SAN ANTONIO – The Spurs may not be in the playoffs, but there is still a ton of Silver and Black-related news and notes. Yes, some of it includes Charles Barkley and Kawhi Leonard. Welcome to this week’s KSAT.com Spurs newsletter.
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Becky Hammon lining up head coaching interviews
Let’s start with the latest on Becky. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Hammon was interviewing for the Portland and Orlando head coaching positions. There is also a push, albeit via a digital billboard, for Boston to hire Hammon. Indiana is listed as another option and the Washington and New Orleans jobs are now also available.
An NBA team will take a chance on her sooner rather than later, which is great. She deserves it, but it would be a bit of a shame if it’s not in San Antonio. Hammon has been a Spurs assistant since 2014 and she’s grown with this current group of players.
Gregg Popovich has not given any indication he is retiring this offseason so unless there is some type of coach-in-waiting deal we’re not aware of, it would be smart for Hammon to continue to test the waters and take advantage of the opportunity. There are only 30 of these jobs, period. She’s paid her dues and worked hard for this even if it’s not in San Antonio.
Spurs reportedly targeting free agent Kelly Oubre Jr.
Free agency is weeks away, but there are already some Spurs rumors, which is a good sign they will be active this summer. Yahoo Sports! reported San Antonio is one of three teams interested in signing free agent forward Kelly Oubre Jr.
Oubre played with the Golden State Warriors last season and averaged 15.4 points and 6 rebounds per game. His 3-point shooting — 32.6 percent over his career — leaves something to be desired, but he’s 25 years old and still has upside, especially on defense.
Outside shooting should be the Spurs primary focus this offseason, but Oubre would be a nice addition at the right price. And that’s where things get interesting. Oubre is reportedly looking for a deal worth up to $20 million a season. That’s a good chunk of cap space, but if the Spurs were to lose DeMar DeRozan in free agency, Oubre would be a solid replacement and still has room to grow on offense.
Miami and the New York Knicks are also reportedly interested in Oubre’s services. All three would have the cap space to pay him.
Charles Barkley told to stop fat-shaming San Antonio women
The Spurs are missing from the postseason and so is Charles Barkley’s annual fat-shaming schtick about women in San Antonio. And apparently, that will be the case moving forward for the latter.
During an interview on Monday, Barkley told a Washington, D.C. sports radio station that he was told by his bosses at TNT that he is no longer allowed to fat-shame women in San Antonio, a running gag he’s had for years on the show “Inside the NBA.” Barkley explained what happened.
“If you crack a joke the wrong way, they are like ‘you crossed a line.’ They won’t even let me talk about San Antonio anymore,” Barkley said on the Grant & Danny Show. “I didn’t call anybody personally fat in San Antonio. I was just joking around. When we go to San Antonio, the people are having a blast with it.”
Barkley, 58, said he also felt that nowadays “you can’t even have fun without these characters trying to get you canceled.”
“We’ve had fun all these years and now all of a sudden in the last year and a half, everybody is trying to get everybody fired and it really sucks,” Barkley said.
The former NBA great and Hall of Famer said he plans to retire when he turns 60 years old, so the long-running schtick may be retired for good.
Kawhi Leonard possibly out for playoffs
I get it. Some Spurs fans still have not gotten over what Kawhi Leonard did and I don’t think they are completely wrong. Kawhi pulling the rug out from San Antonio’s future plans threw the franchise in flux for the next decade.
That all being said, this latest Kawhi injury news is a bummer. He’s been spectacular during these playoffs, averaging an insane 30.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Watching him operate makes me sad for Spurs fans, but with the exception of Kevin Durant, there is not another player I would consider having on my team in the postseason and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching him play.
If Leonard does miss the rest of the playoffs, it would be two of the last four postseasons that Leonard has not been able to finish due to injury. And in both instances, he had an opportunity to win a title. I’ll die on the hill that the 2017 Spurs team could have beaten Golden State with a healthy Leonard and the Clippers were my pick to reach this year’s NBA Finals. But it looks like the Klaw might be done for at least this postseason. I guess we will not see him reunite with Pop on the U.S. Men’s Olympic team this summer.
The most interesting Spur in the world, or former Spurs player, is Manu Ginobili. What has Manu been up to? The old No. 20 is somehow going on 40-mile bike rides in this unbearable heat! Manu posted a pic on his Twitter account Sunday of himself once again cycling through the Hill Country. Ginobili tweeted that he was “tired and excited” after his first ever 40-mile ride. Hopefully Manu is wearing enough sunblock and staying hydrated. He must be protected from this heat at all cost! MANU. FOREVER.
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