Stein’s Latest: Duncan, Spurs, Mavericks, Ayton, Draft

Hall of Fame big man Tim Duncan joined the Spurs‘ coaching staff in 2019/20 at Gregg Popovich‘s request. As Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack article, one season was enough to convince Duncan that a full-time coaching gig wasn’t for him.

However, when the Spurs are in San Antonio, there’s an expectation that Duncan will “regularly visit” their practice facility to mentor projected No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama, reports Stein.

Duncan, of course, was the Spurs’ last No. 1 pick (back in 1997), and you could say they had some success with the U.S. Virgin Islands native. He was named to 15 All-Star, All-NBA, and All-Defensive teams, and won two regular season MVPs and three NBA Finals MVPs en route to five championships in his 19 seasons.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • The Mavericks were able to keep their first-round pick after it landed No. 10 overall (it would have been sent to the Knicks had it landed No. 11 or later). It has been reported multiple times that they’re expected to gauge the value of the pick in an effort to improve the roster. Stein’s sources say the Mavs have been posturing like they plan to explore their options for the prospects who might be available at that slot before deciding whether or not to trade it. Still, rival teams expect Dallas to try to package the pick (perhaps with some combination of Tim Hardaway Jr., Davis Bertans, JaVale McGee) in a win-now move.
  • The Suns are expected to “aggressively” explore the trade market for center Deandre Ayton this summer, and the former top pick has been linked to the Mavericks. However, Dallas’ interest in Ayton has been “overstated,” according to Stein, who suggests the team might not view his contract favorably. Stein reports that there are some Ayton fans within the Mavs, but he doesn’t “get any sense” the 24-year-old is atop the their trade wish list.
  • ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported a few days ago that one topic of discussion during the annual GM meetings was the possibility of turning the NBA draft into a two-day event. While some viewed that as a potential money-grab for the league, Stein hears only one team broached the subject and the idea was meant to benefit front offices around the league — presumably to give everyone more time to make trades and other roster decisions in an event that can feel rushed, especially the second round. The idea hasn’t gained much traction yet, says Stein.
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