San Antonio Spurs name Matt Nielsen an assistant coach

The San Antonio Spurs have named Matt Nielsen as an assistant coach. Nielsen joins Becky Hammon and Mitch Johnson on head coach Gregg Popovich’s staff.

Nielsen spent last season as head coach of the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s official NBA G League affiliate. The native of Australia led Austin to a 10-5 record and a spot in the 2021 G League Playoffs. Nielsen spent 2019-20 as an assistant coach in Austin and began his coaching career in San Antonio, serving as a player development assistant during the 2014-15 season. In addition, he was an assistant coach with the Spurs summer league team from 2014-19.

Prior to making the move to the G League, Nielsen spent four seasons (2015-19) as an assistant coach with the Perth Wildcats, where he helped guide the team to three NBL championships.

As a 17-year-old, Nielsen made his professional debut playing with the Sydney Kings in 1995. After nine seasons in the NBL, where he won two championships and was named MVP in 2004, Nielsen moved to Europe and played nine seasons in Lithuania, Greece and Spain.

Nielsen played for the Australian National Team from 1997-2012. He represented the Boomers at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics and helped lead Australia to the gold medal at the 1997 FIBA Under-21 World Championship. Nielsen most recently served as an assistant coach for the Boomers at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo where Australia captured bronze, earning the country’s first-ever medal in men’s basketball.

Spurs re-sign Keita Bates-Diop

The San Antonio Spurs have re-signed forward Keita Bates-Diop.

Bates-Diop, 6-8/230, spent last season on a two-way contract with the Silver and Black, averaging 2.6 points and 1.6 rebounds in 8.2 minutes over 30 games. Originally selected by the Timberwolves in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft (48th overall), Bates-Diop spent the better part of two seasons in Minnesota before being traded to Denver on Feb. 5, 2019. The former Ohio State Buckeye has appeared in 104 NBA games, with career averages of 5.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in 14.3 minutes.

A four-year player at Ohio State, Bates-Diop was named the Big Ten Player of the Year as a senior, averaging 19.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.65 blocks in his final season.

Spurs sign Joe Wieskamp to a two-way contract

The San Antonio Spurs have signed guard Joe Wieskamp to a two-way contract.

Wieskamp, 6-6/210, was drafted by the Spurs with the 41st overall selection in the second round of the 2021 NBA Draft. He played in all eight of San Antonio’s 2021 Summer League games, including five in Las Vegas where he averaged 10.4 points and 5.6 rebounds in 23.4 minutes.

Coming off his junior season at the University of Iowa, Weiskamp was named to the 2021 Second Team All-Big 10 and was one of five finalists for the 2021 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award. He averaged 14.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 29.3 minutes while shooting 46.2 percent from three-point range, including 49.5 percent in Big Ten Conference games. The Iowa native started all 97 games he appeared in, averaging 13.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 29.8 minutes while shooting 41.2 percent from beyond the arc. Prior to joining the Hawkeyes, he graduated as the state of Iowa’s all-time high school leading scorer.

Weiskamp will wear No. 15 for the Silver & Black.

Spurs waive Chandler Hutchison

The San Antonio Spurs have waived Chandler Hutchison. Via the San Antonio Express-News:

The Spurs waived the 25-year-old small forward Saturday, a little more than a month after acquiring him as part of the monster five-team trade in July that resulted in Russell Westbrook landing with the Los Angeles Lakers…

With 17 guaranteed contracts — not including two-ways — the Spurs needed to waive or trade at least two players by the start of the season to make the roster legal.

San Antonio Spurs sign rookie guard Josh Primo

The San Antonio Spurs have signed rookie guard Josh Primo.

Primo, 6-6/190, was selected with the 12th overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft. He became the youngest draft pick by the Spurs since they joined the NBA in 1976, as well as just the second San Antonio lottery pick since 1997. The 18-year-old played one season at the University of Alabama, where he helped lead the Crimson Tide to a SEC Championship and the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Primo was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team, averaging 8.1 points and 3.4 rebounds while starting in 19 of 30 games and shooting 43.1 percent from the field and 38.1 from beyond the arc. A native of Toronto, Primo scored in double figures 12 times, including a career-high 22 points twice, and registered eight games where he knocked down three-or-more three pointers. He was named the SEC Freshman of the Week on Jan. 25 after averaging 19.0 points and 3.5 rebounds while knocking down 10-of-13 three pointers in two games. Primo also represented Canada at the 2019 FIBA U-19 World Cup and participated in the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp at the 2020 All Star Game in Chicago.

Currently playing for the Spurs Summer League team, Primo is currently averaging 12.0 points, 2.3 assists and 2.0 rebounds in 26.0 minutes over three games between the Salt Lake City and MGM Resorts Summer Leagues.

Primo will wear No. 11 for the Spurs.

