Tag: Tiago Splitter


Report: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker part of Spurs pitch to LaMarcus Aldridge (and they may be favorites)


Where is LaMarcus Aldridge leaning in free agency?

Depends on who you ask.

Around the Lakers, there is a sense of confidence they are the front runners. But that is not what you hear everywhere around the league — the Spurs are still right in the mix. Maybe they are even the front runners. And the Spurs are bringing out the big guns for their meeting with Aldridge, reports Marc Spears at Yahoo Sports.

Tim Duncan will join Tony Parker and Gregg Popovich as part of the San Antonio Spurs’ contingent when they meet with Portland Trail Blazers free agent LaMarcus Aldridge on Wednesday morning in Los Angeles, a source told Yahoo Sports….

The Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks, Toronto Raptors and Phoenix Suns are among Aldridge’s suitors, but a source close to the situation said the Spurs are currently the frontrunner.

If you take one thing away from those paragraphs it should be this: Tim Duncan is coming back next season. Why else is he meeting with Aldridge?

We know the order of Aldridge’s meetings, thanks to David Aldridge of TNT and NBA.com.

As for who are the favorites? Only Aldridge knows.

If it is going to be San Antonio, you will see the Spurs making moves and doing an intricate financial dance to clear out cap space — specifically, expect to see either Boris Diaw or Tiago Splitter moved. If that happens, you can start to assume the Spurs are on to something.

Otherwise, maybe it is the Lakers. Or his hometown Mavericks. Or Portland. Or….

Aldridge is the best free agent on the market likely to be on the move. It’s going to be fascinating to watch.

Report: Spurs may look to trade Tiago Splitter

2014 NBA Global Games - Berlin

Tiago Splitter was a key cog in a Spurs machine that made it to the Finals in each of the last two seasons. Playing alongside Tim Duncan up front, Splitter was a capable defender and rebounder who was a fantastic fit in San Antonio’s overall scheme.

This year, however, was a little bit different. Splitter was dealing with a calf injury near the end of the regular season, and it bothered him in the playoffs to the point where he was largely ineffective as the Spurs were eliminated from the postseason at the hands of the Clippers.

Splitter has two more years on his deal at $8.5 and $8.25 million respectively, and with San Antonio looking to max out Kawhi Leonard, while still having cash available to chase free agents and potentially re-sign Tim Duncan, the team may look to move that contract before July’s free agency period begins.

From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:

The working assumption nonetheless persists that the Spurs, with maestro executive R.C. Buford as their offseason point man, will manufacture at least $20 million in salary-cap space this summer to go after Aldridge — or Memphis’ Marc Gasol — even if Leonard is maxed and Duncan returns.


One scenario on the personnel grapevine gaining steam is the notion that the Spurs could elect to explore the possibility of dealing away Tiago Splitter to create more financial flexibility. Splitter has two years left on his contract valued at just under $17 million and is quietly regarded as a key contributor in San Antonio given how well he fits as a frontcourt sidekick next to Duncan. But if you’re the Spurs — and if the increasingly loud rumbles about Aldridge having San Antonio as the preferred destination atop his wish list prove true — examining Splitter’s trade market might suddenly become unavoidable.

If the Spurs are able to persuade either Marc Gasol or LaMarcus Aldridge to come in free agency, then Splitter becomes an unnecessary redundancy. But even if both of those particular All-Stars choose to sign somewhere else, looking to deal Splitter may be wise if the team thinks it can replace his skill set with a younger, less-expensive option.

Spurs get a little lucky, are plenty good, get road win in Game 5 over Clippers

Blake Griffin, Tim Duncan

LOS ANGELES — In a close, evenly-played game like this, it comes down to a thousand little things.

For the Clippers, it was death by a thousand cuts: a Chris Paul technical; the team going 1-of-14 from three; letting the Spurs grab a late offensive rebound; calls not going their way; and a tired Blake Griffin having a fantastic game then going 1-of-9 in the fourth quarter due in part to fatigue.

