Spurs Rumors

Hawks To Hire Landry Fields As Assistant GM

The Hawks are hiring Austin Spurs general manager Landry Fields as their new assistant general manager, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The 32-year-old Fields joined the Spurs as a scout in 2016 and was promoted to G League GM last year. He is filling a vacancy in Atlanta that has been open since Jeff Peterson, who was the Hawks’ assistant general manager under general manager Travis Schlenk, left in 2019.

Fields also spent five seasons in the NBA, playing for both the Knicks and Raptors. In 255 games, he averaged 6.8 PPG and 4.3 RPG.

Daniel Oturu Interviewing With Several Teams

  • University of Minnesota big man Daniel Oturu has interviewed – or will interview – with the Timberwolves, Spurs, Wizards, and Cavaliers, among other teams, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News.

Wolves, Mavs, Spurs Among Likely Campazzo Suitors

While veteran point guard Facundo Campazzo remains with Real Madrid for the time being, the expectation is that he’ll sign an NBA contract after the 2020 free agent period begins, according to Jose Luis Martinez of Marca.com (Spanish link), who identifies Campazzo’s most likely landing spot as Minnesota.

As Martinez explains, the presence of fellow Argentine and former Real Madrid point guard Pablo Prigioni on the Timberwolves‘ coaching staff helps make Minnesota an appealing destination for Campazzo, as does the fact that the club has little point guard depth on its roster behind D’Angelo Russell.

However, the Wolves aren’t the only team with an eye on Campazzo. The Mavericks and Spurs are also potential suitors, according to Martinez, who notes that San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich is a fan of the 29-year-old. The two Southwest rivals have previously been cited as having interest in Campazzo.

A two-time EuroLeague champion and three-time Spanish League champ, Campazzo has a decorated international résumé that also includes four Argentine League championships, a EuroCup Defensive Player of the Year award, and a silver medal in the 2019 World Cup.

In 28 EuroLeague games in 2019/20, Campazzo averaged 9.9 PPG and 7.1 APG (second behind Nick Calathes‘ 9.1). His three-point percentage slipped to 31.0% but he’s typically a reliable outside shooter, knocking down 37.5% of his tries from beyond the arc over the previous two EuroLeague seasons.

While Campazzo is still under contract with Real Madrid, his deal includes an NBA out and he sounds prepared to pay the money necessary to exercise that out.

2020 NBA Offseason Preview: San Antonio Spurs

Hoops Rumors is previewing the 2020 offseason for all 30 NBA teams. We’re looking at the key questions facing each club, as well as the roster decisions they’ll have to make this fall. Today, we’re focusing on the San Antonio Spurs.


Salary Cap Outlook

Unless DeMar DeRozan unexpectedly opts out and the Spurs don’t re-sign Jakob Poeltl and/or Bryn Forbes, the odds of the team creating any cap room are slim. On the other hand, bringing back DeRozan, Poeltl, and Forbes might put San Antonio into luxury-tax territory unless the club cuts costs elsewhere.

I don’t expect Spurs ownership to pay the tax for the current roster, so perhaps the team will let Poeltl or Forbes walk or trade one of its many veterans on expiring contracts. Depending on certain roster decisions, San Antonio could have the non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($9.26MM) and bi-annual exception ($3.62MM) available, but may ultimately be limited to just the taxpayer MLE ($5.72MM).

Our full salary cap preview for the Spurs can be found right here.


Roster Decisions To Watch

Options:

  • DeMar DeRozan, player option: $27,739,975 (Oct. 13 deadline)

Non-Guaranteed Contracts:

Two-Way Contracts:

Free Agents:


2020 Draft Assets

First Round:

  • No. 11 overall pick

Second Round:

  • No. 41 overall pick

The Spurs don’t make a habit of trading away draft picks – or stockpiling extra ones – so it comes as no surprise that their only two selections in the 2020 draft are their own.


Three Key Offseason Questions

1. Will the Spurs run it back again with DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge?

DeRozan and Aldridge were as efficient as ever on offense in 2019/20. DeRozan’s .531 FG% was easily a career high, while Aldridge enjoyed the best three-point shooting season of his career (.389 3PT% with 1.2 makes per game).

However, DeRozan is now 31 years old and Aldridge is 35. Both players are entering potential contract years, with DeRozan considered likely to exercise his $27.7MM player option for 2020/21. And San Antonio is coming off a 32-39 season — that’s the team’s worst record and the first time it has missed the playoffs since 1997.