Five-team NBA trade sends Russell Westbrook to Lakers, Spencer Dinwiddie and Kyle Kuzma to Wizards

The Washington Wizards announced yesterday that they have acquired guard Spencer Dinwiddie from the Brooklyn Nets; guard Aaron Holiday, the rights to forward Isaiah Todd and cash considerations from the Indiana Pacers; and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell from the Los Angeles Lakers in a five-team trade.

Washington sent guard Russell Westbrook and second-round picks in 2023, 2024 and 2028 to the Los Angeles Lakers; forward Chandler Hutchison and a 2022 second round pick to the San Antonio Spurs; and a 2024 second-round pick along with the right to swap second-round picks in 2025 to the Brooklyn Nets. As part of the trade, Indiana acquired the rights to Isaiah Jackson, who was selected with the 22nd overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Brooklyn also received the rights to 2015 first-round pick Nikola Milutinov from the Spurs as part of the deal.

“It takes a special mentality of competitiveness to take on the role of point guard for The Los Angeles Lakers,” said Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka. “We have seen some of the all-time greats master that role here, and now Russell Westbrook gets to come home and do just that. This is a very proud day for our franchise, and we are incredibly grateful. We welcome Russell and his family to Lakers Nation.”

“We were clear as we moved into the offseason that we would be aggressive in making moves that would improve our defense, shooting and athleticism,” said Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard. “Starting with hiring Coach Unseld, then moving to the draft and the acquisition of these five players via trade, we feel confident that we have made significant progress in those areas.”

“Each player that we acquired in this trade addresses a need for us in addition to bringing experience, toughness and a winning attitude that makes them ideal fits around Bradley and the rest of our returning roster,” said Sheppard. “Spencer’s athleticism allows him to score and make plays for others with Aaron’s hard-nosed style off the bench making a complementary pair of point guards. Kyle and KCP are proven three-and-D players with significant championship experience while Montrezl’s energy and effort personify the way we want to play every night.”

Dinwiddie (6-5, 215), who comes to Washington in a sign-and-trade deal, has appeared in 320 career games (133 starts) with the Pistons and Nets, and holds career averages of 12.9 points, 5.0 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 25.7 minutes per game. In five seasons with Brooklyn, Dinwiddie averaged 14.3 points, 5.3 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 274 games (132 starts) and posted career-highs in points (20.6 ppg) and assists (6.8 apg) during the 2019-20 season. The Colorado product appeared in only three games during the 2020-2021 season, after undergoing surgery to repair a partially torn ACL he suffered on December 27, 2020 (he has been cleared for all basketball activities since June).

Originally selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, Caldwell-Pope (6-5, 204) holds career averages of 11.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists and 29.1 minutes per game in 606 career games (464 starts) with Detroit and Los Angeles. The 6-5, 204-pound guard, has shot .370 percent or better from three-point range in three of the past four seasons and shot a career-best .410 from three-point territory last season.

Last season, the eight-year NBA veteran averaged 9.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 67 games (all starts) for the Lakers. Caldwell-Pope was an integral part of the Lakers 2020 NBA Championship team, where he averaged 12.8 points per game in the Finals against the Miami Heat.

A fourth-year forward, Kuzma (6-10, 221) holds career averages of 15.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 276 (146 starts) with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Flint, MI, native, has averaged at least 12.0 points and four rebounds per game in every year of his career, joining Jayson Tatum and Lauri Markkanen as the only players from the 2017 NBA Draft class to post these averages in all four seasons.

During the 2020-21 season, Kuzma averaged 12.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and a career-high 1.9 assists in 68 games (32 starts), while shooting .361 percent from three-point range on 5.6 attempts per game. Last season, the Utah product reached double-figures on 45 occasions, scored 20+ points 13 times and totaled 13 double-doubles. Selected with the 27th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Lakers, Kuzma was selected to the All-Rookie First-Team.

Harrell, 6-7, 240, has appeared in 387 career games (26 starts) across six seasons with the Houston Rockets (2015-2017), Los Angeles Clippers (2017-2020) and Los Angeles Lakers (2020-2021), averaging 12.8 points on .616 percent shooting, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 21.2 minutes per game. In 69 games (one start) with the Lakers last season, he averaged 13.5 points on .622 shooting, 6.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game.

The former Sixth Man of the Year (2019-20) has averaged 10 or more points per game the past four consecutive years while making five or fewer starts in those seasons, joining Jordan Clarkson as the only players to do so since the 2017-18 season.

Holiday, 24, has averaged 7.7 points, 2.4 assists and 1.7 rebounds, while shooting .372 percent from three-point range in 182 career games (41 starts) over three seasons with the Indiana Pacers. The 6-0, 185-pound guard averaged 7.2 points and 1.9 assists in 66 games (eight starts) during the 2020-2021 season.

Drafted with the 23rd overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Holiday posted career-bests in points (9.5 ppg), assists (3.4 apg) and rebounds (2.4 rpg) during the 2019-20 season.

