Spurs guard Manu Ginobili will be out for four to six weeks with a groin injury, a team source told KENS 5’s Joe Reinagel.
Ginobili suffered the injury during Wednesday night’s victory over the New Orleans Pelicans at the AT&T Center, the source said.
You can be certain the Spurs will be cautious with the 38-year-old Ginobili. But even the high end of this projection would allow Ginobili to return in time to get back in shape for the playoffs.
San Antonio still wants to catch the Warriors for the No. 1 seed – avoiding the dangerous Thunder in the second round and getting home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Losing Ginobili, who was having a bounce-back season and once again playing like a legitimate Sixth Man of the Year candidate, will put a damper in those hopes.
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. –Mo Williams has a future with the Cavaliers. “He’s going to be a huge part of our success,” LeBron James said.
Williams also has a past with Cleveland. He played with the Cavs from 2008-11, and LeBron’s 2010 departure for the Heat devastated him so much, he said he considered retiring.
“I don’t really look in the past,” Williams said.
Nor does he look to the future.
“I just take it one day at a time,” said Williams, who, if he had a desire to discuss his career arc after Cleveland’s loss to the Pistons on Tuesday, did a great job hiding it.
That was the Cavaliers’ second straight loss, dropping them to 8-3 and creating a minor panic for such a hyped team.
But imagine where they’d be without Williams, who has started at point guard for an injured Kyrie Irving. Williams is averaging 15.5 points on 47.7% shooting with 5.3 assists per game. And 8-3 looks great relative to the 1-6 record Cleveland posted without Irving last season.
“Mo’s given us everything we could ask for,” Cavaliers coach David Blatt said.
What a difference a few years make.
During LeBron’s first stint in Cleveland, the Cavs faced frequent questions about their inability to get LeBron a star sidekick. LeBron had just two All-Star teammates in those years: Zydrunas Ilgauskas in 2005 and Williams in 2009.
LeBron didn’t make the playoffs until 2006, so few were sweating his supporting cast when Ilgauskas reached the All-Star game. By the time they traded for Williams in 2008, the Cavaliers had already been to the Finals, where LeBron was overwhelmed by the deep Spurs.
So – with an All-Star appearance to his name – the burden of being LeBron’s top teammate fell to Williams.
That was asking a bit too much of him. Williams is a good jump-shooter, and he passes pretty well, but he’s streaky and has never defended well. He’s no Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh, and he never should have been positioned to be.
Instead, Williams has worn a not-good-enough-for-LeBron label as he made stops with the Clippers, Jazz, Trail Blazers, Timberwolves and Hornets.
Williams returned to a comfortable position this summer by signing with Cleveland – right next to LeBron. His true-shooting percentages with LeBron on the court – 59.1 in 2008-09, 60.6 in 2009-10 and 62.5 in 2015-16 – have been higher than any season without LeBron.
Here are Williams’ shooting percentages without LeBron on the floor as a teammate (wine) and with LeBron on the floor as a teammate (gold):
Williams has assisted LeBron more than anyone has, and nobody has assisted Williams more than LeBron has this season.
They look in sync, just as they did a few years ago:
But it wasn’t long ago Williams was fuming about how LeBron left Cleveland, and that frostiness was just as visible:
That relationship has been repaired, according to Anderson Varejao, who has played for the Cavs since 2004.
“I’m telling you, in the locker or on the court, to me, it feels like it never happened,” Varejao said. “…Dinners together, everything is fine.
“They’re good. They’re good friends.”
How did Williams wind up back in Cleveland to even give himself a chance of reconnecting with LeBron?
Williams has been on the NBA bubble since his knee surgery a few years back — he has put up good numbers in the D-League but struggled once stepping up to the big stage.
In the end, the win-now Spurs went with the veteran they know they can trust. Butler shot 38.7 percent from three last season with the Wizards, and he’s solid on the defensive end. He’s the kind of player who finds a home in the Spurs’ system. You know he’ll make a few plays for them this season.
Fredette is a good 3-point shooter when he can get his shot off. But he’s point guard sized and an a poor distributor. He’s an even worse defender.
He’s a borderline NBA player who probably belongs in the league, though not necessarily on this deep Spurs squad. That they saw enough in him to give such a large guarantee is a little surprising, but they might have just wanted to get the best player possible into camp. Over the salary cap and under the luxury-tax line, it’s just money.
This leaves six Spurs without guaranteed salaries behind 13 with fully guaranteed salaries: