“I am definitely grateful for the opportunity they gave me,” said Bertans. “Coming off two (knee) injuries, a lot of teams might have given up on me after the first one. Just having a chance to go there and learn from one of the best coaches in history, if not the best one (was great). Even though they traded me, I still love them for what they did for me.”
The Spurs initially intended to keep Bertans on their roster. Over the summer, they had the mid-level exception available and had agreed to sign DeMarre Carroll with that tool. Then, Marcus Morris wanted to come to town and the team pivoted to using the MLE on the forward and crafted a sign-and-trade for Carroll that sent Bertans to Washington.
Morris eventually backed out of the agreement, but the deal to send Bertans elsewhere was already in motion.
Here’s more from the Southwest Division:
- Jeff Green, who inked a contract with the Rockets, has previously played with both James Harden and Russell Westbrook and he’s happy to team up with them again. “It’s going to be special to see those two guys, the way they’ve grown. It’s been wonderful. As a fan of the game it’s been great to see. I’m excited to be w/ them again,” Green said (via Fox 26 Houston’s Mark Berman on Twitter).
- The Spurs‘ 22-year playoff streak could come to an end this season and not everyone is surprised about the potential outcome, as Orsborn relays in a separate piece. “It happens to the best of them,” said Robert Horry, who won two titles with San Antonio. “It happened to the Celtics, it happened to the Lakers. People don’t understand how dominant the Spurs have been over the years, but it was bound to come to an end.”
- There has been plenty of speculation about Gregg Popovich retiring from coaching Team USA after the Olympics this summer, but Jerry Colangelo, who is the managing director of USA Basketball, said he hasn’t had any conversations with Pop about it yet. “It’s really going to be how he feels, [with] age, health [factors],” Colangelo said (via Orsborn in the same piece). “This doesn’t pertain to him, but I would say this about most people, most coaches: If you lose your fire, it’s probably time to step away. But as long as you have that desire and fire in your belly, why not [continue]?”