The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have exercised the third-year options on guard Cory Joseph and forward Kawhi Leonard. Both are now signed through the 2013-14 season.
An early entry candidate out of the University of Texas, Joseph was selected by the Spurs in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft with the 28th overall pick. Last season he appeared in 29 games, averaging 2.0 points and 1.2 assists in 9.2 minutes. In his first career start, Joseph tallied a season-high 13 points and 3 assists in 37 minutes at Portland on Feb. 21. The former Longhorn was assigned to the Austin Toros of the NBA D-League on three separate occasions where he saw action in 14 games, averaging 13.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.29 steals in 32.9 minutes.
Joseph posted a triple-double with the Toros finishing with 15 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists vs. Maine Red Claws on March 23 earning him NBA D-League Performer of the Week honors for games played through March 19-25. During the summer Joseph played on the Spurs 2012 Las Vegas Summer League team, averaging a team-best 17.0 points, 5.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.80 steals in 33.0 minutes in five games garnering him Summer League All-Star honors.
Leonard joined the Spurs in a 2011 draft night deal that saw the Silver and Black send George Hill to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Leonard’s rights, along with Davis Bertans and Erazem Lorbek. The Pacers originally selected Leonard with the 15th overall pick. An All-Rookie First Team selection, Leonard appeared in 64 games, averaging 7.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.33 steals in 24.0 minutes. His 39 starts were the most by a Spurs rookie in the Popovich era since Tony Parker started 72 games during the 2001-02 season.
The former San Diego State Aztec scored in double figures 24 times during the regular season, while shooting .493 (199-404) from the floor and .376 (41-109) from three-point range. Among NBA rookies, Leonard ranked third in steals, third in field goal percentage, fourth in rebounding, fifth in three-point field goal percentage and 13th in scoring. He posted four double-doubles on the season and was one of just four rookies to record four-or-more double-doubles. Leonard started in all 14 playoff games for the Silver and Black, averaging 8.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.21 steals in 27.1 minutes.