Category Archives: San Antonio Spurs

Popovich not afraid to speak mind after injury to Spurs’ Diaw

Spurs forward Boris Diaw was a late scratch for Saturday’s game against the Cavaliers with bruised ribs. Not that it really mattered, since the Spurs led by as many 40 points on their way to a 126-96 win.

Diaw an 11-year veteran who’s off to a strong start with the 12-1 Spurs, suffered the injury after falling into the clan of photographers and TV camera operators on the baseline. The incident happened during Friday’s win over the Grizzlies.

Not surprisingly, always honest Spurs coach Gregg Popovich offered a strong opinion on the matter.

“As we’ve often said in the past, it’s an accident waiting to happen and it never seems to change,” Popovich told reporters in San Antonio. “We’re going to continue to moan and groan about it. We have many times. It’s a problem that needs to be taken care of because it’s going to make a big difference at some point.

“It’s sort of like you complain in the street about cars here and there, we need a stop sign. The stop sign doesn’t go up until a little kid gets killed. I have a feeling when one of the big boys breaks an ankle … then maybe something will get done.

“I think it should be addressed. Nobody can deny it’s a safety issue. And it takes away from the rhythm of a game. I don’t think it can be ignored.”

Diaw is averaging 11.1 points on 56 percent shooting for the Spurs, winners of 10 straight.

Meanwhile, Popovich offered some advice on how the Cavs, or any young team, can try to improve.

“To not skip steps,” he said. “Just concentrate on execution because in the end, that’s what wins. That steady, habitual play that forms through repetition and daily work, there’s no substitute for it.”

NBA placing stronger emphasis on violations

CLEVELAND – NBA referees will whistle if you walk.

That’s the message being sent by the league entering the 2013-14 season, which begins in less than two weeks.

Along with traveling, the league is emphasizing quick whistles on infractions such as carrying, delay of game and contact on jump shots.

The NBA has also instituted a new rule that will result in a foul on offensive players who step out of bounds and stay there longer than they should — which teams have occasionally done in the past for the purpose of spacing.

It’s pretty clear the league is taking these points of emphasis fairly seriously, too. The Cavaliers were whistled for two traveling violations in the first 10 minutes of their preseason game Saturday vs. the Pacers.

Key dates for 2013-14 NBA season

NBA teams playing preseason games overseas will conduct their media days Friday, kicking off the 2013-14 season. Among those teams: the Wizards, Bulls, Warriors and two-time defending champion Heat.

Those teams will start training camp Saturday, with everyone else to hold media day Monday and start camp Tuesday.

Here’s a full list of key dates for the 2013-14 NBA season:

* Sept: 27: Media Day for teams competing in international preseason contests
* Sept. 28:  Training camps open for practice for teams competing in international preseason contests
* Sept. 30: Remaining Media Days held
* Oct. 1: Remaining training camps open
* Oct. 5: NBA Global Games Istanbul (Oklahoma City Thunder @ Fenerbahce Ulker in Istanbul, Turkey at Ulker Sports Arena)
* Oct. 6: NBA Global Games Bilbao (Philadelphia 76ers @ Bilbao Basket in Bilbao, Spain at Bizkaia Arena at the BEC)
* Oct. 8: NBA Global Games Manchester (Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Philadelphia 76ers in Manchester, England at Phones 4u Arena)
* Oct. 10: NBA Global Games Manila (Houston Rockets vs. Indiana Pacers in Manila, Philippines at Mall of Asia Arena)
* Oct. 12: NBA Global Games Rio de Janeiro (Chicago Bulls vs. Washington Wizards in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at HSBC Arena)
* Oct. 13: NBA Global Games Taipei (Houston Rockets vs. Indiana Pacers in Taipei, Taiwan at Taipei Arena)
* Oct. 15: NBA Global Games Beijing (Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers in Beijing, China at MasterCard Arena)
* Oct. 18: NBA Global Games Shanghai (Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers in Shanghai, China at Mercedes-Benz Arena)
* Oct. 28: Rosters set for Opening Day (5 p.m. ET)
* Oct. 29: 2013-14 Season Tips Off
* Dec. 4: NBA Global Games Mexico City (Minnesota Timberwolves vs. San Antonio Spurs at Mexico City Arena)
* Jan. 6: 10-day Contracts can now be signed
* Jan. 10: All Contracts are guaranteed for remainder of the season
* Jan. 16: NBA Global Games London 2014 (Atlanta Hawks vs. Brooklyn Nets at The 02)
* Feb. 14-16: 2014 NBA All-Star (New Orleans, LA)
* Feb. 20: 2014 NBA Trade Deadline (3 p.m. ET)
* April 16: Last Day of 2013-14 Regular Season
* April 19: 2014 NBA Playoffs begin
* April 27: NBA Draft Early Entry Eligibility Deadline (11:59 p.m. ET)
* May 5: Conference Semifinals begin (possible move-up to May 3 or 4)
* May 20: Conference Finals begin (possibly move-up to May 18 or 19)
* May 20: 2014 NBA Draft Lottery
* June 5: NBA Finals begin
* June 16: NBA Draft Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline (5 p.m. ET)
June 26: 2014 NBA Draft