On top of all that, the Spurs reportedly shopped Aldridge at this year’s trade deadline, and there were rumblings shortly thereafter that DeRozan wasn’t thrilled with his situation in San Antonio. In other words, all signs point to the team considering the idea of seeing what it can get for its two veterans on the trade market this offseason and handing the reins to its young up-and-comers.

Still, the Spurs have never really shown a taste for making biggest splashes on the trade market unless their hand is forced, as it was in the case of Kawhi Leonard. And the aforementioned report which said the club shopped Aldridge at the deadline also noted that rival teams believed San Antonio’s asking price was far too high. It may be difficult for the Spurs to extract a ton of value for DeRozan at $27.7MM or Aldridge at $24MM.

Gregg Popovich‘s status is also an X-factor here. He turns 72 years old in January and presumably doesn’t plan to coach the Spurs for a whole lot longer. Would a pivot to the team’s youth be what San Antonio’s longtime head coach and president of basketball operations has in mind for his final year(s)?

2. Is this Gregg Popovich’s last year with the Spurs?

While we’re on the subject, it’s worth considering what exactly Popovich’s future holds, since it could have an impact on how the Spurs approach the next year or two.

In recent years, there had been a general perception – unconfirmed by Popovich – that the Spurs’ head coach would stick around through 2020, then coach Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics as a possible last hurrah.

The coronavirus pandemic has complicated matters. Not only have those Olympics been postponed until 2021, but there’s uncertainty about whether NBA players and coaches will even be able to fully participate, since a delayed ’20/21 season could very well overlap with the rescheduled Olympics.

Assuming the NBA can figure out a plan to either finish its season before the Olympics or include a break in its schedule to accommodate them, it seems likely that Popovich will still coach Team USA as long as he can safely do so. And it sounds as if the Spurs expect Popovich back on their sidelines for the 2020/21 season.

While it may look a little different than what we initially envisioned, perhaps the original theory – that Popovich will coach the Spurs up until the Olympics and then call it a career after the Tokyo games – is still in play.

Of course, even if the upcoming season is Popovich’s last, it’s possible it won’t have a major impact on the franchise’s roster decisions. It probably wouldn’t fit Popovich’s style to seek out any sort of win-now moves for his final go-round — I could just as easily see him embracing a partial rebuild before handing things off to a successor such as Becky Hammon, Will Hardy, or Tim Duncan.

Either way, Popovich has had such a hand in shaping the Spurs’ culture over the last 25 years that it will be fascinating to see how the team transitions out of his tenure and looks to carry over that culture to a new era.

3. Will Jakob Poeltl and Bryn Forbes be back?

Poeltl, who was one of the players the Spurs acquired in the Leonard blockbuster, will be a restricted free agent this offseason and is entering his age-25 season. Forbes, who just turned 27, has been a full-time starter for San Antonio in each of the last two seasons.

As I noted above, re-signing both players to market-value deals would potentially put the Spurs in tax territory if no cost-cutting roster moves follow. Still, I’d be a little surprised if the team lets either player get away.

Poeltl’s numbers per 36 minutes (11.5 rebounds, 2.9 blocks) show his value as a rebounder and rim protector, and it feels as if he has more room to grow. The Spurs’ front office will want to recoup as much value as it can from the trade that helped send the Raptors to a championship. With the ability to match any offer sheet for Poeltl, San Antonio should retain him.

As for Forbes, he has been one of the Spurs’ most reliable three-point shooters over the last two seasons, knocking down 40.8% of his attempts during that stretch as the club ranked 30th and 28th in three-point tries.

San Antonio’s backcourt is loaded with young players, but Forbes is capable of sliding up to the three and playing alongside a pair of guards. Since he’ll be unrestricted, there’s no guarantee he won’t look for a new deal elsewhere, but the Spurs have a history of overpaying a little to retain their own guys if they really want them back.

Assuming both Poeltl and Forbes are re-signed, the most logical way for the Spurs to shed some money would be to move one of their veterans on expiring contracts. Besides DeRozan and Aldridge, Rudy Gay ($14.5MM) and Patty Mills ($13.3MM) would also fit that bill.

Information from Basketball Insiders and ESPN was used in the creation of this post. Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Five 2020/21 Player Option Decisions To Watch

Based on the limited spending ability that many teams around the NBA will have in free agency this offseason, the general belief is that most veterans who have player options for the 2020/21 season will pick up those options, taking the guaranteed money rather than rolling the dice on the open market.