And it was DeAndre Jordan tipping in a ball over the cylinder that was going in on its own.

“It was a dumb ass play… can’t blame anybody for that but me,” Jordan said.

The Spurs just kept executing and making plays: Tim Duncan hitting Boris Diaw for the corner three; Duncan blocking Blake Griffin in the paint (then stripping the ball from him); Manu Ginobili beating out Matt Barnes to get a rebound with the game on the line. And even when the Spurs didn’t execute well, Diaw hit a bail-out 18-foot fadeaway he even described as “lucky.”

It all added up to a 111-107 Spurs win in Staples Center Tuesday night. With the win the Spurs take a 3-2 lead home and will try to close it out in games six Thursday in San Antonio.

It’s tempting to describe the game as just the kind the Spurs find a way to win, but coach Gregg Popovich was not buying that.

“One would assume that experience would help you, but not as much as players making plays,” Popovich said.

Popovich made one key adjustment, putting Duncan on Griffin for key stretches of the game, including the fourth quarter. Most of the season, the Spurs prefered to use Tiago Splitter on Griffin, but with Splitter injured and playing limited minutes it wasn’t working. So Popovich turned to the future Hall of Famer.

Griffin put up numbers — 30 points, 14 rebounds — but he struggled down the stretch. That included a key block then strip by Duncan of Griffin in the paint.

“His timing is just impeccable,” Popovich said. “He has a hard time jumping over the proverbial piece of paper, and he gets in position. He knows where to be. He’s played long enough, he’s got a great basketball IQ, and he has excellent timing, so he reads things well….

“It might have been the play of the game when he blocked that shot.”

That was one. The other was a Griffin basket with :07 seconds left that would have put the Clippers up by one, but was waived off when Jordan touched it over the cylinder.

“I was just trying to make a play on the ball, but it ended up being a dumb play,” said Jordan, who admitted touching the ball.

Early on it seemed this could be a good night for Los Angeles. The Spurs opened the game 4-of-14 shooting, the misses allowing the Clippers to get out and run — and that means high-flying dunks that got the crowd going. Add some bad rotations on defense and things got so weird Popovich called for some zone defense. It was pretty much the dream start for the Clippers, who led by as many as 14… then Doc Rivers went to his bench. That zone and the Clipper bench meant by the end of the quarter it was 27-22 Clippers and felt like a game again.

When the Clippers starters returned, the team went on a run, but this time the Spurs were not going to let the game get away. A seesaw second quarter ended with a 54-53 Clippers lead at the half. Blake Griffin already had 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting, plus eight rebounds.

The Spurs had a vintage Spurs night — Ducan had 21, Kawhi Leonard 18, but the Spurs had eight guys with at least 8 points. Their balance makes them hard to defend.

The Clippers are more top-heavy in their scoring, and in the end Griffin was clearly tired and not making plays. Not that it was his fault the Clippers lost. It was just another of a thousand little cuts.

Tony Parker in for Game 3 of Spurs-Clippers

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Two

Tony Parker left the Spurs’ Game 2 win over the Clippers with an Achilles injury, and San Antonio listed him as questionable for tonight’s Game 3.

Good news for the Spurs:

Parker helps, but I don’t see this as much more than depth. The Spurs have two other point guards – Patty Mills (offensively) and Cory Joseph (defensively) – who combine to get the job done. Parker just hasn’t been the same this season, including so far in the playoffs.

Still, Parker is experienced and capable of playing well on both sides of the court. He makes San Antonio stronger at point guard. He’s just no longer indispensable, as Game 2 showed.

If Aron Baynes can’t play, that’s not necessarily a huge deal. But if Tiago Splitter, who isn’t far removed from his own injury concerns, suffers a setback, Baynes’ absence would quickly become a big deal.

