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.
When we last saw Sam Young, he was trying to get under the skin of LeBron James as a member of the Indiana Pacers during last season’s Eastern Conference Finals.
Indiana’s bench (along with their ridiculous amount of turnovers) was considered the team’s primary weakness last year, and after upgrading in that department with the acquisitions of Luis Scola, Chris Copeland, and C.J. Watson, Young as an unrestricted free agent finds himself looking for a home for next season.
Multiple teams are reportedly interested, but most recently, Young met with the San Antonio Spurs.
From Chris Goff of IndySportsLegends.com:
Former Pacer Sam Young is in San Antonio meeting with the Spurs today, his agent tells me. Several other clubs have expressed interest.
If Young signs with the Spurs, he’d join assistant coach Jim Boylen and PF Jeff Pendergraph as offseason poaches from Indy.
There would be some familiarity there with Boylen in place as an assistant coach, and although Young averaged just 2.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 12.4 minutes per game for the Pacers in the regular season last year, his postseason experience playing against the eventual champs on the big stage could be an appealing quality in a player that would be no more than an addition to the end of the rotation.
It’s worth noting that San Antonio already has 14 players in place with guaranteed contracts for next season, and with the maximum allowed being 15, they’ll likely take their time in finding the right player to round out the roster.
With Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals long decided and the bench players running out final moments of the Heat’s win over the Pacers, Norris Cole and Jeff Pendergraph were ejected.
Pendergraph shoved Cole as Cole attempted to fight through a Pendergraph screen, and both postured at each other to indicate they weren’t afraid of throwing down. Unless Cole said something, it didn’t appear he did anything to warrant an ejection. Must he immediately retreat once Pendergraph pushes him? I don’t think that’s a fair standard.
More likely, the officials just wanted to prevent a clearly frustrated Pacers team from escalating the problem and diffused the situation by ejecting both players.
As the players waited for the referees to sort out the problem, Pendergraph started jawing with Flo Rida’s manager, according to Craig Sager. The manager was ejected from the arena, and Flo Rida ensured he left in a timely fashion, Sager said.