There is no team in the NBA that develops solid role players quite like the San Antonio Spurs, and with with the ink still wet on Brazilian center Tiago Splitter’s brand new four year, $36 million contract, the organization has locked up another one of those projects.
Splitter, perhaps best known for being the victim in this assault by LeBron James, has actually grown to be a decent big man in the NBA. His 10.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per game provide a necessary complement to the inevitable bottom of star Tim Duncan’s fountain of youth. With Duncan on the court, Splitter is a much better defender than when he is off the court. This begs the question to the Spurs and their general manager R.C. Buford — will Splitter be worth $9 million per year once Tim Duncan steps off the court? One can only imagine that Duncan will not still be with the team once Splitter’s contract expires in 2017. For now, this might not be as bad of a deal as it seems, but once Splitter’s support is gone, the Spurs will have to evaluate whether or not he truly can be the anchor of this team’s defense.
In related news, USA Today reports that Manu Ginobili has stated he will remain with the Spurs for the next two years. The terms of the contract have not yet been disclosed. The 35-year-old Argentinian has won three titles with the Spurs, and despite his numbers and health deteriorating over the past two years, Ginobili has said he is thrilled to be back with the Spurs until 2015. Having battled back spasms as well as quadriceps and hamstring injuries over the past couple of years, Ginobili looks to bounce back healthy next year and avenge his poor play throughout the entire 2013 postseason and win his fourth NBA Championship with the Spurs in his twelfth season with the team. This upcoming campaign should show whether Ginobili’s injuries and health have been the problem, or if his time as a star for the Spurs truly is running thin.