Joshua Primo

Spurs Notes: Rebuilding, Brown, Poeltl, Primo

The Spurs have created “optionality” as they consider the best path toward rebuilding, general manager Brian Wright told Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Wright explained that the organization has the ability to improve through the draft, trades or free agency.

San Antonio has one of the league’s worst records at 9-20 and figures to be among the teams with the best odds for the No. 1 pick and Victor Wembanyama. The Spurs also have a surplus of draft assets already in place following the Dejounte Murray deal with Atlanta, and they have veterans such as Jakob Poeltl, Doug McDermott and Josh Richardson who should be in demand before the February 9 trade deadline. The team is also more than $30MM under the salary cap and could have up to $60MM in cap space next summer.

“In a season like this one with the draft, everything gets overmagnified about tanking or anything like that,” Wright said. “It’s never been about that, and it won’t ever be about that. You’re younger and this is a league where you have to learn how to win, and it takes time. It takes the standards and habits and repetitions and doing the right thing, and that’s what this coaching staff has done for a long time, and that’s what these players are learning right now. We will get there.”

There’s more on the Spurs:

  • Bringing Brett Brown back in June gave the coaching staff someone with plenty of experience in rebuilding, MacMahon adds. Brown served as head coach in Philadelphia during the “Process” years and understands what it takes to construct a team from the ground up. “Everything revolves around development,” he said. “It’s a big word. It’s not just, ‘Now they’ve got a jump hook.’ It’s growing them up with NBA habits and terminology and educational stuff on scouting.”
  • Poeltl was able to play Saturday after missing seven straight games with a bone bruise in his right knee. That allowed the Spurs to have their preferred starting five available for the first time since November 26, tweets Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News.
  • Commissioner Adam Silver confirmed that the NBA “worked in conjunction with the Spurs” on the investigation of Joshua Primo, who is accused of exposing himself to a team psychologist, per Tom Orsborn of The San-Antonio Express News. Silver said the subsequent lawsuit, which was settled out of court, shows that the league needs to work to protect the safety of its employees.

Spurs Notes: Bassey, Bates-Diop, White, Murray, Primo

Last month, Charles Bassey was trying to keep his job with the Sixers, but he’s been given a much larger role since joining the Spurs, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. On October 13, Philadelphia waived the 22-year-old, who had fallen to fourth on the team’s center depth chart after the signing of Montrezl Harrell. Eleven days later, Bassey got a second chance with San Antonio on a two-way contract.

“He knows his role,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He rebounds, blocks shots, runs the floor, and he does it with a lot of energy.”

Bassey has more than doubled his playing time in his second NBA season, averaging 6.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in 16.3 minutes per night. He only appeared in just 23 games as a rookie, but he’s still thankful for the opportunity he got from Sixers coach Doc Rivers.

“Me and Doc, we were good,” Bassey said. “Doc was one of the coaches I was excited to play for, but everything didn’t work out. Both these coaches (Rivers and Popovich) have coached great guys. Doc coached ‘KG’ (Kevin Garnett in Boston) and Pop has coached Tim Duncan. Philly gave me the opportunity to play in this league, and I am grateful to that organization. But playing for the Spurs right now is a dream come true.”

There’s more from San Antonio:

  • Since joining the Spurs last season, Keita Bates-Diop has learned to be ready for anything, Orsborn adds in a separate story. That was useful Thursday night in Sacramento when he found out shortly before game time that he would be starting because Keldon Johnson was sidelined by ankle soreness. “I am always constantly ready when I hear a guy is maybe in, maybe out,” Bates-Diop said. “My mind is always ready regardless.”
  • Watching Derrick White and Dejounte Murray square off in Wednesday’s Celtics-Hawks game was a reminder that the Spurs have moved on from what appeared to be their backcourt of the future, notes Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News. San Antonio traded White to Boston in February and dealt Murray to Atlanta in June, and the Spurs are now building around Johnson and Devin Vassell.
  • Although Dr. Hillary Cauthen has reportedly settled her lawsuit against the Spurs and Joshua Primo, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department is continuing its investigation of the case as it considers possible criminal charges, Orsborn tweets.

Psychologist Settles Lawsuit With Spurs, Primo

Dr. Hillary Cauthen, a former consulting psychologist for the Spurs, has settled her lawsuit against the team and Joshua Primo, according to TMZ Sports.

Cauthen’s attorney, Tony Buzbee, confirmed TMZ’s report to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News.

The parties have agreed to resolve this matter,” Buzbee said in a text to the Express-News.

