Tiago Splitter

And-Ones: NBA Media Rights, T. Moore, Splitter, I. Austin

The NBA’s exclusive media rights negotiating window with Disney (ESPN/ABC) and Warner Bros. Discovery (TNT) is expected to expire on Monday without a new deal in place, reports Alex Sherman of CNBC Sports.

After Monday, the league will be able to continue to negotiate with Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery while also having conversations with other potential media rights partners, including streamers like Apple, Netflix, and Amazon. A league spokesperson told CNBC that talks with Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery have been “productive” and are ongoing.

As both Sherman and Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic explain, the NBA’s next media rights deal will likely be more complex and wide-ranging than the current agreement, with the league expected to put together a package that includes three or four partners rather than just two. That current deal with ESPN/ABC and TNT will expire after the 2024/25 season.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Shooting guard Taze Moore – who signed a pair of 10-day contracts with the Trail Blazers this season, including one on the final day of the season – has joined the Vancouver Bandits in the Canadian Elite Basketball League, per a press release (hat tip to Sean Highkin on Twitter). A former Houston Cougar, Moore didn’t see much action in his first 10 days with Portland, but played 30 minutes in last Sunday’s blowout loss, compiling 12 points, eight rebounds, and four assists.
  • Tiago Splitter, an assistant coach on Ime Udoka‘s Rockets staff, will join the Brazilian national team’s staff as an assistant this summer, according to an announcement from the program (hat tip to Eurohoops). Brazil hasn’t secured a spot in the Olympics but will be looking to claim one of the four remaining openings by winning a six-team qualifying tournament in Latvia.
  • Isaiah Austin, the former Baylor standout whose plans of playing in the NBA were derailed when he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, has been hired an assistant coach by Florida Atlantic, reports Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. As Reynolds details, Austin has spent the last several years working for the NBA and playing in the BIG3.

Rockets Announce Coaching Staff For 2023/24

New head coach Ime Udoka officially announced his coaching staff for the 2023/24 season, the Rockets announced in a press release.

Ben Sullivan, Royal Ivey, Garrett Jackson, Tiago Splitter, Cam Hodges and Mike Moser will be Udoka’s assistants, per the team. Sullivan, Ivey, Jackson, Splitter and Moser were all previously reported additions (or in Splitter’s case, nearing a deal). That makes Hodges the only real new hire, based on reporting we’ve seen.

All six coaches have ties to Udoka. According to the Rockets, Sullivan got his NBA start as an assistant video coordinator after Udoka recommended him to the Spurs. Udoka was an assistant coach in San Antonio at the time. Sullivan has been an assistant with the Hawks, Bucks and Celtics over the past several seasons, including under Udoka in Boston in 2021/22.

Ivey, a 10-year NBA veteran as a player, has made previous coaching stops with Oklahoma City, New York and Brooklyn. He was a Nets assistant for the past three seasons, including alongside Udoka in ’20/21.

Jackson and Moser were player enhancement coaches for the Celtics. Jackson was with Boston for the past two seasons, while Moser was there for one. Udoka was suspended for all of last season by Boston after an affair with a team staffer, but he likely hired Moser even though they only worked together for a short period.

Splitter, another former NBA player, was Udoka’s teammate on the Spurs in ’10/11 and coached alongside him in Brooklyn in ’20/21. He has been an assistant with the Nets for the past four years.

Hodges got his NBA start with the Spurs as a player development assistant and worked with Udoka in both San Antonio and Philadelphia. He has been a coaching associate with the Clippers since 2020, according to Houston’s release.

Rockets Notes: Lopez, Whitmore, Draft Night, Splitter, Thompson

The Rockets are a “real threat” to the Bucks to sign veteran center Brook Lopez, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (hat tip to ClutchFans.com).

Lopez is entering unrestricted free agency, as his four-year, $52MM contract expired after the season. Lopez, 35, remains one of the top players at his position. He started 78 games this past season and averaged 15.9 PPG, 6.7 RPG and a career-best 2.5 BPG. He also made 37.4% of his 3-point attempts.

Houston’s interest in Lopez has previously been noted. The Rockets have a 20-year-old center in Alperen Sengun, a 2021 first-rounder, but Lopez could also serve as a mentor to Houston’s youthful frontcourt bigs while stabilizing its defense and stretching the floor offensively.

