Southwest Notes: Spurs, Mavericks, Rockets

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich gave an early indication that he will return next season, along with free agents Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, tweets Scott Howard-Cooper of Responding to a question shortly after San Antonio’s Game 7 loss to the Clippers Saturday night, Popovich said, “We’ll probably come back. The paycheck’s pretty good.” Duncan refused to answer two questions about returning, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Ginobili was also vague about retiring, tweets Ramona Shelburne of “I don’t know, it could happen,” he said. “But I’m not going to make that decision now.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Rajon Rondo still has all-star talent, but he was a terrible fit in the Mavericks‘ system, argues Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. In his post-season report card, the columnist gives Rondo an F for his time in Dallas, but says finding a point guard to replace him won’t be easy. Sefko also expects Charlie Villanueva to get a much bigger contract next season and said the team needs to spend to keep Tyson Chandler.
  • The “Grandpas” have become key playoff contributors for the Rockets, writes Calvin Watkins of That’s James Harden‘s nickname for point guards Jason Terry and Pablo Prigioni, both 37, who have seen increased playing time since a wrist injury to starter Patrick Beverley. Terry came to Houston in September in a little-noticed trade with Sacramento. Prigioni was acquired in a deadline deal with the Knicks. “They’ve done a great job seriously of doing everything right, defensive schemes, knocking down shots, being vocal leaders, going out there and being ready every single night and it’s carried us every single night,” Harden said. Terry will be a free agent in July; Prigioni is scheduled to make $1.7MM next season, but only $440K of that is guaranteed.
  • The Pelicans should try to re-sign Omer Asik, but at a price far less than the $14.8MM he earned this season, contends John Reid of The Times-Picayune. If they can’t agree to terms with the free agent center, Reid recommends pursuing Blazers’ free agent Robin Lopez, who made nearly $6.125MM this season. Reid also advises trying to reach a new deal with backup center Alexis Ajinca.

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