PBT First Round Playoff Previews: Los Angeles Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs

Los Angeles Clippers v San Antonio Spurs


Clippers: 56-26 (third place in Western Conference)
Spurs: 55-27 (sixth place in Western Conference)
Season series tied 2-2


Clippers: No significant injuries

Spurs: Tiago Splitter is battling a calf injury, he practiced with team Friday but will be limited (this matters, Splitter is a good defender on Blake Griffin). Matt Bonner has a calf injury, missed the final game of the season and may miss the start of the series.


Clippers: 109.8 points scored per 100 possessions (1st in NBA); 103 points allowed per 100 possessions (15th in NBA).
Spurs: 106.2 points scored per 100 possessions (7th in NBA); 99.6 points allowed per 100 possessions (3rd in NBA).


1) Chris Paul vs. Kawhi Leonard. Gregg Popovich is not going to use the best on-ball defender in the league on CP3 exclusively, but when it gets to crunch time in games you can expect this matchup. We didn’t see this much in the regular season; the teams didn’t play after mid-February, so the Clippers didn’t see dominant late-season Leonard. Chris Paul is smart and efficient setting up the Clippers offense, but Leonard’s length and athleticism give every player he guards trouble. It’s a huge question for this series: Can CP3 be CP3 late in games with Leonard blanketing him? If this takes the ball out of his hands, can the other Clippers effectively orchestrate the offense? This is going to be a joy to watch unfold.

2) Hack-a-Jordan. Personally, I prefer the term “hack-the-DJ,hack-the-DJ” sung to the tune of the Smith’s “Panic.”

This should be the best first-round series in the land, and it will be marred at times by Gregg Popovich ordering fouls on DeAndre Jordan, who shot 39.7 percent from the line this season. The last times these teams met Jordan took 26 free throws because of the strategy (he hit 10). More than just the missed free throws, for the Spurs this works because it disrupts and stalls the best offense in the NBA. Then eventually Rivers is forced to sit Jordan and replace him with a lesser player (Glen Davis or Spencer Hawes). It’s also just painful to watch. Having to suffer through this on what will be a much-watched first-round series is maybe the impetus to force a rule change, but not in time for this series. If it works, you can be sure the ruthless Popovich will go to it over and over.

3) Clippers lack of depth vs. Spurs bench. Doc Rivers tried to fill out the Clippers’ bench this season, he went out and got Spencer Hawes and Hedo Turkoglu, they tried guys like Jordan Farmar and Austin Rivers. None of it worked well. Jamal Crawford remains a quality sixth man, but that’s where the rotation stops. Because of that Rivers leans on his starters heavily — the Clippers starting five was the most used lineup in the NBA by more than 300 minutes (that despite Blake Griffin missing 15 games). Meanwhile, the Spurs’ bench is a Swiss Army Knife that Popovich can unfold in a variety of ways, depending on what the matchup calls for. He trusts Marco Belinelli, Patty Mills, Matt Bonner, and the rest to make plays if their number gets called. And they do. What this gives Popovich is more pieces on the chess board to move around and try to exploit specific situations and match ups. That versatility will be key for San Antonio as the series moves on, and Rivers may not have the players to counter Pop’s moves.


This is not a first-round matchup, this is a conference finals level matchup — the Clippers and Spurs were second and third in the league respectively in point differential per 100 possessions. These are two of the NBA’s top five teams by any reasonable measure, and yet one team will not even make the second round. (This is also Golden State’s dream scenario, let these two challengers beat each other up and avoid either one until the conference finals.) This is clearly the best first round series this year.

The Clippers are an excellent team, but I think Doc Rivers the GM will have tied Doc Rivers’ the coach’s hands too much. The lack of depth leads to a lack of versatility that is the strength of the Spurs. Then there’s the fact the Clippers’ defense isn’t great — they play an aggressive, Heat-style trapping defense, but not as well and it can be exploited with ball movement. Add it all up and you’re left with a Los Angeles side that needs to play almost flawlessly to win this series. I don’t think they can do that four times out of seven. It’s going to be physical, hard fought and close, but I’ll take the Spurs in six.