In many cases, that decision is a no-brainer — Hornets forward Nicolas Batum isn’t about to turn down his $27MM+ option to try his luck in free agency. However, there are several players who will have trickier decisions. In those cases, the player’s option salary might be in the neighborhood of his projected value in free agency, incentivizing him to see if he can do better in free agency.

Alternately, a player might decide that declining an option and taking a small pay cut for the 2020/21 season is worth it in order to secure a longer-term deal. Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas took this path a year ago, passing on a $17.6MM option in favor of a three-year contract worth $15MM per year.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at five players whose option decisions won’t necessarily be simple ones. Let’s dive in…

  1. Evan Fournier, Magic ($17,150,000): If not for the coronavirus pandemic, Fournier’s free agency would have been well-timed, as he’s coming off perhaps his best season as a pro (18.5 PPG, 3.2 APG, .467/.399/.818 shooting). Even if he can’t secure a raise, Fournier could be a good candidate for a Valanciunas-esque multiyear deal that greatly increases his future guarantee while locking him into an annual salary below $17.15MM. But there aren’t many teams that have the cap room to accommodate such a deal, and I’m not convinced Orlando wants to keep making long-term commitments to veterans from its middle-of-the-pack squad after signing Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross to four-year deals.
  2. Jerami Grant, Nuggets ($9,346,153): After a slow start in Denver, Grant emerged as a key contributor for the Nuggets, averaging 12.0 PPG with a .389 3PT% and strong, versatile defense. If he opts out, there should be teams willing to pay him the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which will work out to about $40MM over four years. The question will be whether Grant, who is still just 26 years old, wants to wait until 2021 to pursue a long-term contract, in the hopes that more teams will have money to throw around at that point. If the Nuggets or a team with cap room shows a willingness to give him a multiyear deal exceeding the MLE this year, that might be his best bet.
  3. Avery Bradley, Lakers ($5,005,350): With the Lakers seemingly ticketed for a spot in the Western Conference Finals, this would normally be an opportunity for Bradley to show off his value in advance of a bigger offseason payday. Instead, having opted out of the restart, he hasn’t appeared in a game since March. Bradley, who is a strong perimeter defender and isn’t a liability on offense, could probably secure a modest raise in free agency, but opting in would be the safe play — especially given his long layoff.
  4. JaMychal Green, Clippers ($5,005,350): Given that he plays alongside a pair of All-Stars and two Sixth Man of the Year winners, it’s easy to overlook Green, but the veteran forward is a regular role player for one of this year’s top title favorites, averaging 16.4 MPG in 10 playoff games. While he doesn’t get many looks on offense, he’s a reliable three-point shooter and a good team defender. Still, due to the leaguewide cap situation, he’s not a lock to get a raise on the open market. He also seems to enjoy playing for the Clippers, so he may be leaning toward picking up his option.
  5. Austin Rivers, Rockets ($2,436,046): Rivers is no star, but any regular rotation player who is earning the minimum is a bargain. Even if he ultimately ends up sticking with Houston or signing a minimum-salary deal with another team, it probably makes sense for Rivers to turn down his option and explore the open market — declining his option and signing a new minimum deal would likely only cost him about $100K. He could also very well do better than the minimum, unless his playoff struggles (.315/.267/.857 shooting) tank his value.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacers Identify 14 Head Coaching Candidates

The Pacers are set to begin a wide-ranging search for a head coach that will include more than a dozen candidates, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. As Wojnarowski details, Indiana is looking to interview the following candidates as the team seeks a replacement for Nate McMillan:

  • Former Kings and Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger
  • Timberwolves associate head coach David Vanterpool
  • Nets associate head coach Jacque Vaughn
  • Trail Blazers associate head coach Nate Tibbetts
  • Spurs assistants Becky Hammon and Will Hardy
  • Heat assistants Dan Craig and Chris Quinn
  • Mavericks assistants Jamahl Mosley and Stephen Silas
  • Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee
  • Sixers assistant Ime Udoka
  • Magic assistant Pat Delany

It remains to be seen whether the Pacers will be granted permission to speak with all of their potential targets. If they do, the team’s first round of virtual meetings would feature at least 14 interviews.

Many of the Pacers’ coaching candidates identified by Wojnarowski have been linked to other vacancies around the league. Vanterpool, Craig, Mosley, Silas, Ham, and Udoka, for example, are all believed to be interviewing for the Bulls’ job. Udoka and Ham have also been mentioned as potential 76ers candidates, as has Joerger. Vaughn was seriously considered for the Nets job before the team hired Steve Nash, while Hardy and Delany interviewed with the Knicks before they hired Tom Thibodeau.