Ex-Ohio State F Deshaun Thomas headed overseas

It appears that former Ohio State forward Deshaun Thomas will begin his professional basketball career overseas, as opposed to the NBA.

According to several reports, Thomas will sign to play in France, perhaps as early as Friday. Thomas had been deciding between offers from teams in both the French and Spanish leagues.

Thomas was selected by the Spurs in the second round of the NBA Draft (No. 58 overall) in June. He entered the draft after his junior season with the Buckeyes, in which he averaged a team-high 19.8 points and 5.9 rebounds.

But questions about whether the 6-foot-7 Thomas would be a small forward or power forward at the next level contributed to his slide on draft night. He was not guaranteed a roster spot on the Spurs.

Thomas averaged 12.4 points for the Spurs’ entry in the Las Vegas summer league.

By opting to play overseas, Thomas allows the defending Western Conference champions to retain his rights through the 2014 draft should he decide to make a go of it in the NBA. The Spurs would have surrendered his rights had he not made the final cut at the end of training camp.

“I needed to make a decision,” Thomas told The Columbus Dispatch. “In this business, you have to think about family. I still could have gone to (training camp) and tried to make the roster, but with my (17-month old) son and a family to provide for, I had to look at that. And developing a year ain’t going to hurt.

“It was kind of tough, because I wanted to make the roster. But if training camp didn’t go well, I’d probably be in the (NBA Development) League, and when you go in the D-League you need another part-time job.”

Thomas added he spoke with the Spurs and received no assurances about making the team.

At least one Ohio State player has been selected in each of the previous seven drafts — the longest streak in college basketball.

NBA team-by-team remaining free agents

A look at which NBA players remain unsigned through July 29:

ATLANTA HAWKS — Unrestricted: Ivan Johnson, Devin Harris, Dahntay Jones, Johan Petro, Anthony Tolliver

BOSTON CELTICS — Unrestricted: Chris Wilcox

BROOKLYN NETS — Unrestricted: Jerry Stackhouse

CHARLOTTE BOBCATS — Unrestricted: DeSagana Diop, Jannero Pargo

CHICAGO BULLS — Unrestricted: Daequan Cook, Vladimir Radmanovic

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS — Unrestricted: Daniel Gibson, Luke Walton

DALLAS MAVERICKS — Unrestricted: Rodrigue Beaubois, Mike James


DETROIT PISTONS — Unrestricted: Corey Maggette



INDIANA PACERS — Unrestricted: Ben Hansbrough, Sam Young

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS — Unrestricted: Lamar Odom

LOS ANGELES LAKERS — Unrestricted: Devin Ebanks, Andrew Goudelock, Darius Morris, Antawn Jamison

MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES — Unrestricted: Austin Daye, Keyon Dooling

MIAMI HEAT — Unrestricted: Juwan Howard.

MILWAUKEE BUCKS — Restricted: Brandon Jennings. Unrestricted: Marquis Daniels, Joel Przybilla

MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES — Restricted: Nikola Pekovic

NEW ORLEANS PELICANS — Unrestricted: Lou Amundson, Xavier Henry, Roger Mason Jr.

