NBA / Jun 18, 2010 / 11:00 am

San Antonio Spurs Importing The Next David Robinson

Manu Ginobili‘s bald spot might signal it’s over for the old guys. But, the San Antonio Spurs are trying to gear up again for one final push with their current roster. Every year, the “Spurs aren’t dead” headlines appear. Last summer, the signings of Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess were supposed to put them over the hump. They didn’t.

Now, the San Antonio News-Express is reporting that Spurs’ 2007 first-round pick, Tiago Splitter really wants to and is planning on coming to the States for next season:

During a ceremony this week celebrating Caja Laboral’s Splitter-led Spanish League championship, team president Josean Quereta said he understands it is Splitter’s “intent and desire” to join the NBA next season.

Splitter, the Spurs’ 2007 first-round draft pick and the MVP of the Spanish League this season, “wants to compete in the best league in the world,” Quereta said.

This summer will be a pivotal one for the 25-year-old Splitter in pursuit of that goal. He has an out clause in his contract with Caja Laboral that would allow him to move to the NBA this offseason. Otherwise, it will be two more seasons before he could easily free himself from his Spanish League deal.

After the Spanish League championship game, Splitter acknowledged his days in Spain could be over, but indicated his future plans remain undecided.

“If it was my last game (it) is the best way to say goodbye,” he told Spanish media. “But right now I do not know what to do.”

He was rumored to be coming to the NBA as early as 2005, and has the longest running profile in DraftExpress.com’s history, so San Antonio knows what they are getting from the 7-footer: an active, shot-blocking presence on one end and a solid inside finisher on the other.

San Antonio has long had a desire to team Tim Duncan with an athletic partner. Ever since David Robinson retired, they’ve been unable to do it, going through guys like Rasho Nesterovic, Nazr Mohammed, Fabricio Oberto and Kurt Thomas. Not quite The Admiral.

But the Spurs makeover won’t stop there. The rumors about San Antonio attempting to move up in the Draft are alive and squirming. A few weeks ago, we discussed the rumor of Tony Parker being dangled for Indiana’s No. 10 pick, Troy Murphy and Brandon Rush. It’s highly doubtful Indiana accepts this, despite their point guard problems, but what if R.C. Buford throws in the rights to Splitter, knowing he is on his way to the NBA next year, along with San Antonio’s No. 20 pick? The Spurs are fond of North Carolina’s Ed Davis. Despite recent reports saying the power forward won’t fall past Utah at No. 9, a frontline of Davis, Duncan and Murphy would be a major upgrade.

Players like Ekpe Udoh, Cole Aldrich and Patrick Patterson are also in the mix to be chosen during the late-Lottery.

Murphy also holds an expiring contract of almost $12 million. The Indianapolis Star reported recently that the Pacers want to unload some of their expiring contracts. They’ve had discussions with at least 20 teams about the No. 10 pick, but are keen on not taking back any contracts that would stunt the rebuilding process. Parker is still due over $25 million for the next two years.

At the wing and backcourt positions, the Spurs are in a good position. George Hill is coming along nicely, Ginobili is playing at a very high level once again and even Jefferson is still capable of scoring 20. Parker is still in the mix for now as well.

But the Spurs see the Western Conference as a bunch of teams all chasing the Lakers. No one can match L.A.’s size and length. So it appears the Spurs are making that their primary focus once again this summer.

What do you think? Where do the Spurs go from here?

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  • Filipe

    Sorry but the Pacers deal (which would be bad anyway) becomes evem more awful if they throw Splitter rights. Davis MIGHT be better than him in 3-4 years he will not be better than him in his rookie season. So if the Spurs want to win one final title with Duncan, why do a trade where they give the two best guys?

  • BiG_RoB_n_cali

    It would be scary if San Antonio try to pull da trigger on getting Lebron

  • cesar

    no way ed davis will be better than splitter in 3-4 years…

  • muwu

    Splitter is better than anyone the Spurs could get with the number 10. Also, he’s not a shotblocker. He’s an excellent defender, but he’s the type that won’t block shots, just getting the job done.

  • malik

    That Indiana trade idea is absolutely ridiculous. Are your ‘inside sources’ other dime writers? Because I can just as easily make up retarded trade scenarios.

    “Sources hint that all star power forward Tim Duncan is being used as trade bait for Charlie Villanueva and a possible 2016 second round pick.”

    But seriously, I hope Splitter doesn’t blow us off again.

  • http://dimemag.com Sean Sweeney

    @malik Parker has been available as trade bait all summer. And that trade rumor of Parker to the Pacers has been in discussion, or at least been talked about, for a week or two. Chad Ford initially broke the rumor at the start of the month.

