Tiago Splitter is coming off his best season in the NBA. He took on a larger role in San Antonio — he was a starter on a team that went to the seventh game of the NBA Finals, he was the real anchor of their defense, he averaged 10.3 points a game on 56 percent shooting, he grabbed 6.4 rebounds a game and had a PER of 18.7. He’s not an All-Star, but he is a quality NBA big man.
And in the NBA, quality bigs get paid well.
Splitter is on the verge of a four-year, $36 million deal to stay with the Spurs, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Portland had strongly considered signing Splitter to an offer sheet near the $9 million salary that Spurs paid, but Splitter’s representatives and San Antonio worked out most of the details of an agreement on Monday night and into Tuesday, sources said.
This is about the going rate for a quality big man in the NBA today. I think the fourth year could be a little bit of a surprise, but at age 2 four years is a safe bet. If the Spurs decide to make changes down the line, they will be able to move this contract.
Splitter was key to helping Tim Duncan’s renaissance this year, doing a lot of the physical big man dirty work that wears down the older Duncan now. Splitter was at the heart and rim protector of a resurgent Spurs defense that carried this team all the way to the Finals.
If you want to say Splitter isn’t worth it because he struggled against the Heat’s small ball lineups in the Finals, I’ll remind you that without his big body and strong play in the conference finals against Memphis San Antonio would have been watching the Finals on television like you were.
Besides, by now shouldn’t the Spurs get the benefit of the doubt on all their signings?