Spurs Rumors

Popovich, Nowitzki, Wade Headline 2023 Hall Of Fame Class

APRIL 1: Popovich, Wade, Nowitzki, Gasol, Parker, and Hammon have officially been announced as Hall of Famers. In addition to those previously reported names, the following inductees will join them:

  • Gene Bess: Longtime head coach at Three Rivers Community College who won two NJCAA national championships and won a record 1,300 games.
  • Gary Blair: Longtime women’s basketball head coach at Texas A&M, Arkansas, and Stephen F. Austin who won a national championship in 2011 and was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
  • David Hixon: Longtime Amherst College head coach who won a pair of Division III national championships and was twice named the D-III Coach of the Year
  • Gene Keady: Longtime Purdue head coach who appeared in 17 NCAA tournaments and was named Big Ten Coach of the Year seven times.

The Hall of Fame is also recognizing Jim Valvano, the late NCAA broadcaster who created The V Foundation for Cancer Research, and the 1976 Olympic U.S. women’s basketball team (Twitter links).

This year’s class will formally be enshrined in the Hall of Fame on the weekend of August 11-12 in Springfield, Mass.

MARCH 28: Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Tony Parker and Becky Hammon have been inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

All six were finalists of the 2023 class, and a formal announcement of all the inductees will take place on Saturday morning at the NCAA Men’s Final Four.

Popovich, the NBA’s all-time leader in wins for a head coach, has won five championships, all with San Antonio. The 74-year-old is in his 27th season as the lead coach of the Spurs, compiling a 1363-757 record to this point, good for a 64.3 winning percentage. In 284 postseason games, his teams have gone 170-114 — a 59.9 winning percentage.

A three-time Coach of the Year, Popovich is the longest tenured active coach in the league. He led Team USA to a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Popovich was actually eligible to be inducted years ago but didn’t want to be considered until his longtime point guard Parker was eligible after Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili were previously inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Nowitzki spent his entire 21-year career with the Mavericks, winning the team’s lone championship in 2011 en route to Finals MVP. He earned numerous accolades during his career, including being named the league’s 2006/07 MVP. The German big man was also 14-time All-Star and 12-time All-NBA member.

Wade, a shooting guard, was a 13-time All-Star, eight-time All-NBA member, and three-time NBA champion with the Heat. He was named Finals MVP in 2006 and spent the bulk of his career with Miami. Wade is currently a part owner of the Jazz.

Parker, a point guard, spent his first 17 seasons with the Spurs before surprisingly signing one-year contract to finish his career with Charlotte. He was a six-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA member, four-time NBA champion and 2007 Finals MVP.

Gasol, a forward/center, was a six-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA member, two-time NBA champion with the Lakers and was the ’01/02 Rookie of the Year. He also had a storied international career with the Spanish national team, winning a couple of Olympic silver medals and several medals during World Cup and EuroBasket compeitions.

Hammon was a six-time WNBA All-Star and two-time first-team All-WNBA member. The former guard won an Olympic gold medal in 1998 with the U.S. national team.

Hammon was a Spurs assistant for parts of eight seasons, becoming the first female acting head coach in NBA history when Popovich was ejected from a game in December 2020. She departed San Antonio when she was named head coach of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, becoming the first rookie head coach to win a championship last season.

Southwest Notes: McCollum, Kyrie, Sochan, Porter

In his latest diary entry for Andscape, Pelicans guard CJ McCollum discussed a handful of topics, including injured teammates Zion Williamson and Jose Alvarado and his expectations for the home stretch of the season. Perhaps most notably, he confirmed that his own right thumb injury will require surgery during the offseason.

“I knew the final outcome would probably be surgery, and I was notified that that’s what it’s going to have to be,” McCollum wrote. “It’s my shooting hand, so you’re always a little nervous. So, I’ve just been checking in with a hand specialist out of New York and just making sure things are progressing and continue to get images every couple weeks to track the progress as to what type of surgery I may need, what’s the process going to look like and I’m comfortable with what I’ve been hearing so far, so I’ll be all right.”