  • big ups

    Wouldn’t Ray Allen be the perfect fit for the Spurs? I don’t know if they could afford him or not but he’d be that knockdown shooter they’ve been lacking.

  • Arno

    Compared to Rasho Nesterovic, Nazr Mohammed, Fabricio Oberto and Kurt Thomas, Splitter is obviously better. He’s no Robinson either, but would be a hudge improvement at center.
    Now, the problem is : Timmy being every year a bit slower, is he a PF or a center ? And will he better team with a PF or a C ?

  • sh!tfaced

    Thing I wanna know is, is he better than Scola? (Still can’t get over that trade. lol) They obviously had Splitter in mind when they gave away Luis…

  • :e’s Momma


    They moved Scola to save money on the Jackie Buter contract. That was the only way Houston would take Butler and his 2 mil contract, and that was when SA would absolutely not go into the tax territory. Silly move in hindsight, as Scola is a legit 4 who would fit nicely with Timmy.

    I must admit, this kid Splitter, I know nothing about, but I would like to see how he would do in the NBA, apparently this guy got some game.

  • the cynic

    Parker for spare parts? Yeah that make sense. This is the Spurs not the Clippers

  • sh!tfaced

    @ :e’s Momma

    Totally forgot about Jackie Butler. Thanks. Hope Splitter is worth it. He’s MVP of some sort so guess he has game, if its NBA level we’ll know soon enough…

  • http://dimemag.com Sean Sweeney

    I don’t know if he’s better than Scola,but Luis was considered the best post player not in the NBA before he came over. That title now belongs to Splitter…

  • http://www.myspace.com/carlifrancis5 quest???

    Splitter is very good, I have seen him play in person a number of times.

  • tom

    If Tiago comes no need to trade parker. Think about it.

    Starting: Duncan, Tiago, Jefferson, Parker, Hill.
    Bench: Ginobili, Mcdyess, Blair, temple

    Possible role players added:
    Kelenna Azubuike SF 13.9 PPG 4.6 RPG 40.9% 3PT
    Channing Frye C 11.2 PPG 5.3 RPG 41% 3PT

    Pop usually shortens his rotation mid season so there is no need to load up the roster. Also this is 1st off season that the big 3 are going to rest and get healthy. Keep in mind also that Jefferson’s contract can be used to trade for a quality name like a Tayshaun Prince (whose style is fitting for a half court team), or Troy Murphy (who Pop loves)

    With a few added role players Spurs could contend next yr. that is if Parker stays and Tiago joins the Spurs next season.

  • fLaVa

    wtf is this comparing Splitter to DAVID ROBINSON?????

    i hate the spurs but come on now… david robison to splitter?

  • Paul

    I think it has been established that the Spurs can no longer settle on undersized “big” man anymore. Teams are getting to the paint easier than ever. We need a 6’11, 7’0 big man to plug up the hole and rebound. Tiago will give you that his rookie year. This team needs to get back to that killer defense that won those 4 titles. Lately too much emphasis has been put on getting offensive power at the cost of team defense. That has to change if the Spurs want their 5th title.

  • Ian


    now who the hell makes up the trades scenarios parker for murphy and a 10th pick?? lol gtfoh indiana wont take it. if the spurs offer parker for that shit indiana would be all over it. throw in tiago also HELL NO. no trade has to be made if tiago goes to the spurs.

    again an allstar pg who is 28 for crap and crap no thanks.

  • Yaba

    I’m sorry….. and for the record I am a Carolina fan.. But what do this people see in Davis…he is a propect but he is only 6’9″ or 6’10”, not very a phisical player and doubtfull jumpshot. In my opinion he will get the money but it will take him YEARS to actually do something in the NBA. There are a lot of players with his height but bigger faster and stronger everywhere in the international leagues.

  • joanna

    manu,Tony,Timmy,and Splitter…..what a beauty and another title.

  • ab_40

    knowing that spitter is better than 95% of this drafts bigs trading away his rights would be even dumber than trading away luis scola his rights. seriously trading the spanis leauge mvp and finals mvp for ed davis and indiana scrubs? Pop and buford ain’t that crazy

  • JH

    Tiago Splitter = San Antonio’s Jesus.

  • bob

    The Spurs need two things:

    1.Defense to replace the loss of Bruce Bowen.
    2.Three Point shooting to replace the loss of Bruce Bowen.

  • bob

    lets hope the Spurs bring up someone like Jimi Olsen from sales to negotiate the Splitter contract…..rather than whoever blew it with Scola.