Spurs face in-flux Rockets team Saturday

The Spurs aren’t quite sure who will be out on the floor for the Rockets Saturday. Via the Express News:

That scouting report from Thursday night? The Spurs might throw it in the waste basket, although after what happened in their previous meeting with the Rockets, it would be a wonder if anyone not named Keldon Johnson could hit it.

“We will play it by ear and see what they got,” point guard Dejounte Murray said. “We’ve just to be ready to go.”

Their roster in flux because of injury and the relief-inducing trade of All-Star guard James Harden to Brooklyn, the Rockets defeated the Spurs 109-105 on Thursday with just nine players available.

Houston could have more warm bodies for Round 2 today at the AT&T Center. Or the Rockets could be even more short-handed than they were Thursday.

The Spurs are a solid 6-6 so far this season. They’re being led in scoring by DeMar DeRozan at 20.4 points per game, followed by six players who are all averaging between 11.2 and 15.7 ppg.

San Antonio Spurs will continue to play without fans at their home games

The San Antonio Spurs, who on Saturday beat the Raptors in their 2020-21 regular season home opener, will continue to play without fans at the AT&T Center.

“Welcoming fans back to the AT&T Center remains a major organizational priority for all of us,” said Spurs Sports & Entertainment CEO RC Buford. “While we are confident in the plans and protocols we have in place, we are uncomfortable hosting fans at this moment as the COVID-19 numbers and data in our community continue to trend in the wrong direction.”

A team of SS&E officials remain in daily contact with a wide range of local, regional and national officials and public health experts to ensure a safe environment when fans return to the AT&T Center.

“It’s impossible to explain how much we miss seeing and hearing our fans,” said Buford. “We will continue to work tirelessly to do everything in our control to allow us to open our doors to our fans in a safe and timely manner.”

Spurs sign Derrick White to contract extension

The San Antonio Spurs yesterday signed guard Derrick White to a contract extension.

Per multiple reports, White’s extension is a four-year deal worth $73 million.

White posted averages of 11.3 points, 3.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 24.7 minutes last season while ranking second among all NBA guards in total blocks (59), as well as second in the league in charges drawn (30). In seven games during the NBA Restart in Orlando, White averaged 18.9 points, 5.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 29.8 minutes while shooting 39.3 percent from three-point range on 8.0 attempts per game. For his NBA career White has appeared in 152 NBA games, averaging 9.8 points, 3.4 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 23.3 minutes while shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from long range.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, “the move cements White — the 29th overall pick in the 2017 draft — as a key piece of the Spurs’ rebuilding effort moving forward. It marked the second consecutive offseason the Spurs inked a a player with three years of service to a long-term extension. In October 2019, Dejounte Murray signed a four-year, $64-million pact.”

Entering his fourth season with San Antonio, White was also a member of the USA Men’s National Team at the 2019 FIBA World Cup. White was originally selected by San Antonio in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft (29th overall) after playing one season at the University of Colorado after three years at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

San Antonio Spurs hire Danny Ferry, Samson Kayode and Hao Meng

The San Antonio Spurs basketball operations staff made moves today, hiring Samson Kayode as Director of Player Evaluation/Austin Spurs Assistant GM, Hao Meng as Director of Strategic Analysis and Basketball Insight, and Danny Ferry as Basketball Operations Consultant.

In addition, Brendan Bowman has been promoted to Assistant Athletic Trainer, while Brandon Leibsohn has been elevated to Manager of Basketball Strategy.

Kayode spent the last four years as Assistant Director for the USA Basketball Men’s National Team, where he assisted in all facets but primarily focused on developing the Men’s Junior National Team program. Prior to joining USA Basketball, he spent two seasons from 2014-16 as the Video Coordinator for the Detroit Pistons after serving as a video intern for the Golden State Warriors from 2012-14. Kayode was the men’s basketball video coordinator at New Mexico State from 2010-12 while earning his master’s degree after getting his bachelor’s from Morgan State.