McCollum acknowledged that it hasn’t been ideal playing through the thumb injury, which has “affected how I dribble, shoot, pass, (and) absorb passes.” However, he said that shutting it down for the season has never been an option he seriously considered, since he believes he can still be effective.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Dallas is just 7-12 since Kyrie Irving made his Mavericks debut and has slipped out of the top 10 in the West, but Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link) has heard only positive things about the guard’s professionalism and locker room presence since last month’s trade. Blaming Irving for Luka Doncic‘s recent frustration wouldn’t be “fair or accurate,” MacMahon adds.
  • A nagging right knee injury will sideline Spurs forward Jeremy Sochan on Sunday for the seventh time in his last 11 games. However, the rookie has downplayed the issue as “nothing serious” and head coach Gregg Popovich said the team “probably” won’t shut down Sochan for the season, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required). It sounds like there’s no concern that the knee problem will turn into a major injury, and the Spurs want to give Sochan all the reps they can before his first NBA season ends.
  • Despite the way in which his time in Cleveland ended, Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. still values the time he spent with the Cavaliers and said he’s looking forward to playing in Cleveland on Sunday, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required). “I would say that’s the first time I learned about the business of the NBA,” Porter said of the trade that sent him to Houston following a locker-room incident with the Cavs. “But we’re all still close, still. Those relationships are still there and very valuable to me, and (to) the other side, too. Definitely, a lot of people would say it was bad, a bad (ending). It was (for) the best for both of us.”

Texas Notes: Mavericks, Hardaway, Irving, Rockets, Spurs

Despite falling below .500, the 36-37 Mavericks remain intent on competing for a title this season, writes Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com.

“The standings are going to change to the last game of the season,” head coach Jason Kidd said. “If we can get healthy and have everyone on the court, that gives us the best chance to win… We feel we have the pieces to be a championship team. We’re playing for a championship. But we just right now have to focus on the game that’s in front of us and that’s Charlotte.”

Over the past two weeks, Dallas has gone just 2-5, while slipping from the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference to No. 9. They have been without one or both of their two All-Star guards, Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic, in each of their past six games.

There’s more out of the Lone Star State:

  • Irving and Tim Hardaway Jr. are both questionable to suit up for the Mavericks in their next game, Friday against the Hornets, the team has announced (Twitter link). Irving is dealing with a sore right foot, while Hardaway continues to struggle through a non-COVID illness.
  • Two Rockets players may not be available for Houston on Friday against the Grizzlies, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Small forward Jae’Sean Tate will miss another game due to his sore left knee, while center Frank Kaminsky is considered questionable to play due to migraines.
  • Several key Spurs players will be sidelined Friday night against the Wizards, as the team continues to tank. Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News reports (Twitter link) that rookie Jeremy Sochan will be shelved with a sore knee and guard Romeo Langford will miss the action with an adductor injury. The team’s second-leading scorer, Devin Vassell, is questionable with a knee injury, as is center Zach Collins, who is dealing with a biceps bruise.

Jeremy Sochan Impresses Teammates By Playing Through Pain

  • Jeremy Sochan returned Wednesday after missing two games with right knee soreness, but the Spurs rookie was still in obvious pain, observes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “He has grown a lot this year, playing through injuries and all that,” said teammate Keita Bates-Diop. “I think most of us are as well, but you can visibly see he is going through some stuff. But he wants to be out there, wants to play, wants to help us compete. I love that about him.”

Devonte' Graham Enjoying Time With Spurs

When the Spurs acquired Devonte’ Graham from New Orleans in exchange for Josh Richardson at last month’s trade deadline, it was the four second-round picks attached to Graham that represented the main draw of the deal. With that in mind, it’s probably safe to assume Graham will be back on the trade block this summer, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required).

Still, given that Graham’s trade value may be limited and the Spurs won’t move him just to move him, the most likely scenario, in McDonald’s view, is that the veteran guard remains with the club for the 2023/24 season. Graham, who is owed $12.1MM next season and has a small partial guarantee on his $12.65MM cap hit for ’24/25, sounds like he’d welcome a full year in San Antonio.

“No complaints,” Graham said of his time with the Spurs so far. “It’s a great group of guys, great coaching staff. Obviously the fans have been amazing supporting me since I’ve been traded. It’s been an easy transition for me, honestly.”

Graham went on to say that he loves playing for Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and has appreciated the opportunity to take on an increased role since the trade. He was averaging just 15.3 minutes per night in 53 games with New Orleans, but has played 28.2 MPG in 13 games since arriving in San Antonio. He’s averaging 15.5 PPG and 4.6 APG on .408/.389/.800 shooting for his new team.