The Spurs unexpectedly waived Primo a few weeks ago, and word broke shortly thereafter that he had been accused of exposing himself to multiple women, including a former Spurs employee.

That employee, Cauthen, became the first accuser to go public, alleging that Primo exposed himself to her on nine separate occasions and that the Spurs did nothing about it after she informed team management. The lawsuit stated the earliest incident occurred during a counseling session with Primo in December 2021.

Primo remains a free agent after going unclaimed on waivers.

While CEO RC Buford and longtime head coach Gregg Popovich initially defended the Spurs in the wake of the lawsuit, Buford released a statement on Thursday after the news of the settlement broke saying the team plans to work with Cauthen to improve the organization going forward (Twitter link via Orsborn):

The situation regarding Joshua Primo is a matter we take seriously. Since learning of the allegations, we have taken, and are taking, measures to ensure that all parties involved are treated with dignity and respect. We know we owe that to Dr. Cauthen, our players, our staff and our community.

“As an organization, we are continuously evaluating and refining our processes so they ultimately reflect the values and culture of who we aspire to be every day. To that end, we have decided to collaborate with Dr. Cauthen and other experts to review and improve our workplace processes and procedures.

“This is a learning opportunity for us, and one that we are certain will make us better moving forward.”

Gregg Popovich Defends Spurs Amid Lawsuit

Longtime Spurs president and head coach Gregg Popovich defended the organization in the wake of the lawsuit filed against Joshua Primo and the team, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News.

The suit was filed by a sports psychologist formerly employed by the team and contends that Primo exposed himself to her on nine separate occasions during their sessions and that the Spurs did nothing about it after she informed team management.

I understand your question and your desire to get as many details as you can, but as you also know this is in the hands of lawyers now, and so I can’t go there, and I am not going to go there,” Popovich said. “It is up to them, they are going to talk about it, they are going to argue about it, they are going to go back and forth. That’s what they do. So, while that is going on, I can’t talk about details.”

But I will say that I stand by the statement that came out yesterday by the Spurs organization with contrast to many of the things that were said at the press conference.”

As Orsborn notes, Popovich is referring to the statement released by Spurs CEO RC Buford, which indicated that the Spurs “disagree with the accuracy of facts, details and timeline presented” in the suit.

“While we would like to share more information, we will allow the legal process to play out,” Buford said. “Our organization remains committed to upholding the highest standards and will continue to live by our values and culture.”

Popovich then “rigorously defended” the way the Spurs have handled the situation, according to Orsborn.

…Anybody that has observed the Spurs over a very long period of time knows that an accusation like this would be taken very seriously without any doubt whatsoever, no equivocation, the Spurs organization would be on top of it,” Popovich said. “And I am absolutely confident that the men and women on the managerial staff that dealt and are dealing with this did so purposefully, efficiently, promptly and did it with the utmost care for everybody concerned — the accuser, the accused, the people in the organization, to make sure that everybody felt comfortable and safe, and I will just leave my comments at that.”

Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing the psychologist who filed the lawsuit, said on Thursday that he had been in contact with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office about the possibility of filing criminal charges against Primo for indecent exposure. The Bexar County Sherriff’s department confirmed on Friday that it is investigating Dr. Hillary Cauthen’s accusations, per Orsborn.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has made contact with the victim involved in the Joshua Primo incident,” a sheriff’s spokesperson said via email. “Preliminary investigation into the allegations is underway.”

Primo is an unrestricted free agent after being waived by the Spurs and is unlikely to catch on with another team anytime soon while the legal process plays out. He was accused of exposing himself to multiple women, though Cauthen is the only accuser who has gone public.

Former Spurs Employee Files Lawsuit Against Joshua Primo, Team

A sports psychologist formerly employed by the Spurs has filed a lawsuit against Joshua Primo and the team, contending that Primo exposed himself to her on nine separate occasions during their sessions and that the Spurs did nothing about it after she informed team management, according to reports from Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News and Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

The Spurs unexpectedly waived Primo last week, and word broke shortly thereafter that he had been accused of exposing himself to multiple women, including a former Spurs employee. That employee, Dr. Hillary Cauthen, became the first accuser to go public on Thursday, alleging that the earliest incident occurred during a counseling session with Primo in December 2021.