Meng joins the Spurs after spending the last seven-plus years at the NBA league office, most recently as Associate Vice President of Basketball Strategy and Analytics. He started with the NBA as a Manager of Team Finance in 2013 before being named Associate Director of Basketball Strategy in 2016. Prior to joining the league office, Meng worked as an investment banking financial analyst at Goldman Sachs for two years after graduating from Harvard in 2011.

Ferry most recently served as the Interim General Manager of the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019 after first being named a special advisor for New Orleans in 2016. The Duke alum served as General Manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2005-10 and President of Basketball Operations for the Atlanta Hawks from 2012-15. Ferry previously worked in San Antonio’s front office from 2010-12 and 2003-05 after he played his last three seasons in the NBA with the Spurs, culminating in an NBA Championship with the Silver and Black in 2003.

Bowman has been with San Antonio for the last three seasons, most recently serving as Medical Systems Assistant. He spent his first two seasons with the Spurs as a medical quality assurance assistant after spending a season as the Athletic Trainer for the Erie Bayhawks, the NBA G League affiliate of the Orlando Magic, in 2016-17. Bowman earned a master’s degree from Minot State in 2016 after graduating from Washington State in 2014.

Leibsohn stays with the Spurs after spending last season as a basketball operations quality assurance assistant. Prior to joining San Antonio, he worked as an associate at Hallier Lawrence law firm from 2015-19. Leibsohn interned in the legal department for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2012 while attending Marquette Law School, where he graduated in 2013 after earning a bachelor’s from Hamilton College (New York) in 2010.

Rockets notes after 112-98 preseason game win over Spurs

Win the win tonight, the Rockets improve to 2-1 this preseason with their final game also hosting the Spurs on Thursday. Since going 3-5 in the 2015 preseason, Houston has posted a 19-6 preseason mark.

The Rockets scored 112 points tonight after having just 91 at Chicago on 12/13. Houston was 40-13 when scoring 110+ points last season and 4-15 when scoring below.

Houston held San Antonio to 98 points. The Rockets have not allowed more than 104 points in a game this preseason. Houston was 21-3 when holding opponents below 110 points last season.

The Rockets outshot the Spurs 44.9% to 42.9%. Houston was 25-3 when outshooting its opponent last season and 20-5 when holding the opposition below 45.0% shooting.

Houston outrebounded San Antonio 51-43 tonight after being outrebounded by an average of 9.5 rpg in the two games vs. Chicago. The Rockets were 20-6 when outrebounding their opponent last season.

John Wall had a team-high tying 15 points with 3 steals tonight. He has scored a total of 49 points in 69 minutes of play this preseason. Wall led the NBA in total steals with 157 in 2016-17 and has ranked top-10 in that category four times.

Ben McLemore led all reserves with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting. He is averaging 11.7 ppg in 20.6 mpg while shooting 52.2% this preseason. McLemore has hit 2 3-pointers in all three games this preseason while shooting 40.0% from behind-the-arc. He averaged 2.5 3FGM on 40.0% shooting in 2019-20.

James Harden and P.J. Tucker both made their preseason debuts tonight. Harden had 12 points and 4 assists in 21 minutes of play while Tucker also played 21 minutes, scoring 8 points with two 3-pointers made. Harden led the league in scoring in each of the past three seasons. The Rockets were 21-8 when Tucker had 2+ 3FGM in 2019-20.

DeMarcus Cousins had game-highs of 11 rebounds, 4 steals and a block tonight. He is averaging 7.3 rpg, 2.0 spg and 1.7 bpg in just 17.7 mpg this preseason. Cousins averaged 8.2 rpg, 1.3 spg and 1.5 bpg in just 25.7 mpg in his last season played which was for Golden State in 2018-19.

Rookie Jae’Sean Tate had 11 points and 7 rebounds in 18 minutes of play off the bench. He is second on the team in rebounding with 17 boards this preseason. Tate was eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft following his senior season at Ohio State and spent the past two seasons playing overseas.

Lonnie Walker IV had a game-high 17 points for the Spurs. He averaged 11.3 ppg in eight games for San Antonio during the seeding games in Orlando after averaging 5.6 ppg in his first 53 games played in 2019-20.