We have more on the Rockets:

  • Villanova forward Cam Whitmore says he’s baffled by reports that he has a medical issue that contributed to his surprising slide in the first round, ESPN News Services relays. Projected to go as high as No. 4 in the draft, he dropped into Houston’s laps at the No. 20 slot. “I promise you there’s not (a medical problem),” he said. “I have no idea. I don’t know what happened. But I feel fine. It’s my body. If they think it’s something different, they have their own opinions. But at the end of the day, it’s my body.”
  • GM Rafael Stone tried in vain to trade up from the No. 20 spot and were stunned was Whitmore was still available, according to Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle. “We always intended to try and trade up in this draft,” Stone said. “But we also talked about, if that wasn’t successful, trading out if we didn’t like somebody at the pick. And we were talking to a number of teams about what that would look like, and some of those potential transactions were very attractive. But again, not nearly as attractive as picking Cam, which is what we did.” The Rockets reportedly made trade inquiries with the Lakers (No. 17), Heat (No. 18), and Warriors (No. 19). Stone added the medical staff had evaluated Whitmore and there were no concerns about his health.
  • The Rockets are close to adding Tiago Splitter to Ime Udoka’s staff, Kelly Iko of The Athletic tweets. Splitter worked with Udoka on the Nets’ staff before Udoka was hired as the Celtics’ head coach.
  • Lottery pick Amen Thompson came away from his pre-draft workout with the Rockets convinced that the franchise was ready to exit from the rebuilding stage, he told Iko. “Just that they were looking for a change,” Thompson said of last week’s visit. “They were looking to turn the franchise around and get some wins. I wanted to be a part of that.”

Rockets Rumors: Harden, FA Targets, Thompson, Martin, Splitter

Although there have been several reports in recent weeks and months linking free agent guard James Harden to Houston, there have also been rumblings that the Rockets aren’t interested in giving the former MVP a maximum-salary contract, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said on the HoopsHype podcast.

Scotto’s guest on the podcast, Kelly Iko of The Athletic, agrees with that statement, noting that Houston would like to add three or four veterans this offseason and doesn’t want to be using $45MM of its $60MM in cap room on a single player.

According to Iko, people within the Rockets’ organization – including players – and people close to Harden are fairly split on whether or not the 10-time All-Star will return to Houston, with some confident about the odds of a reunion and others skeptical. Skepticism is the dominant view among rival executives who have spoken to Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com — many of those execs expressed confusion about the fit, though some did suggest that a short-term deal might make some sense.

If the Rockets don’t land Harden and look elsewhere on the free agent market for a point guard, Iko views Fred VanVleet as a more likely target than Kyrie Irving. Both Iko and Scotto have also heard that Austin Reaves is a player Houston likes, though Reaves will be a restricted free agent and the Lakers are considered likely to match any offer sheets he signs.

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Iko views Brook Lopez as a bit of a “pipe dream” for Houston, since the veteran center seems likely to remain with the Bucks. Iko names Clint Capela, Kristaps Porzingis, Myles Turner, Josh Hart, Dillon Brooks, as Kelly Oubre as possible targets for the Rockets in free agency or via trades, though he again acknowledges that some of those options are more viable than others. Hart, for instance, is considered a strong bet to remain with the Knicks, as Scotto points out.
  • New head coach Ime Udoka will have “a huge say in who he coaches,” according to Iko, which could be an important factor as the Rockets consider which players to pursue most aggressively this offseason.
  • Iko believes Overtime Elite guard Amen Thompson will be the top prospect on Houston’s board if there are no surprises in the top three picks in the draft. Iko has heard the Rockets believe the gap between Thompson and Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson isn’t as big as the consensus suggests.
  • Coming off a strong season, Kenyon Martin Jr. would “prefer to get paid now,” either as a restricted free agent or on an extension, says Iko. However, it remains to be seen whether Martin is in the Rockets’ long-term plans or if he might end up back on the trade block in the coming weeks. It’s possible Houston could postpone its decision on Martin, simply exercising his minimum-salary team option and determining during the season whether to try to extend or trade him.
  • According to Iko, Tiago Splitter, who worked with Udoka in Brooklyn and played with him in San Antonio, may be a candidate to join the Rockets’ coaching staff — especially if the team’s pursuit of Aaron Miles doesn’t pan out.

