The Spurs signed Jeff Pendergraph to a two-year contract in free agency this summer, but Pendergraph will never play for the team — Jeff Ayres will instead.
It’s a long and somewhat interesting story, but the basics are excerpted here as a public service announcement to Spurs fans who may wonder what’s going on once training camp opens in a couple of weeks.
From Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:
Last month, Pendergraph walked into a courthouse in downtown Phoenix, his wife Raneem and newborn daughter Naomi in tow.
He walked out with a new name — Jeff Ayres.
Ayres is family name of his biological father, James. It replaces the surname of a stepfather who hasn’t been in the picture since the player formerly known Jeff Pendergraph was in high school.
For the 26-year-old veteran of three NBA seasons, the journey from Pendergraph to Ayres was in some ways as simple as filling out a thick stack of paperwork and filing it with an Arizona judge.
It was also a complicated decision, with a complex back story, one that tests the traditional definitions of blood and family.
We won’t get into all of the family business here, but suffice it to say that Jeff Pendergraph is no more. The man with career averages of 2.9 points and 2.4 rebounds in 9.2 minutes per game over three NBA seasons will be known as Jeff Ayres from this point forward, as he embarks on the next phase of his career in San Antonio.
The Spurs beat the Mavericks by 26 points on Friday night, a game all of the Dallas players would love to forget. But there was a funny moment for rookie big man Salah Mejri: after a dunk, he appeared to yell something at the San Antonio bench. Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan were completely nonplussed.
For what it’s worth, Mejri later tweeted that he wasn’t intending to be disrespectful.
Hassan Whiteside recorded a triple-double last night against the Hornets, and his tenth block was particularly impressive. He didn’t so much block Marvin Williams‘ layup attempt as pluck it out of the air with one hand. It almost looks like it should count as a block, rebound and steal at the same time.
The NBA world has taken notice of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In Thursday night’s home game against the Knicks on TNT, Pistons players wore warmup shirts that read “FLINT NOW,” and the organization announced a $500,000 donation towards providing clean water for residents of the town.
Former Pistons great and general basketball legend Rasheed Wallace went even further, according to a tweet from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina:
Sheed obviously has a connection to Michigan, having played in Detroit for six years (including on the 2004 title team) and serving as an assistant coach for the Pistons during the 2013-14 season. This was an incredible gesture by him for the residents of a town that has been without drinkable water for a long time.
The Kings are a complete mess right now. After a loss to the Nets on Friday night, the team is reportedly considering firing head coach George Karl, who has been with the team for just about one year, and DeMarcus Cousins says they have “a bigger issue than the players.”
But, on the bright side, Cousins is still a monster on the court. During the Nets loss, he posted a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, showing why he’s the one thing about this franchise that is going to be worth talking about long-term.