[RELATED: 2020 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Others on Indiana’s list, such as Tibbetts and Hammon, have interviewed in past years for various NBA head coaching openings. Only a couple candidates – Quinn and Lee – haven’t received head coaching consideration in the past, as far as I can tell. Meanwhile, Joerger and Vaughn are the only names on the list with previous head coaching experience.

Mike D’Antoni has also been mentioned as a potential target for the Pacers, but he remains active in the postseason with the Rockets and there’s no guarantee he’ll leave Houston when his contract expires.

Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard has spoken about wanting to hire a head coach who takes a “modern approach” to the game and has the ability to connect with younger players. McMillan’s old-school approach to offense was believed to be one reason why Indiana made a change.

Nets Hire Steve Nash As Head Coach

The Nets have hired former two-time MVP Steve Nash as their new head coach, reports Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). Nash has signed a four-year contract from the club, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The team has confirmed the hire in a press release.

“After meeting with a number of highly accomplished coaching candidates from diverse backgrounds, we knew we had a difficult decision to make,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said in a statement. “In Steve we see a leader, communicator and mentor who will garner the respect of our players.

“I have had the privilege to know Steve for many years. One of the great on-court leaders in our game, I have witnessed firsthand his basketball acumen and selfless approach to prioritize team success. His instincts for the game, combined with an inherent ability to communicate with and unite players towards a common goal, will prepare us to compete at the highest levels of the league.”

Former head coach Jacque Vaughn, who took the reins from Kenny Atkinson in March and received consideration for the permanent job, will remain with the franchise as the lead assistant on Nash’s staff, as reported by Wojnarowski and confirmed by the club. He’ll become the highest-paid assistant in the NBA, according to Woj, who says that Vaughn likely would’ve earned the permanent job if Nash hadn’t been available.

The hiring of Nash comes as a major surprise — not only was he not previously mentioned as a potential candidate for Brooklyn, but it wasn’t clear he was even interested in an NBA head coaching job. He has worked in recent years as a consultant for the Warriors, where he developed a relationship with Kevin Durant, who had a voice in the Nets’ search process.

As Wojnarowski explains, Nets owner Joseph Tsai and Marks were “aggressive” in their efforts to recruit Nash. The Hall-of-Fame point guard has received overtures in recent years from teams interested in hiring him to a coaching or front office role, per Woj. Nash said today in a statement that coaching was something he always wanted to pursue “when the time was right.”

Nash, who has no previous coaching experience, will assume control of a Nets team that will enter the 2020/21 season with a healthy Durant and Kyrie Irving and has championship aspirations. As a former MVP who played in an NBA All-Star game as recently as 2012, Nash will presumably command the respect of Brooklyn’s stars and other veterans.

With Nash installed as their head coach, the Nets will no longer move forward with their rumored pursuit of Gregg Popovich, so it looks like a safe bet that Popovich will continue coaching the Spurs. The Nets’ decision also takes one potential suitor off the table for Tyronn Lue, who is expected to be one of the year’s hottest coaching candidates and has reportedly drawn interest from the Pelicans and Sixers in addition to Brooklyn.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Spurs Rumors: Popovich, Roster, Aldridge, DeRozan

As rumors continue to swirl about the possibility that the Nets will make a run at longtime San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich, Spurs CEO R.C. Buford said that his team is operating under the assumption that Popovich will be returning for the 2020/21 season, writes Jabari Young of CNBC.com.

“I don’t know if he’s told (Spurs general manager) Brian (Wright) any differently,” Buford said. “Pop’s shown nothing other than how we’re going to build our team for next year.”

Popovich is easily the NBA’s current longest-tenured head coach and seems likely to return to the Spurs for at least one more year. However, he’s also the league’s oldest coach at age 71, so the club can’t count on him to remain in his current role indefinitely. Still, Buford is confident that Popovich’s influence will linger even after he eventually leaves the franchise.

“Pop’s vision will be in play long after his presence,” Buford said, per Young. “That doesn’t mean it’ll be him in there making those decisions, but we’ve all learned together, and you’re not going to step away from a values-based, team-building aspect that focuses on culture and coming to work every day and working on it.”