Nets Coach Jacque Vaughn Won’t Retain Three Assistants

Nets coach Jacque Vaughn is shaking up his coaching staff, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Igor Kokoskov, Brian Keefe and Tiago Splitter will not be retained. Kokoskov, the former Suns head coach, is the most notable name in that group. He joined the staff last offseason after a stint with the Mavericks.

Keefe was added to the Nets’ staff in the summer of 2021. He was recently under consideration for the Pistons’ head coaching opening. Splitter, a former NBA center, has been on the Nets’ staff since April 2018.

Brooklyn was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by Philadelphia.

Vaughn took over as the Nets’ head coach following Steve Nash‘s dismissal in November and had his interim label removed about a week later. Vaughn inherited Nash’s assistants and will now surround himself with a staff of his choosing.

Vaughn agreed to a multi-year extension in February that is expected to keep him under team control through the 2026/27 season.

The three coaches that Vaughn is letting go will likely land on their feet soon. There are a number of teams undergoing coaching changes, which will open up more assistant jobs around the NBA as the new head coaches assemble their staffs.

Nets Officially Announce Coaching Staff

The Nets have officially announced the coaching staff for new head coach Steve Nash, confirming in a press release that Mike D’Antoni and Ime Udoka will be assistants, while Amar’e Stoudmire is coming aboard as a player development coach. Those hires were all previously reported.

In addition to the newcomers, Nash will retain former interim head coach Jacque Vaughn, as expected. Assistant coaches Adam Harrington, Jordan Ott, and Tiago Splitter will also remain with the team, as will player development coordinator Ryan Forehan-Kelly.

“We’ve assembled an experienced staff of high-character individuals with varied backgrounds, both on and off the court, that will help create a solid foundation for me and our players,” Nash said in a statement. “When I set out to build this staff, I wanted to put together a committed group that would connect with our players and help put them in the best position to succeed as a team. With coaching and playing experience at the highest level and a deep background in player development, I’m confident that we’ve put the right people in place to lead us forward.”

Nash, a first-time head coach, has plenty of veteran experience on his new staff, including a pair of former head coaches in D’Antoni and Vaughn. He’ll likely lean on D’Antoni to help run the offense, while Udoka focuses primarily on Brooklyn’s defense, as Chris Milholen of NetsDaily writes.

Atlantic Notes: Ntilikina, Adel, Raptors, Nets Staff

Frank Ntilikina‘s last coach in the French Pro A League told the enigmatic Knicks guard that he must build off his strong showing the FIBA World Cup, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic reports. Vincent Collet knows this could be a make-or-break year for the lottery pick. Ntilikina helped Team France win a bronze medal in the tournament. “I told him he must keep going,” Collet told Vorkunov. “He must take advantage of the World Cup. When you start the camp, you must show them you are not the same Frank anymore.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets’ G League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, acquired the returning player rights to Deng Adel from Raptors 905, according to a team press release. Brooklyn had already signed the small forward to an Exhibit 10 contract. Adel played on a two-way contract with the Cavaliers during the second half of last season, then became a free agent. Long Island also acquired the returning player rights of JaKarr Sampson from the Windy City Bulls in the three-team G league swap. Sampson signed with the Pacers in August.
  • The five players who have partially guaranteed contracts with the Raptors will likely compete for three roster spots, as Blake Murphy of The Athletic details in an examination of the team’s salary cap situation. A dozen players have fully guaranteed deals and will almost assuredly make the squad. That leaves Cameron Payne, Isaiah Taylor, Dewan Hernandez, Chris Boucher and Malcolm Miller vying for the remaining spots on the 15-man opening night roster. Hernandez might have the biggest edge because he has the most guaranteed money and the most team-friendly contract long-term, Murphy adds.
  • Former NBA center Tiago Splitter has been promoted by the Nets to player development coach, according to a team press release. Splitter joined the organization after retiring in February 2018. The other staff additions or promotions included J.R. Holden (director of player personnel), Daniel Jones (physical performance coach) and Ryan Forehan-Kelly (player development coordinator).

Atlantic Notes: Leonard, Celtics, Splitter, Korkmaz

The Raptors are taking a long view on Kawhi Leonard, ensuring that he remains in good health throughout the rest of the season, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports writes. The team rested Leonard against the undefeated Bucks on Monday, the first half of a back-to-back set against Milwaukee and Philadelphia.