Cauthen’s suit indicates she requested a meeting with Spurs management in January 2022 and reported the incident to general manager Brian Wright. However, the club didn’t take any tangible action and Primo continued to expose himself in subsequent sessions, including once in a public setting, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states that the Spurs’ legal department didn’t get involved until May, with Cauthen allegedly being told that Primo would continue to participate in all team activities despite her complaints, and that she could work at home if she felt uncomfortable. After more meetings with the Spurs and their legal counsel, Cauthen’s contract expired on August 31 and wasn’t renewed.

Orsborn’s story and a report from Diana Moskovitz of Defector have more information on the timeline of events provided in the lawsuit, which accuses the Spurs of being “willing to tolerate abhorrent conduct” by prized athletes.

Spurs CEO RC Buford issued a statement today indicating that the Spurs “disagree with the accuracy of facts, details and timeline presented” in the suit.

“While we would like to share more information, we will allow the legal process to play out,” Buford said. “Our organization remains committed to upholding the highest standards and will continue to live by our values and culture.”

Meanwhile, Primo’s attorney William J. Briggs, II issued a strong denial of the allegations against his client, referring to Primo as someone who has “suffered a lifetime of trauma and challenges” and accusing Cauthen of fabricating or embellishing her claims.

“Josh Primo never intentionally exposed himself to her or anyone else and was not even aware that his private parts were visible outside of his workout shorts,” Briggs claimed (Twitter link via Shams Charania of The Athletic).

According to Orsborn, attorney Tony Buzbee – who is representing Cauthen – said today that he has been in contact with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office about the possibility of filing criminal charges against Primo for indecent exposure.

Primo is an unrestricted free agent after being waived by the Spurs and is unlikely to catch on with another team anytime soon while the legal process plays out.

Former Spurs Guard Joshua Primo Goes Unclaimed

Joshua Primo went unclaimed on Monday after the Spurs placed him on waivers on Friday night, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

It’s not surprising, given the circumstances surrounding San Antonio’s decision to cut ties with Primo, the 12th pick of the 2021 draft. Primo had multiple allegations of indecent exposure lodged against him. A former female Spurs employee has hired legal representation after Primo allegedly exposed himself to her.

San Antonio exercised its $4.3MM option on his contract for the 2023/24 season shortly before it waived Primo, who had a $4.1MM salary this season. If a team had claimed him, it would have been obligated to pay him this season’s salary as well as the $4.3MM option for 2023/24 that the Spurs picked up.

Now an unrestricted free agent, Primo has pledged to focus on his mental health treatment. He played 50 games as a rookie and made 16 starts. He was used off the bench in four games this season, averaging 7.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 23.3 minutes per game.

Southwest Notes: Dieng, Primo, McCollum, Jackson Jr.

Gorgui Dieng was signed by the Spurs on a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract. Dieng’s influence in the locker room is the main reason why the team wanted the veteran big man, who has thus far only appeared in three games, Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News writes.

“We just love Gorgui,” teammate Doug McDermott said. “I’ve been on six (NBA) teams, and you don’t see guys make a connection that quickly in a locker room. It usually doesn’t happen.”

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • While details regarding the Spurs’ abrupt decision to waive Joshua Primo have leaked out, coach Gregg Popovich refuses to comment on the situation, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets. “I think under the circumstances, I think it’s inappropriate for me to say anything beyond what we have already put out for our statement,” Popovich said. Primo allegedly exposed himself to multiple women.
  • Pelicans guard CJ McCollum prefers to give his teammates an honest and sometimes blunt assessment of what they’re doing wrong. That’s his style of leadership, he told Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times Picayune. “I am going to be very direct. I am not going to tell you what you want to hear,” he said. “I think you can respect that because of how consistent I am.”
  • While the Grizzlies are 4-2, their defense has often been lacking, Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial Appeal notes. They have given up more than 120 points in four of their first six games. The absence of Jaren Jackson Jr. during his injury rehab has contributed to the problem, as he’s adept at contesting stretch fours in addition to protecting the rim.

Spurs Notes: Wesley, Collins, Vassell, Primo

The Spurs‘ decision to waive Joshua Primo has created an opportunity for rookie guard Blake Wesley, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Wesley made his NBA debut Friday night and posted 10 points and four assists in 15 minutes in a victory over the Bulls. He showed none of the shooting problems that plagued him in Summer League, hitting 4-of-6 from the field and 2-of-3 from three-point range.

“You got to stay ready,” said Wesley, who was taken with the 25th pick in this year’s draft. “I was just ready today.”

Wesley may be joining lottery pick Jeremy Sochan in San Antonio’s rotation, but McDonald notes that Malaki Branham, who was taken 20th overall, is still waiting to play in his first game.