Dejounte Murray Feels He Got "Closure" In Visit To San Antonio

  • Hawks guard Dejounte Murray feels like he got “closure” when Spurs fans gave him a warm reception in his return to San Antonio for Sunday’s game, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “I felt like it was what it should be,” Murray said. “We showed nothing but love, both sides, from myself, the fans, the organization.”

Dejounte Murray Unsure Of What To Expect In Return To San Antonio

  • Dejounte Murray isn’t sure what kind of reception to expect Sunday in his first game back in San Antonio since the Spurs traded him to the Hawks, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Some fans are upset about statements and social media posts from Murray regarding his time in the city. “At the end of the day, I love this city, I love the San Antonio Spurs organization, the Austin Spurs, I love everything about it,” Murray said Saturday. “However it goes (Sunday) is however it goes. But I am excited to see the people I love and care about.”

High Praise For Sochan From Pop

Luka Doncic has been ruled out of Friday’s game at the Lakers as he continues to deal with a left thigh strain, the Mavericks confirmed (Twitter link via Marc Stein). Fellow guard Kyrie Irving is questionable with a right foot injury — he previously said he was feeling discomfort near his big toe.

While Doncic miss his fourth straight game tonight, he’s hopeful that he could return for the Mavs’ next game on Monday at Memphis, tweets Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News.

Hopefully next game. Monday, hopefully then, but we’ll see day by day,” Doncic said.

The Mavs have gone 1-2 over the past three games without their two best players and are currently 35-35, the No. 8 seed in the West.

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd has been heavily scrutinized in recent weeks for his laid-back demeanor amid a poor stretch of play (the Mavs are just 4-9 since the trade deadline), but his players like his “even-keeled” style, as Caplan writes for The Dallas Morning News. “He’s a Hall of Fame point guard, one of the best point guards of all time, and you can tell by the way he coaches that he has that demeanor,” third-year wing Josh Green said. “A lot of coaches, they’re tight, they’re panicking, but he’s very relaxed. He sees plays. He sees what’s open. He knows what’s working. It’s good to have a coach like that, and it’s very motivating for the rest of the team.” Kidd wasn’t always known for being easygoing — far from it. He credited his time as an assistant with the Lakers for his improved “patience and perspective,” according to Caplan.
  • Jabari Smith Jr. has had his ups and downs this season, as most rookies do. However, the 2022 third overall pick has played his best basketball of late, a promising sign for the Rockets going forward, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscriber link). “You want to see your rooks learn and grow and improve throughout the season,” guard Kevin Porter Jr. said. “Jabari’s season has definitely been that. He started figuring it out. Had a great run, a great stretch and then had a rookie wall and then had his All-Star break. Now you see him settling into his own game. You see him shooting the 3 with a lot more confidence, his turnaround, his mid game, everything. The defensive end, he’s shown he’s improved that. I’m proud of him. He’s going to keep getting better.” Smith, a 19-year-old forward, recently became the first teenager in league history to record three straight games with 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds, Feigen writes.
  • Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich thinks very highly of for rookie forward Jeremy Sochan, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter links). He’s a stud,” Popovich said. “He’s going to be a hell of a player. He’s got the same heart, the same competitiveness as Manu Ginobili. … I have never seen someone come in at such a young age and act like they have been here forever. He’s just totally unintimidated.” The ninth overall pick of last June’s draft, Sochan is averaging 11.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 2.6 APG on .453/.250/.702 shooting in 54 games (26.4 MPG).

2023’s Most Valuable Traded Second-Round Picks

Fans of lottery-bound NBA teams will be keeping a close on the bottom of the league’s standings down the stretch because of the effect that “race” will have on the draft order and lottery odds for the 2023 first round.

However, it’s not just the first round of the draft that’s worth keeping an eye on. Those reverse standings will also dictate the order of the draft’s second round, and an early second-round pick can be nearly as valuable as a first-rounder.

[RELATED: Traded Second-Round Picks For 2023 NBA Draft]

Here are a few of the traded 2023 draft picks that project to land near the top of the second round:

From: Houston Rockets
To: Indiana Pacers or Boston Celtics
Current projection: No. 32

The Rockets initially traded their 2023 second-round pick, with top-32 protection, to Memphis at the 2020 trade deadline as part of a Bruno Caboclo/Jordan Bell swap. The Celtics later acquired that top-32 protected second-rounder during the 2020 offseason in the deal that sent the draft rights to No. 30 pick Desmond Bane to the Grizzlies.

