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Report: Spurs allow Jonathon Simmons to become unrestricted free agent

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The Spurs held tremendous leverage over Jonathon Simmons.

He was an Arenas Rule-limited restricted free agent, meaning his starting salary in an offer sheet couldn’t exceed $8,406,000 (though the third and fourth years could be balloon payments up to the max). His qualifying offer was a miniscule $1,671,382, and even if he accepted it, he’d be restricted again next summer (though without Arenas limitations).

Yet, San Antonio reportedly prepared an offer of $9 million annually. Somehow, negotiations have gone awry.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This suggests the Spurs didn’t actually renounce Simmons, but just rescinded his qualifying offer. That’d make him an unrestricted free agent whose Early Bird Rights are still held by San Antonio.

The Spurs have operated as an over-the-cap team and will likely continue to do so. They could carve out $7,693,651 in space, which would also grant the $4,328,000 room exception. But they’d still need to re-sign Manu Ginobili and Pau Gasol with cap room, the room exception and/or minimum contracts. As an over-the-cap team maintaining Ginobili’s Bird Rights and Gasol’s Non-Bird Rights (technically a form of Bird Rights), San Antonio could pay Ginobili up to the max and Gasol up to $18.6 million starting.

In other words, this was probably just a favor to Simmons. It’s hard to see an advantage the Spurs gained by rescinding his qualifying offer.

I’m not even sure why they granted this favor if they still want to sign him themselves. Today is the last day teams can unilaterally withdraw a qualifying offer, but if they’re just trying to help Simmons, it’s not a real deadline. They could always pull the qualifying offer with his consent later.

I strongly doubt San Antonio feared Simmons accepting the qualifying offer – the usual reason for withdrawing it. Simmons returning on a $1,671,382 salary? That’d be great for the Spurs.

Simmons turns 28 before the season, so this could be his only chance at a big payday. He reached the NBA only after paying to participate in an open D-League tryout.

He’s an athletic wing in a league that can’t get enough of them. His defensive awareness is improving, and he can finish above the rim.

I get why the Spurs want to re-sign him. I don’t understand why they pulled his qualifying offer.

Heat: Justise Winslow out at least two more weeks

Justise Winslow
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MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Heat say Justise Winslow will miss at least two more weeks while recovering from a back injury.

Winslow has played only once since Dec. 4 and is slated to be out for at least the remainder of January. The team originally called Winslow’s injury a back strain, then updated the diagnosis to a bone bruise.

Winslow played off the bench in Miami’s win at Indiana on Jan. 8. The team said the back problems reappeared after that game. He has not played since.

Friday’s game in Oklahoma City is Miami’s 41st of the season and the 30th that Winslow has missed. He’s averaging 11.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists for the Heat this season.

Kevin Huerter’s 3-pointer gives Hawks first win in San Antonio in his lifetime (video)

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The Hawks beat the Spurs in San Antonio on Feb. 15, 1997.

The next year, Kevin Huerter was born.

Atlanta’s next win in San Antonio came Friday, when Huerter hit the game-winning 3-pointer in a 121-120 win.

The Hawks’ losing streak in San Antonio spanned Tim Duncan’s entire lengthy career – and continued a few seasons beyond that. The only reprieve came during the lockout-shortened 1999 season, when Atlanta didn’t visit San Antonio. So, the skid lasted 21 games.

Buddy Hield on Kings getting booed at home: ‘That’s how Sacramento fans are’

Kings guard Buddy Hield
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Buddy Hield is quite familiar with frustration amid the Kings’ disappointing season.

Sacramento fans showed theirs Wednesday, booing the Kings during their home loss to the Mavericks.

Buddy Hield, via James Ham of NBC Sports California:

“Everybody is frustrated, it’s not even them, we’re trying to figure it out too,” Buddy Hield said following the loss. “But it’s the home team and we get booed…we don’t agree with it, but they’re going to voice their opinion.

“I understand their frustration, but like I said, I’m going to keep shooting the ball,” Hield continued. “When I make a three they like me, when I don’t, they hate you. That’s how Sacramento fans are, man, so you’ve got to embrace it.”

Hield seemingly isn’t looking to pick a fight with fans. He made a point to empathize with their frustration.

But I don’t think he’s being fair, either.

Kings fans are far more loyal than swinging between love and hate depending whether or not a shot falls. They’re fed up after 13 – going on 14 – straight seasons missing the playoffs. This year has been particularly discouraging, as Sacramento has backtracked from fun and fast to sad and slow. Losing to Luka Doncica particular grievance – only adds to the irritation.

The Kings’ problems have spanned multiple owners, executives, coaches and players. So, booing this group isn’t totally fair, either. But this is who’s in front of the fans.

If this Sacramento team plays hard and together, fans will embrace it – and stick with it through thinner times.

76ers play 6-on-5 vs. Bulls (video)

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The 76ers found one way to solve their spacing issues.

Philadelphia showed good ball movement, finding Furkan Korkmaz for an open corner 3-pointer. The catch? Korkmaz got open, because the 76ers had six players on the floor.

I love Kyle O'Quinn trying to slink off the court. He wanted to get away with it. Tobias Harris, who jogged to the bench, was practically begging to get caught.

Honestly, I’m a little surprised how quickly the Bulls noticed the violation. It’s not as if their defense scrambling is anything new.