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The San Antonio Spurs today announced that assistant coach Becky Hammon has been promoted. Hammon fills the position vacated by James Borrego who was named head coach of the Charlotte Hornets on May 10.

According to the San Antonio Express News, “although the Spurs do not rank their assistants, the move essentially makes her the team’s No. 3 bench assistant behind Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka.”

Hammon has served as an assistant on the Spurs coaching staff since 2014, following a 16-year career in the WNBA. She served as head coach of the Spurs Las Vegas Summer League teams in 2015 and 2016, guiding the 2015 squad to the Summer League championship.

Named one of the WNBA’s Top20@20, an honor given to the WNBA’s 20 greatest and most influential players in the league’s 20-year history, Hammon played eight seasons for the San Antonio Stars (2007-14) and eight seasons for the New York Liberty (1999-2006). A six-time WNBA All-Star, Hammon ranks ninth in league history in points (5,841), third in three-point field goals made (829), fifth in assists (1,708) and 10th in games played (450).

Spurs draft Lonnie Walker with 18th pick

The San Antonio Spurs selected Lonnie Walker IV with the 18th overall pick in the first round and Chimezie Metu with the 49th overall selection in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft, which took place last night in Brooklyn, NY.

Walker, 6-5/205, played last season at Miami University, leading the Hurricanes in scoring by averaging 11.5 points to go along with 2.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 27.8 minutes in his 32 appearances. The Reading, Pa. native was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team in his lone season at Miami. Walker also became the first freshman in school history to earn all-league honors, receiving Honorable Mention All-ACC, while helping the Hurricanes finish 22-10.

Metu, 6-11/225, spent last year at the University of Southern California earning All-Pac-12 First Team honors. The Lawndale, Calif. native averaged 15.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.74 blocks in 31.0 minutes in 34 appearances last year during his junior season for the Trojans. Metu played in a total of 104 games and averaged 12.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.62 blocks in his three seasons at USC, finishing his career third in school history with 168 blocks.

Kawhi Leonard reportedly seeks a trade

Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard is one of the most talented players in the NBA. When healthy. Here’s the LA Times reporting on Leonard’s apparent desire to take his talents away from San Antonio:

Add Kawhi Leonard to the list of NBA stars with an interest in playing in Los Angeles.

That interest is mutual from the city’s two NBA teams — with some conditions.

The star forward’s desire to leave the San Antonio Spurs became clear on Friday morning, when the San Antonio Express News first reported he wanted to be traded. According to sources not authorized to speak publicly, the Lakers have long been Leonard’s preferred destination, though the Clippers are among the teams he would consider.

Neither the Lakers nor the Clippers have had trade discussions with the Spurs yet, but both teams have concerns about the severity of Leonard’s quadriceps injury. That injury sidelined Leonard for most of last season. He spent several months away from the team while rehabbing, which led to public barbs from Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich about Leonard’s absence — an unusual move for the Spurs.

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The Spurs looked totally down and out in their first-round playoff series against the Warriors, yet were able to come up away with a Game 4 win. Here’s the San Antonio Express News reporting:

Spurs acting coach Ettore Messina made one key defensive adjustment in Game 4, assigning Danny Green to defend Klay Thompson from the start. Thompson had been abusing matchups against the smaller Patty Mills throughout the first three games, averaging 25.6 points. With a bigger, longer defender on him in Game 4, Thompson went 4 of 16 from the floor and finished with 12 points. The Spurs also took the novel approach of putting point guard Dejounte Murray on Draymond Green, limiting the Warriors forrward’s upside as a playmaker.

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The general rule is, any coach who works as an assistant to Gregg Popovich is probably a good coach. And usually winds up getting offers from other teams fairly quickly. Well, the Hornets have a new GM, and need a new head coach. Here’s the Charlotte Observer with the latest:

The Charlotte Hornets will act quickly to interview San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina for their head-coaching opening, as soon as the Spurs season is complete.

A source familiar the situation said Messina will interview as early as the middle of next week, if the Spurs are eliminated by the Golden State Warriors by then. Ettore coached the Spurs in Thursday’s loss to the Warriors, as head coach Gregg Popovich mourned the death of his wife, Erin.

The Spurs trail the best-of-7 series 3-0. Game 4 is Sunday in San Antonio. A possible Game 5 is Tuesday in Oakland, Calif. It’s yet to be determined when Popovich would rejoin the team.

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The Spurs are a Western conference 4th best 36-25 this season, a solid record considering they’ve played almost all of it without star small forward Kawhi Leonard. He has played just nine games this season. Leading the Spurs has been LaMarcus Aldridge (22.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg). After Aldridge, it’s mostly been a team effort, as nine other players on the team average somewhere between seven and 11 points per game. As for the latest on Leonard, here’s the San Antonio Express-News reporting:

The injured Spurs star was back in San Antonio, and back in the team’s practice facility Tuesday, less than a week after coach Gregg Popovich said he would be “surprised” if Leonard played again this season.

