Report: Spurs may look to trade Tiago Splitter


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

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.

Former Knick, current Grizzly Beno Udrih says Marc Gasol not New York kind of guy


The Knicks and Lakers are big brands in big markets with some big cash to spend this summer on free agents — and both are going big game hunting. They want to land the best players out there on the market.

Marc Gasol is one of those guys. He is arguably the best center in the game today, and he would be a perfect fit as a triangle big because of his passing and midrange game.

But don’t bet on him being a Knick, says former Knick and current Gasol teammate in Memphis Beno Udrih, speaking to the fantastic Jered Zwerling of Bleacher Report.

That same logic should apply to the Lakers.

Remember, Gasol came to the United States and played his high school ball in Memphis — his family moved there after older brother Pau Gasol was drafted by the Hawks then traded to the Grizzlies (for Brevin Knight and Lorenzen Wright, BTW). He has deep ties to Memphis. Plus he is playing for a borderline contender, a team that can and will offer him a longer and richer contract than the Knicks (or Lakers) can. Let’s put it this way, nobody I’ve talked to around the league thinks Gasol is leaving Memphis (San Antonio being the one team that could maybe tempt him slightly).

LaMarcus Aldridge on the other hand

Stephen Curry wins MVP with 100 of 130 first-place votes, but James Harden closest second place in four years


We knew Stephen Curry would win NBA MVP, but we didn’t know how close the race would be.

The Warriors guard bested James Harden by more than one ballot.

Curry took 100 of 130 first-place votes. Second-place James Harden had 25, and third-place LeBron James took the other five. Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis and Chris Paul rounded out the final six major candidates.

Harden showed on 129 of 130 ballots, which allowed the Rockets guard to be the closest second-place finisher in points since LeBron James topped Kevin Durant in 2012.

Here’s the full voting with player, team (first-place votes, second-place votes, third-place votes, fourth-place votes, fifth-place votes, points):

  • Stephen Curry, Golden State (100-26-3-0-1-1,198)
  • James Harden, Houston (25-87-13-4-0-936)
  • LeBron James, Cleveland (5-12-62-32-12-552)
  • Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City (0-5-33-41-29-352)
  • Anthony Davis, New Orleans (0-0-9-35-53-203)
  • Chris Paul, L.A. (0-0-10-15-29-124)
  • LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland (0-0-0-1-3-6)
  • Marc Gasol, Memphis (0-0-0-1-0-3)
  • Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers (0-0-0-1-0-3)
  • Tim Duncan, San Antonio (0-0-0-0-1-1)
  • Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio (0-0-0-0-1-1)
  • Klay Thompson, Golden State (0-0-0-0-1-1)

Warriors cruise to Game 1 win over Grizzlies


Stephen Curry ran a pick-and-roll with Festus Ezeli, but Curry’s pass to Ezeli sailed over the center’s head… right to Leandro Barbosa for a corner 3.

Nearly everything went right for the Warriors in a 101-86 Game 1 over the Grizzlies on Sunday – Golden State’s first game since completing a first-round sweep of the Pelicans eight days ago.

“We stayed sharp in our down time and came out aggressive on both ends of the floor,” said Curry, who had game highs with 22 points, seven assists and four steals. “When you get off to a good start, it builds your confidence, and you kind of roll from there.

The Warriors have won 21 straight home games. With another contest in Oakland on Tuesday and Mike Conley’s availability still in doubt, they’re definitely positioned to keep rolling.

In Game 1, Memphis never seriously threatened Golden State, which led by at least a dozen nearly the entire second half. The Warriors were balanced with key contributions from Draymond Green (16 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals), Klay Thompson (18 points and six assists) and Harrison Barnes (11 points on 4-of-4 shooting, three rebounds and three assists).

The common thread for Golden State: Everyone contributed to a well-spaced offense that created 13-of-28 3-point shooting. The Grizzlies could neither stop it nor keep up, shooting 3-of-12 from beyond the arc themselves.

It’s hard to see how that changes soon.

Zach Randolph (20 points, nine rebounds and five assists) and Marc Gasol (21 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals) had their moments, but things are dire on the perimeter without Conley. Memphis even played a while in the second half without a point guard.

This was easy for the Warriors, and in the absence of drama, their fans even found a villain in Tony Allen. The Grizzlies guard walked through Golden State’s kids dance team routine and was booed lustily from there:

Who said Memphis couldn’t be offensive enough?

PBT Second-Round Playoff Previews: Golden State Warriors vs. Memphis Grizzlies



Golden State Warriors: 67-15

Memphis Grizzlies: 55-27


Golden State Warriors: none

Memphis Grizzlies: Mike Conley (face)

OFFENSE/DEFENSE RANKINGS (points per 100 possession)

Golden State Warriors: Offense 109.7 (4th in NBA), Defense 98.2 (1st in NBA)

Memphis Grizzlies: Offense 103.1 (13th in NBA), Defense 99.9 (4th in NBA)


1) How healthy is Mike Conley?

The Grizzlies point guard, who’s expected to miss at least Game 1, is very good and very important to Memphis.

He penetrates well, gets the defense moving and then makes the right pass. He’s also a good 3-point shooter on a team lacking for those. Best of all, he executes well in a slow pace that probably favors the defense.

Plus, he’s a superb defender who makes life easier for the bigs behind him. (Though it’s possible nobody can defend Stephen Curry, anyway).

Even while dismantling the Trail Blazers in five games, Memphis outscored them by just two points in 161 minutes without Conley (and 32 in 79 minutes with him).

Beno Udrih and Nick Calathes are underrated backups, and both had their moments against the Trail Blazers. But besting low expectations is not nearly enough against Golden State.

The Grizzlies need their near-All-Star point guard.

2) Can the Grizzlies post-up – without getting burned on the other end?

The Grizzlies led the NBA in points scored on post-ups by featuring Zach Randolph (fourth in post-up points per game) and Marc Gasol (sixth).

But the Warriors have two of the league’s better post defenders in Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut.

It should be a fun matchup between those pairings when Memphis has the ball.

However, merely winning the battle is not nearly enough for the Grizzlies. They also need to keep up with Bogut and Gasol on the other end.

Few players capable of handling Randolph and Gasol in the post also possess such offensive versatility. Green hits open 3-pointers well enough that his defender should get pulled outside, and Bogut passes well from the high post. They help the Warriors create a ton of space, and Memphis’ bigs – looking at you, Randolph – will have to show plenty of agility to keep up.

3) Can the Warriors play slowly (and will we even find out)?

Golden State played at the NBA’s second-fastest pace this season. Memphis, on the other hand, played at the second-slowest pace among playoff teams.

The Grizzlies will probably try to slow the tempo, but even if they do, the Warriors should be fine.

Golden State has won all its games played at or below Memphis season-long pace mark, per Nylon Calculus possession stats. But that’s just four games, a very small sample – which is telling.

The Warriors excel at setting the tone. The slowest pace among playoff teams this season? The Pelicans, whom Golden State swept, though that series was the slowest of the first round.

The Grizzlies might be better at deliberately slowing the pace than New Orleans, but probably not good enough – and even if they are, it probably won’t matter.


The Warriors are better, healthier and more rested. They can match Memphis preferred style and then unleash their own machinations.

If Conley were healthy, I’d give the Grizzlies another game. Alas:

Warriors in 4.