Here’s more from Young on the Spurs:

  • Asked about the Spurs’ roster direction, Wright expressed that he likes the team’s mix of veterans and younger players, while Buford said San Antonio will continue to address its roster “optimistically and opportunistically,” according to Young. “I think having the ability to develop young talent and flexibility to be opportunistic is going to be what we’re going to continue to do,” Buford said.
  • According to Young, the Spurs were rumored to be shopping LaMarcus Aldridge near this season’s trade deadline, but rival executives believe the club’s asking price was too high. “(The Spurs) overplayed their hand thinking they were supposed to get some giant package for him,” one NBA executive told CNBC.
  • Within Young’s article on the Spurs, he observes that DeMar DeRozan will likely decide to pick up his 2020/21 player option. While that sounds more like informed speculation than a firm report, it’s still worth noting, since Young suggested during the winter that DeRozan may be unhappy in San Antonio and another report around the same time indicated he’d likely opt out if he’s not extended. That was before the coronavirus pandemic changed the NBA landscape, however.

Nets Rumors: Popovich, KD, Kyrie, Vaughn, TLC

Now that the Nets‘ season is over, the team’s long-anticipated search for a permanent new head coach can get underway. And as we learned earlier this month, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is expected to be atop Brooklyn’s wish list.

Popovich has given no indication that he wants to continue his career anywhere besides San Antonio, but the Nets will explore the possibility of luring the Spurs legend to Brooklyn, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

As Charania details, the Nets have a number of connections to Popovich and the Spurs, with general manager Sean Marks, assistant GM Andy Birdsong, and assistant coach Tiago Splitter among those who previously worked with or played for Popovich. Additionally, sources tell The Athletic that Popovich has long been a favorite of Kevin Durant, dating back to Oklahoma City’s 2015 head coaching search.

According to Charania, the Nets’ interest in Popovich is widely considered a pipe dream, but the team will still exhaust the possibility. They’d need to be granted permission to speak to him and would almost certainly need to send the Spurs some sort of compensation if talks became serious.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • While Jacque Vaughn continues to receive consideration for the Nets’ permanent head coaching position, Durant and Kyrie Irving are interested in a “higher profile head coach,” according to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, who cites Popovich and Tyronn Lue as possibilities in that vein.
  • Vaughn expressed confidence following the end of the Nets’ season that he’s the right person for the club’s permanent head coaching role, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “What I am confident in is my skill set as a coach, my ability to communicate and have relationship with guys, my ability to adjust on the fly, adjust with individuals,” Vaughn said. “Those things I’m very comfortable with, comfortable at this stage of my career of having a voice and choice with my players.”
  • Veteran swingman Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, who emerged as one of the Nets’ more reliable contributors during the summer restart, told a French outlet that he enjoys playing in Brooklyn and wants to remain with the team, as NetsDaily relays. The former first-round pick has a non-guaranteed $1.82MM salary for 2020/21, which looks like a pretty solid value based on TLC’s play this summer.
  • In an Insider-only ESPN.com article, Bobby Marks previews the Nets’ offseason, exploring Joe Harris‘ potential cost in free agency, what it would take to trade for a third star, and much more.

Derrick White Undergoes Toe Surgery

Spurs guard Derrick White, fresh off the best season of his three-year NBA career, has undergone surgery on the dislocated second toe of his left foot, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweets that White had been dealing with the left toe dislocation since before the NBA’s Orlando restart.

San Antonio traveled to the NBA’s 22-team Orlando restart campus but just barely missed out on qualifying for the play-in game between the eighth and ninth seeds in the West, finishing with a 32-39 record and the No. 11 seed.

White, considered a core part of the Spurs’ future along with backcourt mate Dejounte Murray, will be eligible for an extension of his rookie contract once the 2020/21 league year begins. He averaged 11.3 PPG this season while playing terrific defense, including high marks for block percentage and defensive rebounding percentage. He converted 36.6% of his 3.2 three-point attempts per game.

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks noted in a season review last week, locking in White long-term would be a savvy move for the Spurs as the team continues to rebuild during its first year out of the playoffs since 1997. Marks pegged an extension for White within the range of a four-year, $52MM deal, which would give Spurs team president and head coach Gregg Popovich and GM Brian Wright over $70MM in projected salary cap room for 2021 free agency, when several high-level All-Stars and role players are expected to be available.

The eight-figure contracts of Spurs veterans LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay and Patty Mills will all come off San Antonio’s books in a year. The jury is out on whether guard DeMar DeRozan, the team’s priciest player, will exercise his $27.7MM player option for the 2020/21 season.