There are plenty of questions surrounding what the roster of the San Antonio Spurs will look like next season, but the franchise is somewhat secure in knowing that its best player isn’t going anywhere.
Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are in the final years of their respective deals, and retirement at the conclusion of this season remains a real possibility for each. Danny Green will also be an unrestricted free agent, and its unclear whether or not the Spurs will be willing to go as high for his services as others might once he hits the open market.
Kawhi Leonard, Finals MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, will be a restricted free agent this summer, which means the Spurs can match any offer he may receive. While there would be no shortage of teams lining up to sign Leonard to a four-year max offer sheet that would force San Antonio’s hand, he’s not planning to go that route, mainly because he won’t have to.
For now, there’s no scenario where Leonard plans to pursue offer sheets on the market, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
Leonard wants to be a Spur, and the Spurs are expected to come calling on July 1 with the max offer that they resisted delivering Leonard in the preseason, a move born out of preserving cap space to bring on a star free agent this summer.
Leonard will almost certainly sign a five-year max deal to stay in San Antonio this summer, and while just about anyone else would love to try to steal him away with an offer sheet, it appears as though no other team will get that chance.
Mavericks coach Carlisle rips officials, claims ‘there’s too much physical stuff going on’ after Game 3 loss to Rockets
After a game when your team gave up 130 points in regulation and somehow managed to only lose by two, it seems silly to rip the officials over a single perceived bad call that took place on the fourth quarter’s very first possession.
But that’s the route Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle took, following a Game 3 loss to the Rockets that put his team in an impossible three games to none series deficit.
“My hope is that in Game 4 – the one play that’s kind of an image stuck in my mind, and I just looked at it six times on the film, is the first play of the fourth quarter,” Carlisle said. “We’re scrambling like hell defensively, and Devin Harris is going to get the ball, and Dwight Howard throws him into our bench. He takes the ball, skips it over the top and Ariza gets a wide-open three.
“So, instead of us getting the ball, and a foul on Howard, it turns into essentially a 5-6 point swing. That stuff’s got to stop. The officials [have] got to get that stuff under control, because there’s too much physical stuff going on. Howard is throwing people all over the place. And that can’t happen in Game 4.”
(The sound was left out intentionally, because in the Mavericks home arena it sounded like a homicide had just occurred when Howard secured the rebound after stiff-arming Harris out of bounds.)
It could have been a loose ball foul, certainly. But this one play had little to do with the game’s final outcome, and watching it six times immediately after a loss that effectively ended your team’s season doesn’t seem like the most productive way to spend one’s time.
Paul Pierce after hitting dagger three to beat Raptors: ‘That’s why I’m here!’ (VIDEO)
Now with the Wizards a year later, Pierce did the exact same thing.
Washington held a three-point lead, and would need to get a shot off with about 17 seconds still remaining. If the Raptors could get a stop and a rebound, they’d have plenty of time to try to tie the game and send it into overtime.
But Pierce would have none of it, and rained home a three-pointer that sealed the Game 3 victory, and essentially ensured that Toronto’s season would be finished.
Just like he did a season ago, Pierce reminded fans that he’s here simply to make plays like these.