NEW YORK KNICKS — Unrestricted: Earl Barron

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER — Unrestricted: Ronnie Brewer

ORLANDO MAGIC — Unrestricted: DaQuan Jones, Beno Udrih

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS — Unrestricted: Charles Jenkins, Royal Ivey, Damien Wilkins

PHOENIX SUNS — Unrestricted: Diante Garrett

PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS —Unrestricted: Luke Babbitt, Nolan Smith, Elliot Williams

SACRAMENTO KINGS — Unrestricted: Cole Aldrich, James Johnson

SAN ANTONIO SPURS — Unrestricted: DeJuan Blair, Tracy McGrady

TORONTO RAPTORS — Unrestricted: Mickael Pietrus, Sebastian Telfair

UTAH JAZZ — Unrestricted: Jamaal Tinsley, Mo Williams

WASHINGTON WIZARDS — Unrestricted: Leandro Barbosa, Jason Collins, Cartier Martin, A.J. Price


Cavs open summer tourney vs. Spurs

The NBA Summer League in Las Vegas is operating under a new format, and the Cavaliers now have a seed.

For the first time, the summer league will consist of a round-robin style tournament, with a championship game to be held Monday night.

The Cavs, 2-1 in summer play, are seeded seventh. They open Thursday vs. the 10th-seeded San Antonio Spurs. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. EST.

For a complete bracket of the 22-team summer league, visit the official website at

Report: Cavs, Spurs interested in Rockets F Thomas Robinson

The Rockets are attempting to trade power forward Thomas Robinson and the Cavaliers are interested, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.

Robinson, the No. 5 overall pick in last summer’s NBA Draft, was traded by the Kings to the Rockets in February. He had a somewhat inconsistent rookie season, compiling averages of 4.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in just 15.1 minutes per game.

But most inside league circles like his potential, indicating Robinson has the potential to shine if given the opportunity.

The Chronicle cited the Spurs as another team with interest in Robinson, and quoted a source that called a potential trade “imminent.”

“There are 16 teams with the cap room, trade exceptions or non-guaranteed contracts needed to make such a deal without sending the Rockets corresponding salaries,” according to the Chronicle.

“The Cavaliers can make that kind of deal with some of their available cap room. In addition to their own pick, the Cavaliers have the 19th pick and two second-round picks before the Rockets’ selection with the 34th pick.”

More on this and other stories coming on as Thursday’s draft approaches.

Podcast: Talkin’ NBA Finals and Cavs’ draft prospects

I guaranteed the Spurs would win beat the Heat in Game 7. Well, we all know how that turned out. I talked about that — as well as offers updates on the Cavaliers’ draft prospects and a breakdown of Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum (Canton GlenOak) — with Jeff Phelps and Andy Baskin of 92.3 The Fan.

You can listen to the entire podcast by clicking this link.

I’ll have plenty more on the draft, and NBA free agency, in the coming days.

On Game 7, LeBron and a lovely night for an ending

It’s a beautiful night for an ending, isn’t it?

An NBA finals that’s been as good as — or even better than — advertised ends tonight with Game Seven in Miami. It’s David Stern’s last Finals, and it feels like a last stand for this Miami Superteam and a San Antonio group that’s been, um, pretty super in its own right for a long time and was just seconds away in Game Six from clinching a fifth title.

VIDEO: A to Z previews Game Seven of the NBA Finals

From here, anyway, it feels like a last last stand for these Spurs, even though Tim Duncan has two years left on his contract and has looked more 27 than 37 in this series. Win or lose this could be it for the Big Three of the Heat, a group that’s an imperfect match but a very tough out.

The world is watching tonight, LeBron.

LeBron is fully aware of this by now.

To me, the beauty in this series is that it hasn’t been about LeBron, even though everything (especially here in Northeast Ohio and on Twitter) is. I wrote at length a couple of weeks ago about LeBron and what he’s been through and why we watch (no matter how many names we call him), and again tonight we’ll watch and hang on every moment and point to — via the golden gift of hindsight — every decision LeBron makes, every shot or chance to attack he passes up and certainly every one he misses. It sounds strange, yes, but the more I say it out loud the more sense it makes.

