coming into this year he put it all together, and now provides the size and presence inside the Spurs have lacked the last few years.
So they are going to miss him against the Lakers on Sunday, and maybe for a number of games after that.
Splitter rolled his ankle early in the fourth quarter Friday in the Spurs Game 3 win over the Lakers. He was on the ground, pounding his fist on the floor in pain, and when he got up had to be helped, limping, directly to the locker room. He later left the building on crutches with an air cast around his leg.
After the game Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said it was a sprain but the X-rays were negative. He added Splitter will be out in Game 4 Sunday, later officials said he will likely be out about a week. Expect to see a lot of DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner. (They will not have Boris Diaw back yet, he is expected to start contact work in practice next week.)
“Like we have done all season, we move things around and guys have to be ready to play,” Tim Duncan said after the game. “Matty and DeJaun have to step up and fill that position for us.”
This is the Spurs, no matter who they plug in it seems to work. And work well.
If the Spurs can close out the series Sunday in Game 4 (and smart money says they will after a 31-point Game 3 win) they will have about a week off in which Splitter can get healthy. Television dictates that most of the series start around the same time and the gams six and sevens of series are set for next weekend. So the second round will not start until then.
And by then, the Spurs could have Splitter back.
Thunder center Enes Kanter – who had passport revoked by Turkey – lacked documentation to travel for a December game against the Nets in Mexico City and a March game against the Raptors in Toronto.
Apparently, that issue has been resolved.
Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman:
Kanter said on Sunday that the team has worked out an arrangement to allow him to travel to games in Toronto and Mexico City even without a passport.
It always seemed highly likely Kanter would get to Toronto and Mexico City. He’s a high-profile millionaire working for a billion-dollar company.
In July, Carmelo Anthony was reportedly confident he’d be traded to the Rockets.
That optimism always seemed misguided. A couple months later, with Anthony still on the Knicks, it looks downright foolish.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:
Anthony’s camp is cautiously optimistic that a deal will be struck before Monday, and trying not to think about the potential media circus that will take place if Carmelo is still with the Knicks.
It’s more likely Anthony’s confidants are hopeful than optimistic. If they’re actually optimistic, they’re very likely to be disappointed.
If Anthony hasn’t been traded by now, what will change between now and Monday? Houston still must find a taker for Ryan Anderson, and that’s no easy task – not without relinquishing sweeteners more valuable than Anthony. I suppose Anthony could waive his no-trade clause for additional teams, but it’s late for a deal to come together.
Hopefully for Anthony, his advisors aren’t pinning everything on a longshot trade and are helping him craft answers to the numerous questions he’ll face at media day next week – likely in New York.
Once an advocate of increasing the age minimum and a willing accepter of one-and-done, NBA commissioner Adam Silver sounded more open about allowing high school players to declare for the NBA draft.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement left the issue open, but Louisville coach Rick Pitino predicts change is coming – relatively soon.
Pitino, via ESPN:
When I was at Kentucky, I had seven high school basketball players, told me they were coming, and instead, they went to the pros out of high school. And by the way, I think that rule is going to change back to that. I think high school players are going to be able to go pro again.
I think the commissioner is probably going to do it within two years.
Does Pitino know something? With decades of experience in the NBA and college, he could have many contacts with inside information. It’s certainly imperative for devising a recruiting strategy to know how this rule will change.
It’s also possible Pitino saw Silver’s comments, like any outsider could have, and is making a relatively blind guess.
But the possibility of inside information makes his comments more intriguing.
The Warriors are charging $60 million over three years for their jersey ads – about double what any other NBA team is getting.
Golden State chief marketing officer Chip Bowers, via Darren Rovell of ESPN:
“We actually had multiple finalists,” Warriors chief marketing officer Chip Bowers said. “This was not the biggest deal that we were offered.”
Bowers said the team felt it was important for the deal to be with a worldwide brand.
Light years ahead.