As part of the complex four-team James Harden blockbuster in early 2021, the Rockets agreed to send the Pacers their 2023 second-round pick if it ends up at No. 31 and No. 32. So the Pacers are on track to receive that Houston second-rounder if it’s one of the first two picks of the round, while the Celtics would get it otherwise.

We took a closer look at this draft-related subplot of the NBA’s race to the bottom last week, noting that the Pacers could instead end up with a pick in the early 50s if the Rockets’ second-rounder slips to No. 33. Missing out on Houston’s pick wouldn’t be quite as bad for the Celtics, as we outline below.

From: Portland Trail Blazers
To: Boston Celtics or Oklahoma City Thunder
Current projection: No. 36

If the Rockets’ second-round pick ends up at No. 31 or No. 32, the Celtics will almost certainly receive Portland’s pick instead. If Houston’s second-rounder lands at No. 33, Boston would get it, while the Thunder would acquire the Blazers’ pick.

Should the Blazers’ recent slide continue, their second-rounder may not actually be much less favorable than Houston’s — only four spots separate them for the time being.

The Blazers originally gave up their 2023 second-round selection when they acquired Rodney Hood from Cleveland just ahead of the 2019 deadline. It was subsequently flipped to the Pistons (in the 2019 offeason), the Clippers (in the 2020 offseason), the Hawks (at the 2021 deadline), and finally the Celtics in a three-team trade during the summer of 2021.

When they acquired Mike Muscala from the Thunder last month, the Celtics agreed to send OKC the least favorable of their two 2023 second-round picks, which is why the Thunder would receive Portland’s pick if Boston gets Houston’s.

From: Chicago Bulls
To: Washington Wizards
Current projection: No. 37

The Bulls remain in the thick of the play-in race in the Eastern Conference, so it’s possible their second-rounder could slide all the way to the mid-40s if they make the play-in tournament and then earn a playoff spot. However, the Wizards – the team the Bulls are chasing for the No. 10 spot in the East – have extra incentive to stay ahead of Chicago, thereby increasing the value of this pick.

The Wizards acquired this Bulls second-rounder with top-36 protection when they sent Otto Porter Jr. to Chicago at the 2019 deadline. The Bulls agreed to remove the protections as part of their sign-and-trade deal for Tomas Satoransky later that year.

Interestingly, the Wizards actually traded Chicago’s 2023 second-rounder to the Lakers as part of the Russell Westbrook blockbuster in the summer of 2021, but got it back from L.A. a couple months ago in the Rui Hachimura deal.

From: Indiana Pacers
To: Sacramento Kings
Current projection: No. 38

Like the Bulls, the Pacers are still in the play-in race in the East, so there’s no guarantee this pick will land in the top 10 of the second round. But Indiana has a banged-up roster and doesn’t appear overly incentivized to make the play-in tournament.

This pick changed hands in the Domantas Sabonis/Tyrese Haliburton mega-deal at the 2022 trade deadline. Technically, the Spurs would receive it if it lands between Nos. 56 and 60, but we can safely rule out that possibility at this point.

Other picks to watch:

Given how congested the play-in races are in each conference, there are a handful of other second-rounders whose value could surpass that of a couple of the picks listed above.

For instance, the Jazz‘s second-round pick is currently controlled by the Hornets, the Spurs own the Raptors‘ second-rounder, and the Thunder will acquire the Wizards‘ second-rounder if it’s more favorable than OKC’s own pick.

Spurs’ Charles Bassey Diagnosed With Patella Fracture

MARCH 15: The Spurs have confirmed Bassey’s initial diagnosis of a non-displaced patella fracture and he has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

MARCH 14: Spurs forward Charles Bassey has a non-displaced fracture of his left patella, according to an initial diagnosis, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News tweets. Bassey will undergo additional testing on Wednesday.

He suffered the injury during the first half of the team’s victory over Orlando on Tuesday.

Coach Gregg Popovich said he learned of Bassey’s diagnosis at halftime, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News tweets.

“Somebody hit me with that at halftime,” Popovich said. “Poor guy, he was just learning how to play.”

Bassey has appeared in 34 games this season, averaging 5.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per night. He had a pair of 14-point games against Houston earlier this month.

Bassey signed a four-year contract with San Antonio earlier this month, though the last two years are non-guaranteed. Bassey joined the Spurs in October on a two-way contract after being waived by the 76ers.

Bassey had a leg injury that kept him out of action for a chunk of time in January and February. He suffered a tibial plateau fracture during his college career at Western Kentucky.