Washington also acquired Isaiah Todd on draft night, who was selected by the Indiana Pacers with the 31st overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Todd, a 6-10, 210-pound forward, played for G League Ignite in its inaugural season in 2020-21, averaging 12.1 points and 2.9 rebounds per game in 16 games (three starts).

In one season with Washington, Westbrook averaged 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and a league-leading 11.7 assists per game in 65 games (all starts), the fourth career season he has averaged a triple-double. The 13-year guard became the NBA’s all-time triple-double leader on May 10, 2021, after passing Oscar Robertson’s 181 triple-double record. He concluded the regular season with 36 straight double-doubles and a league-best 38 triple-doubles.

Hutchison, who was acquired by Washington in a three-team trade on March 25, 2021, averaged 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in 18 games (one start) with the Wizards last season.

“Russell was a tremendous leader for us and watching him make history while with the Wizards was a privilege for me, our players and our fans that none of us will ever forget,” said Sheppard. “The impact he made on our franchise and our players in just one season is remarkable and we wish him the best as he continues his Hall of Fame career. We also appreciate Chandler for the work he put in during his time with us and extend him our encouragement as he progresses in his development.”

Pacers forward JaKarr Sampson suspended, Spurs guard Patty Mills and forward Rudy Gay fined

Indiana Pacers forward JaKarr Sampson has been suspended one game without pay for headbutting San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills, and Mills and Spurs forward Rudy Gay have each been fined for their roles in an on-court altercation, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident began when Sampson and Mills were battling for rebounding position. It continued to the next possession when Mills made contact with Sampson and Sampson shoved Mills. Sampson then furthered the altercation by aggressively confronting and headbutting Mills. Sampson’s actions resulted in a Flagrant Foul 2 and an automatic ejection.

Mills received a technical foul and has been fined $25,000 for his role in the altercation. Gay also received a technical foul and has been fined $20,000 for escalating the incident by shoving Sampson.

The incident occurred with 9:32 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Spurs’ 109-94 win over the Pacers on April 19 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Sampson will serve his suspension tonight when Indiana faces the Oklahoma City Thunder at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Spurs sign center Gorgui Dieng, who was recently waived by Grizzlies

The San Antonio Spurs have signed center Gorgui Dieng.

Dieng, 6-10/250, spent the first half of this season with the Memphis Grizzlies before being waived on March 26. In 22 games, he averaged 7.9 points, 4.5 rebounds in 1.3 assists in 16.9 minutes while shooting .519 from the field. Dieng appeared in 39 games over parts of two seasons in Memphis, averaging 7.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 17.7 minutes after he was acquired by the Grizzlies from the Minnesota Timberwolves on Feb. 6, 2020.

A nine-year NBA veteran, Dieng holds career averages of 7.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 21.8 minutes in 537 total games played. Selected in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft (21st overall) by the Utah Jazz, he was dealt to the Timberwolves on draft night and spent his first six-plus seasons with Minnesota.

A native of Senegal, Dieng won the 2013 NCAA Championship in his final season as a junior at the University of Louisville.

Dieng will wear No. 7 for the Silver and Black.

The Spurs roster now stands at 17 players.

Warriors trade Marquese Chriss to Spurs

The Golden State Warriors have traded center Marquese Chriss and cash considerations to the San Antonio Spurs for the draft rights to center Cady Lalanne

Chriss, 23, appeared in two games with the Warriors this season, averaging 6.5 points and 6.5 rebounds before suffering a right syndesmosis ankle and fibular fracture injury on December 26. The 6’9” center appeared in 59 games with Golden State during the 2019-20 season, averaging career-high figures in scoring (9.3), rebounding (6.2) and blocked shots (1.05). A four-year NBA veteran, Chriss was originally selected by the Sacramento Kings in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft (8th overall).

Lalanne, 28, was selected by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft (55th overall). The 6’10” center played four seasons at the University of Massachusetts, earning Third Team All-Atlantic 10 honors as a senior.

The Spurs roster now stands at 16.

Spurs waive LaMarcus Aldridge after two sides reach buyout agreement

The San Antonio Spurs today reached a buyout agreement with forward-center LaMarcus Aldridge.

Aldridge appeared in a total of 376 games for the Spurs and averaged 19.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.25 blocks in five-plus seasons for the Silver and Black. The former Texas Longhorn was named All-NBA twice (2016, 2018) and an NBA All-Star three times (2016, 2018, 2019) while in San Antonio.

Per the San Antonio Express News, in the midst of a season in which he averaged 13.7 points, his least since his rookie season, while shooting 46.4 percent and grabbing a career-low 4.5 rebounds per game, Aldridge nevertheless still has value to championship-contending teams as a complimentary piece. His $24 million salary cap number, however, proved too cumbersome to trade. Spurs players did their best to take a “que sera, sera” approach to what often can be a trying day in NBA locker rooms.”

After originally signing with the Spurs on July 4, 2015, Aldridge became one of six players in San Antonio history to record at least 7,000 points and 3,000 rebounds, joining Spurs legends David Robinson, Tim Duncan, George Gervin, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.