Spurs sign forward Cam Reynolds

The San Antonio Spurs have signed forward Cam Reynolds.

It’s likely a non-guaranteed deal that merely brings Reynolds to Spurs training camp.

Reynolds, listed at 6-foot-8, 225 lbs., spent last season as a two-way player for the Milwaukee Bucks.

A native of Pearland, Texas, Reynolds started all 37 of the games he played with Milwaukee’s G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, averaging 14.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 31.6 minutes.

After spending four years at Tulane and going undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft, Reynolds appeared in 19 games for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2018-19 season, averaging 5.0 points and 1.6 rebounds in 13.7 minutes.

The Spurs will kick off the 2020-21 season on Saturday, Dec. 12 when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder in a preseason game at the AT&T Center.

The current Spurs roster stands at 18 players.

Spurs sign Keita Bates-Diop to a two-way contract

The San Antonio Spurs have signed forward Keita Bates-Diop to a two-way contract.

It’s likely a non-guaranteed deal that merely brings Bates-Diop to training camp.

Bates-Diop, 6-8/230, split last season between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets, appearing in a total of 44 games and averaging 6.5 points and 2.9 rebounds in 16.9 minutes. After being dealt to Denver as part of a four-team trade on Feb. 5, he played in five Playoff games for the Nuggets in Orlando. Suiting up in 30 regular season contests with Minnesota as a rookie in 2018-19, the forward holds career averages of 5.9 points and 2.8 rebounds in 16.8 minutes.

Prior to being selected by the Timberwolves in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft (48th overall), Bates-Diop spent four seasons at Ohio State and averaged 19.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.65 blocks in his final season to earn Big Ten Player of the Year in 2018.

Bates-Diop will wear No. 31 for the Silver and Black.

Spurs sign rookie guard Devin Vassell

The San Antonio Spurs have signed rookie guard Devin Vassell (Vuh-SELL).

Vassell, 6-foot-7, 195 lbs., was selected by San Antonio in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft (11th overall), becoming the first Spurs lottery pick since 1997.

In his sophomore season at Florida State last year, Vassell averaged 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 28.7 minutes while shooting 41.5 percent from three-point range on his way to being named to the All-ACC Second Team. The 20-year-old led Florida State, which also featured the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft (Patrick Williams), in scoring and rebounding to help the Seminoles claim their first ACC regular season championship in school history.

One of just three players in the ACC last season to average 12-plus points and 5-plus rebounds while shooting better than 40 percent from beyond the arc, Vassell helped Florida State to a school-record 29 wins last year, giving him a total of 55 wins in his two seasons in Tallahassee.

Vassell will wear No. 24 for the Silver and Black.

Spurs re-sign center Drew Eubanks

The San Antonio Spurs yesterday re-signed center Drew Eubanks.

Eubanks, 6-10/245, has spent the past two seasons with the Silver and Black as a two-way player. During the NBA restart in Orlando, Eubanks appeared in all eight games and averaged 7.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.38 blocks in 17.6 minutes. The first two-way player to ever start a game for the Spurs, he has appeared in a total of 45 games for San Antonio, averaging 3.3 points and 1.9 rebounds in 8.6 minutes while shooting 62.4 percent from the field.

Eubanks has played in 54 games with the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s G League affiliate, over the past two seasons. The former Oregon State Beaver averaged 16.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 2.20 blocks while shooting 63.6 percent from the field for Austin.

Spurs re-sign Quinndary Weatherspoon to a two-way contract

You may not know who Quinndary Weatherspoon is, but the San Antonio Spurs do, and they like having him around. The team re-signed Weatherspoon, a guard, to a two-way contract.

Weatherspoon spent last season as a two-way player for the Spurs, playing in 11 games for San Antonio, plus 36 games in the G League for Austin. Averaging 1.1 points and 1.0 assists in 7.1 minutes with San Antonio, the first-year player posted 14.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.19 steals in 29.3 minutes for Austin.

Selected by the Spurs in the second round of the 2019 NBA Draft (49th overall), Weatherspoon played four seasons of college basketball at Mississippi State and is one of just three players in school history to accumulate over 2,000 career points.