The 26-year-old did not participate in the team portion of the Tuesday’s workout session, nor is it immediately clear when he might be able to…

Concerned with the slow progress of his recovery, Leonard spent the past three weeks in New York, rehabbing and consulting with additional doctors. He has also been in contact with teammates, letting them know he didn’t consider himself done for the season…

Before Leonard can return to game action, he will need to progress through a protocol that includes 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 action. There is cautious optimism Leonard might be able to play again in March, with a soft target date somewhere on the three-game road trip that begins March 8 at Golden State.

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Rudy Gay may return after All-Star break

 

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The Spurs are 32-19 this season. An impressive record, especially taking into account their injuries, which have removed Rudy Gay from action for a big chunk of the season so far, and have limited Kawhi Leonard for the majority of play so far. Gay isn’t ready to return to action yet, but may finally do so in mid February, after the All-Star break. This according to the San Antonio Express-News (via the Houston Chronicle website):

League sources tell the Express-News Gay is expected to return to the lineup after the All-Star break as he continues to recover from right heel bursitis he suffered last month.

According to sources, Gay, who has missed the last 15 games due to the injury, was aiming to return next week, possibly against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. After consulting with doctors, a mutual decision was made to allow Gay more time to heal.

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Kawhi Leonard returns to the injured list

The Spurs began their season with Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker unavailable due to injuries, and now in mid January the 29-16 squad will be without Leonard.

The team announced today that Leonard will be out for an indefinite period of time, so he may continue recovering from right quadriceps tendinopathy.

“Kawhi has made significant progress and continues to move forward in his rehabilitation,” said Spurs General Manager RC Buford, obviously trying to sound as diplomatic as possible. “This is the best approach for the next steps in his return to play.”

Leonard has managed to play in just nine games this season, but has done big things in very limited playing time, averaging 16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 blocks in just 23.3 minutes per outing.

Only four Spurs are averaging double-digit scoring this season: LaMarcus Aldridge at 22.4 ppg, Leonard, Rudy Gay at 11.5 ppg, and Pau Gasol at 10.4 ppg.

According to the San Antonio Express News, “the Spurs will also face the Nets tonight without Rudy Gay, who Popovich said is “still a couple weeks” from returning from a bout of right heel bursitis. They also will not have Manu Ginobili, who Popovich expects will miss tonight’s game and Friday’s contest in Toronto with a thigh contusion. Pau Gasol (hand) and Danny Green (groin) are planning to play through their bumps and bruises, Popovich said.”

Gregg Popovich praises Kobe Bryant

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is a legend. Retired former Lakers star Kobe Bryant is a legend. When a legend discusses another legend, everybody should listen. Because the quotes have a good shot at being… legendary.

Here’s the LA Times reporting what Popovich said as the Lakers were set to retire Kobe’s jerseys Monday:

“His mind was on a par with Michael [Jordan] and Larry [Bird] and Magic [Johnson], guys like that. They thought the game. They knew what was going on. And then on top of that, he had a really phenomenal competitiveness. So it’s not just the talent. It’s the mind and the grit, the guts, the who he is and the way he wanted to compete night after night, which is what made him Kobe Bryant.”

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Kawhi Leonard may be set to return

The Spurs have had an excellent season considering they’ve been without star small forward Kawhi Leonard. Good news: Leonard may finally be ready to return. Here’s the San Antonio Express News reporting:

Kawhi Leonard may be set to return

The wait for Kawhi Leonard’s return may finally be coming to an end. League sources tell the Express-News Leonard could make his season debut for the Spurs on Saturday against the Phoenix Suns barring any setbacks.

According to sources, Leonard participate in a final workout session Thursday. The team will re-evaluate Leonard on Friday. If all goes well, and Leonard feels OK, the two-time Defensive Player of the Year will travel with the team to Phoenix after Friday’s game against Boston to play in the second game of a back-to-back.

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Kawhi Leonard not ready to return yet

The Spurs are 6-4 so far this season. A solid record considering they’ve been without Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker. Three players are averaging double-digit scoring so far: LaMarcus Aldridge (22.4 ppg), reserve Rudy Gay (12.6 ppg) and Danny Green (10.4 ppg). Until Leonard returns, the team is bound to look relatively ordinary. Which isn’t what we’re used to from the Spurs. As for Kawhi, here’s the San Antonio Express News with the latest:

Kawhi Leonard not ready to return yet

While Tony Parker already has three practices under his belt with the Spurs’ G League team, Kawhi Leonard doesn’t seem close to doing three-on-three work, let alone five on five.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked before Tuesday’s game with the Clippers why the 35-year-old Parker is progressing faster with his rehab than Leonard, who is 26.