LeBron is a huge factor tonight, as always. But this game is not all about him — or Him, as folks in certain parts of Akron would say.

It’s always about LeBron, yes. But tonight isn’t totally about him, not unless he goes for 40, 15 and 12. Tonight is about what both teams have left in the tank, if the Spurs have any counter moves left, if Manu Ginobli and Dwyane Wade have their legs, if Tony Parker has any magic left and what LeBron can do to get — and keep — his teammates involved and scoring. The Heat need transition, which means the Heat need defense. The Heat are also going to need 3-pointers from LeBron’s supporting cast. The 3-point shot has been the real star of this series.

Tonight truly feels like an ending. Guys like Ray Allen and Mike Miller know the end is near. If it wasn’t for Allen, this thing would already be over.

Nobody saw Danny Green, First Five Finals Games Edition, coming. But much of what we’ve seen is what we thought we’d see. The Spurs have the better point guard, the better overall team, one of the best pure post players of his time and one of the best coaches ever. The Heat have an impressive collection of athletes, a guy in Wade who’s pretty good for someone held together by silver tape and staples and LeBron, the best player and athlete of them all.

Fairly, he’s held to a different standard. Smartly, the Spurs have run guys at him, closed driving lanes and gotten into his head, to some extent. They’ve made him hesitant at times, and that’s victory in its own right. That LeBron had a triple-double in Game Six while playing well short of his own standard of excellence for all but a few minutes says it all about his talents and his importance to his team, this series and the NBA.

On more than one occasion in these playoffs, he’s had to do a bunch of it himself. On more than one occasion in these Finals, that hasn’t worked. It won’t work tonight, either. The Spurs won’t let it. I have no idea which way it’s going to go, but it’s hard to imagine LeBron struggling because he’s forcing or trying to do too much.

It’s about LeBron, but he’s going to need all the help he can get. And though tonight is undoubtedly the latest most important game of LeBron’s career, I think saying his legacy is on the line — I’ve read that in more than one place — is a stretch.

LeBron’s basketball legacy, whenever it’s complete, will certainly include The Decision, that magically inhuman run to the Finals in 2007 and all the MVPs. Everything else is still being written, right? He’s going to win more than one title, even if that second one doesn’t come tonight. Tonight is the most important game in LeBron’s career until next May or June, at which point he’ll be 29. And still the best player in the world. And still the most scrutinized player in the world. And, at that point, he’ll again be the most important potential free agent in basketball history.

Whether all that sounds fun, exhausting or a combination of the two, these Finals have been all of the above. And more. If Game Seven is anything like Game Six (or Game One), a lot of us are going to be late for work tomorrow — and still exhausted.

By midnight or so, we’ll have our ending. Thanks in part but not totally to LeBron, the buildup has been pretty darn good.

Three Cavs invited to participate in Team USA camp

Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, shooting guard Dion Waiters and center Tyler Zeller are among the 27 players who have been invited to participate in the 2013 USA national team mini-camp, USA Basketball officials announced Wednesday.

Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski, Irving’s coach at Duke University, will direct the camp. It is scheduled for July 22-25 in Las Vegas.

Krzyzewski will be assisted by Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, Pelicans coach Monty Williams and Syracuse University coach Jim Boeheim.

Team USA’s next competition is at the World Championships in Spain in 2014.

The list of invitees:

Ryan Anderson (New Orleans Pelicans)
Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors)
Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies)
DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)
Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)
Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)
Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets)
Derrick Favors (Utah Jazz)
Paul George (Indiana Pacers)
Taj Gibson (Chicago Bulls)
Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz)
Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia 76ers)
Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers)
Ty Lawson(Denver Nuggets)
Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs)
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
Greg Monroe (Detroit Pistons)
Chandler Parsons (Houston Rockets)
Larry Sanders(Milwaukee Bucks)
Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
Dion Waiters (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats)
John Wall (Washington Wizards)
Tyler Zeller (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Tickets for the 2013 USA Basketball Showcase on July 25 go on sale June 13.  Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased by calling 702-739-FANS or at