There’s more on the Spurs:

  • With injury problems behind him, Zach Collins is off to a strong start, McDonald adds. The backup center had his best game of the season Friday, putting up 16 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes. He has reached double figures in scoring in three of the past five games. “Defense, passing and honestly shooting has been good all season,” Collins said. “(Friday) I took more shots and they went in. Hopefully, I keep this rolling.”
  • Devin Vassell will miss his third straight game Sunday against the Timberwolves because of pain in his right knee, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Coach Gregg Popovich told reporters Friday that there’s no timetable for Vassell to return. Josh Richardson is questionable for Sunday’s game because of lower back tightness.
  • Noting that Primo referred to a mental health issue in his statement on Friday night, Orsborn (Twitter link) points out that the Spurs hired a performance psychologist in September 2021. The psychologist was required under the NBA’s newly adopted mental health policy, and teams are also required to enlist a licensed psychiatrist when necessary, according to Orsborn.

Joshua Primo Accused Of Exposing Himself To Women

7:28pm: A league source confirms to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News that Primo has multiple allegations of exposing himself (Twitter link).


7:01pm: Primo allegedly exposed himself to a former Spurs female employee, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. She has hired attorney Tony Buzbee, who represented the women involved in the sexual misconduct lawsuits against NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson.


6:10pm: The Spursrelease of 2021 lottery pick Joshua Primo was related to multiple allegations that he exposed himself to women, according to Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Those accusations help to explain the team’s unexpected decision to part with a player it valued so highly. San Antonio selected Primo with the 12th pick last year and recently exercised its $4.3MM option for the 2023/24 season, even though the deadline for such a move isn’t until Monday.

In a statement to Wojnarowski after the release was announced Friday, Primo cited “previous trauma” that he suffered. He also promised to focus on his mental health treatment so he would eventually be able to discuss the issues that are affecting him and “help others who have suffered in a similar way.”

Numerous teams are investigating Primo’s situation and have expressed interest in submitting a waiver claim for him, sources tell the authors. To claim him off waivers, a team would need enough cap space or a traded player exception large enough to cover his $4.1MM salary. If a team does claim him, it would also be obligated to pay the $4.3MM option for 2023/24 that the Spurs picked up.

Primo, 19, was the youngest player drafted in 2021, but he played 50 games as a rookie and made 16 starts. He was used off the bench in four games this season, averaging 7.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 23.3 minutes per night.

Southwest Notes: Primo, Pelicans, Wood, Mavericks

The Spurs‘ decision to part ways with 12th overall pick Joshua Primo just 15 months after drafting him was one of the most stunning moves in franchise history, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Based on his research, Mark Deeks of Forbes (Twitter link) believes it’s the smallest gap between being drafted and waived for any NBA lottery pick, ever.

While Orsborn was able to confirm through sources that Primo’s release wasn’t related to basketball, details remain sparse, beyond the statement released by the 19-year-old on Friday. No one in the Spurs’ organization has offered any concrete information, and Primo’s agent Todd Ramasar hasn’t returned messages asking for a comment, according to Orsborn.

As we wait to see if we get any more clarity on Primo’s shocking release, let’s round up a few more notes from around the Southwest…

  • With Brandon Ingram (concussion), Zion Williamson (hip/back), and Herb Jones (knee) all out of action, the Pelicans showed off their depth on Tuesday in a victory over Dallas, writes William Guillory of The Athletic. However, that depth wasn’t enough to pull out an upset win on Friday in Phoenix without that trio of forwards available. Both Williamson and Jones will be game-time decisions on Sunday, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN. It remains unclear when Ingram will be able to exit the concussion protocol.
  • Speaking to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Mavericks big man Christian Wood discussed playing with Luka Doncic, adjusting to coming off the bench in Dallas, and his goals for the rest of his career. “Individually, of course, I want to be an All-Star in this league. I think I have a good chance if I get the time and the minutes to show what I can really do. I think I can definitely make a case for that,” Wood said. “I want to try to win as many games as I can. I want to get to the playoffs. I haven’t been to the playoffs one time in my career. I want to try to make a run in the playoffs.”
  • The Mavericks are considering giving JaVale McGee a rest night on Saturday vs. Oklahoma City, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. However, the plan would be to start Dwight Powell, not Wood, at center. Powell has only seen seven minutes of action so far this season, but Dallas wants to keep Wood as the sixth man, since he has thrived in that role so far, MacMahon explains.