“He’s just coming along more slowly, for whatever reason,” Popovich said of Leonard, who missed all of the preseason and the first 10 games of the regular season due to right quadriceps tendinopathy.

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Manu Ginobili cheered on road in Miami

Here’s the San Antonio Express News with a feel-good report about a legendary visiting player being treated kindly on the road in Miami:

Manu Ginobili cheered on road in Miami

Heat fans showed their appreciation for Spurs guard Manu Ginobili by giving the 40-year-old future Hall of Famer a standing ovation when he exited Wednesday night’s game for good with 1:52 left.

“It’s always great when it happens on the road,” Ginobili said. “I am kind of spoiled here because there’s so many Argentinians. When I come here, I see all them come to support me and it feels like home. It’s great. Of course, I am thankful.”

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The San Antonio Spurs have signed LaMarcus Aldridge to a contract extension.

The extension is reportedly a three-year deal, worth around $72 million.

The 2017-18 season will mark Aldridge’s third year with the Silver and Black after originally signing with the team on July 9, 2015. An 11-year NBA veteran, he is just one of three players, along with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, to score 1,000 points or more in each of the last 10 seasons. Aldridge has been named to the All-NBA Team four times (Second Team in 2015, Third Team in 2011, 2014 and 2016), earned All-Rookie First Team honors in 2007, and has been selected as an All-Star five times (2012-2016).

In Aldridge’s first two seasons with the Spurs, San Antonio posted back-to-back 60-plus win seasons for the first time in team history going a franchise-best 67-15 in 2015-16 and 61-21 during the 2016-17 season. In 146 games with the Silver and Black, Aldridge is averaging 17.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.16 blocks in 31.5 minutes while shooting .495 (1,036-2,094) from the field and .836 (479-573) from the foul line. During the 2015-16 season he was selected to the All-NBA Third Team and was named an All-Star for the fifth time in his career. Aldridge has appeared in 26 playoff games with the Spurs, averaging 18.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.15 blocks in 33.6 minutes in the postseason.
Originally drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the second overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, Aldridge was dealt to the Portland Trail Blazers in a draft-night trade. He spent his first nine NBA seasons with the Trail Blazers where he appeared in 648 regular season games, averaging 19.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.02 blocks in 35.5 minutes. He is the Trail Blazers all-time leader in rebounds (5,434), second in points (12,562), and fourth in games played (648) and blocked shots (658). His 234 double-doubles also rank first all-time in Trail Blazers history.

In 794 regular season NBA games, Aldridge has averaged 19.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.04 blocks in 34.5 minutes. The 32-year-old has appeared in 60 playoff games, averaging 20.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.52 blocks and 1.5 assists in 37.5 minutes.

Prior to his NBA career, Aldridge spent two seasons at the University of Texas (2004-06). He was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of The Year and was selected to the All-Big 12 First Team as a sophomore.

Spurs exercise contract option on Dejounte Murray

The San Antonio Spurs have exercised their third-year team option on guard Dejounte Murray for the 2018-19 season.

Murray is entering his second season with the Spurs after being selected by San Antonio in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft (29th overall). Last year in his rookie season, Murray averaged 3.4 points, 1.3 assists and 1.1 rebounds in 8.5 minutes in 38 appearances. The former Washington Husky also played in 11 playoff games, averaging 5.7 points, 2.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 15.3 minutes for the Silver and Black.

The San Antonio Spurs today have waived Amida Brimah and London Perrantes.

Brimah was signed on Sept. 25 and averaged 3.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in 5.7 minutes over three games this preseason with the Spurs. Perrantes, signed on Aug. 23, averaged 1.0 points in 4.8 minutes in three preseason games with the Silver and Black.

San Antonio’s roster now stands at 17 players.

Spurs add Amida Brimah to training camp

The San Antonio Spurs 2017-18 training camp roster stands at 19 players, and includes the addition of Amida Brimah.

Brimah (6-10/230) played four seasons at the University of Connecticut, averaging 7.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.64 blocks in 24.7 minutes over 33 games last year in his senior season. A native of Ghana, Brimah is UConn’s all-time leader in career field goal percentage (.637, 347-545) and ranks third in school history in career blocks (367) and blocks per game (2.76), helping the Huskies to the 2013-14 NCAA Championship.

Tony Parker is up there in age but he remains a key member of the Spurs, who enter the 2017-18 season in their usual place, as a contender. It was unclear when Parker would return from injury, but good news has emerged. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

With the San Antonio Spurs set to report to the team facilities Monday for media day, point guard Tony Parker received some positive news Friday when doctors cleared him to participate in the club’s upcoming training camp, after he suffered a season-ending torn quadriceps tendon in May during the Western Conference semifinals.