Leonard missed most of last season with a quad injury and has spent this season regaining his stamina, working to get back into a consistent game shape. He’s averaged 27.3 PPG, 7.8 RPG and 3.2 APG so far on the year.

“It feels good, [I] just don’t want to overdo it too early since I missed out on a year,” Leonard said about his quad. “It’s just injury prevention, so [I’m] just not playing back-to-backs for right now.”

When healthy, Leonard is a top-tier defender who’s improved vastly on the offensive end. The Raptors acquired him in a trade with the Spurs this past offseason, labeling him as a player who could lead the team to a deep playoff run.

Toronto is scheduled for 12 back-to-backs on the season. It’s unclear how long Leonard will rest for these sets, with the 27-year-old in his eighth NBA season.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Several Warriors players have labeled the Celtics as the biggest threat in their quest to a three-peat this season, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick. Players such as Kevin Durant and Draymond Green recognized the strengths of Boston, including the team’s ability to switch on defense and their depth off the bench.
  • Former NBA center Tiago Splitter has spent this season with the Nets sharing coaching and scouting duties. “Our goal this year is to improve last year’s result when we had 28 wins,” Splitter said, according to Nets Daily. “We want to do more than that, but we also think about the long run.” Splitter retired last February and joined the Nets in a dual role shortly after.
  • Derek Bodner of The Athletic examines the Sixers‘ decision to decline the third-year option in Furkan Korkmaz‘s contract. Philadelphia will have an extra $2MM in cap space next summer as a result, and Korkmaz will reach free agency on July 1.

Nets Hire Pablo Prigioni, Tiago Splitter

A pair of former NBA players have joined the Nets’ organization, the team announced today in a press release. Pablo Prigioni has been hired as an assistant coach on Kenny Atkinson‘s staff, while Tiago Splitter had been named a pro scout with additional duties related to on-court player development.

Prigioni, whose hiring was first reported by Brian Lewis of The New York Post, also received interest from the Knicks, with whom he spent two and a half seasons as a player. However, he ultimately chose to join the city’s other NBA team.

The longtime point guard transitioned to coaching after retiring as a player — he was named the head coach of Spanish team Baskonia last summer, but stepped down after just eight games, reportedly due to family issues. In Brooklyn, Prigioni will have an opportunity to work with promising young guards like D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Isaiah Whitehead, and Caris LeVert.

As for Splitter, he announced his retirement as a player due to health issues earlier this year, and had expressed an interest in coaching in the past. While the former Spurs center won’t technically be a member of Atkinson’s staff in Brooklyn, it sounds like he’ll get the opportunity to work with some Nets players in addition to his scouting duties.

Tiago Splitter Announces Retirement

Veteran NBA big man Tiago Splitter has decided to retire, he announced in an interview with SporTV (hat tip to HoopsHype).

Splitter, 33, has been slowed by injuries over the last two years, having been particularly bothered by hip issues. He underwent surgery on his right hip approximately two years ago, but says he was recently told by doctors that in order to continue playing, he’d need to undergo a procedure on his other hip as well.

“I am going to stop playing. It’s a decision I’ve made these past few months,” Splitter said (English translation via SporTV). “It’s not something I want, but the hip injury I’ve been having is more troublesome than we thought. It’s a difficult time because you stop doing something you’ve done a lifetime. I remember being on a basketball court as long as I remember my person. I talked to my family, my wife, everyone, and really, it’s time to hang up the sneakers.”

As recently as October, we heard that Splitter was holding out hope of an NBA return, though even at that point he admitted he was still being bothered by his health problems. The Brazilian center last suited up for the Sixers in 2016/17, appearing in eight games for the team.

Having spent seven years in the NBA, Splitter appeared in 355 regular season contests, averaging 7.9 PPG and 5.0 RPG. Although he played in Atlanta and Philadelphia, the bulk of Splitter’s NBA career came in San Antonio, where he appeared in 65 postseason games for the Spurs and won a championship in 2014.

While Splitter told SporTV that he’s not sure exactly what his next step will be, he has previously expressed an interest in coaching, and reportedly received an invitation from Gregg Popovich to work with the Spurs. Splitter, who hopes to remain involved in basketball, has also done some television work, appearing on TV Globo during the 2016 Olympics.