“The thing is, I did an MRI on Friday, and the doctor said they were really happy with the MRI,” Parker told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “It looked very good. So they cleared me. But it’s still going to be like another, I think, two months to get back in shape and getting my leg stronger.” …

“In my mind, hopefully, I can be back by mid-November, end of November,” Parker said. “But overall, it’s great news. Because at first, the doctors thought it would be the end of January. So it’s still like great news.”

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The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have signed guard Darrun Hilliard to a two-way contract.

Hilliard, 6-6/220, has played the last two seasons with the Detroit Pistons, averaging 3.6 points and 1.0 rebounds in 9.9 minutes in 77 career appearances. Hilliard also appeared in seven games with Detroit’s G League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive, averaging 24.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 33.6 minutes.

Originally selected by Detroit in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft (38th overall), the third-year guard was traded to the Houston Rockets on June 28, 2017. He was then sent to the Los Angeles Clippers the same day before being waived on June 29. Hilliard spent four seasons at Villanova, averaging 11.5 points and 3.0 rebounds in 26.8 minutes in 132 games, earning First Team All-BIG EAST honors in his senior season.

Two-way contracts were added to the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement and will go into effect for the 2017-18 season. Each team will now be able to have the standard 15 players on their roster, as well as up to two additional players on two-way contracts. Two-way players will spend the bulk of the season in the NBA G League, which includes San Antonio’s exclusively owned and operated affiliate, the Austin Spurs.

Spurs re-sign Manu Ginobili

Spurs re-sign Manu Ginobili

Manu Ginobili is keeping it going. The San Antonio Spurs re-signed him today.

According to the San Antonio Express News, “the 40-year-old Argentine dynamo re-signed a two-year deal worth about $5 million, according to league sources.”

The upcoming season will mark Ginobili’s 16th campaign with the Silver and Black, which will make him the eighth player in NBA history to spend his entire career with one team and play at least 16 seasons, along with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, John Stockton, Reggie Miller and John Havlicek.

Over the course of his 15-year NBA career, Ginobili has appeared in 992 games, averaging 13.6 points, 3.9 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.36 steals in 25.8 minutes. He has shot .447 (4,383-9,799) from the field, .370 (1,431-3,863) from three-point range and .826 (3,270-3,958) from the free throw line.

The native of Argentina was drafted by the Spurs with the 57th overall pick in the second round of the 1999 NBA Draft. Coming to San Antonio in 2002, he is the Spurs all-time NBA leader in three-pointers made (1,431), while ranking second in steals (1,349), third in games (992), fourth in free throws made (3,270), as well as fifth in total points (13,467) and assists (3,838). He has twice been named to the All-NBA Third Team (2008, 2011). The 2008 NBA Sixth Man of the Year and two-time All-Star (2008, 2011), He and Parker currently have 652 wins together, fourth-most of any teammates in NBA history. Trailing only Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, Ginobili owns the third-best winning percentage in NBA history of any player that has played at least 500 games (.729, 723-269).

The four-time NBA champion has appeared in 213 career playoff games, averaging 14.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.34 steals in 28.0 minutes. Ginobili and LeBron James are the only two players in NBA postseason history with at least 3,000 points (3,009) and 300 three-pointers (318) in the playoffs. One of 10 players ever to appear in over 200 playoff games, he has come off the bench 160 times and is the all-time leader in NBA postseason history as a reserve in points (1,969), assists (560), total rebounds (620), steals (198), three-pointers made (220), field goals made (615) and free throws made (519). Ginobili and Parker have 131 playoff wins together, which is tied for the most of any duo in postseason history.

Ginobili has been a member of the Argentinian National Team since 1998. He led his home country to the gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and is one of only two players to have won a Euroleague title, an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal (Bill Bradley).

Spurs sign guard London Perrantes

Spurs sign guard London Perrantes

The San Antonio Spurs have signed guard London Perrantes.

Perrantes, 6-2/190, most recently played with the Miami Heat in the 2017 MGM Resorts Summer League, averaging 10.0 points, 5.0 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.50 steals in 27.9 minutes. He also appeared in the 2017 Orlando Pro Summer League with the Heat, averaging 11.3 points, 4.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.33 steals in 28.4 minutes.

Perrantes played four years at the University of Virginia and is the school’s all-time leader in games played (138) and minutes played (4,425). During his senior season, Perrantes averaged 12.7 points, 3.8 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 32.1 minutes, earning All-ACC Second Team honors. For his career with Cavaliers, he averaged 8.9 points, 4.1 assists, 2.7 rebounds in 32.1 minutes while shooting .409 (211-516) from beyond the arc, second all-time in UVA history.

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