SAN ANTONIO – It’s been a busy week for the Spurs. They have surfaced as possible trade partners for Ben Simmons, Becky Hammon may be headed to the Pacific Northwest and there was a shakeup in the structure of the franchise’s investor group. Welcome to this week’s KSAT.com Spurs newsletter.
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Ben Simmons trade talk
There’s no doubt Simmons is a bit of broken player right now. His struggles seem to be in his head more than anything. It happens to pro-athletes, but it’s hard to overlook the fact he is still one of the most complete players in the game. His defense and play-making skills are elite. The Spurs would be wise to at least give the Sixers a call to see where his value is at the moment.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on his podcast Tuesday that while the Spurs never seem to be in the mix on these things, “San Antonio is just tailormade for a bunch of stuff for one guy, to throw some things at the wall.”
“It would require them thinking, we have a bunch of pretty good young guys, but we don’t think they are going to add up to a great team even when they all reach 23, 24, 25 years old. Let’s just take a shot,” Lowe said. “The Spurs have Chip Engelland, if there is one guy who can fix Ben Simmons, they have him.” The oddsmakers also place the Spurs as the third favorite to acquire the All-NBA point guard who stands 6′11″.
What would a Spurs deal look like for Simmons? He’s set to make $33 million next season so the numbers would have to match. One possibility is a sign-and-trade with DeMar DeRozan, who is expected to get a new deal in the $27-29 million range. Bleacher Report has a potential deal that would send Dejounte Murray, Devin Vassell and this year’s No. 12 draft pick to Philly. I’d think San Antonio would have to get another team involved to make the money work.
The Spurs could also just stand pat and play the free agent market. They have cap space for the first time in years and have options. They still need outside shooting and while Simmons definitely does not fit that need, if there was ever a time to buy low on an elite player, this would be it.
There’s been some interesting developments on the Becky Hammon front in the past few days. Hammon is now a finalist for the Portland head coaching position and was set for another round of interviews this week for the Trail Blazers job. It’s the first time ever a female coach has reached this stage of interviews in the NBA.
But there might be an internal debate taking place in Portland over who is going to be the next head coach. NBA insider Marc Stein reported that Blazers owner Jody Allen has a “strong interest” in hiring the Spurs assistant coach while the team’s general manager appears to be leaning toward hiring LA Clippers assistant coach Chauncey Billups. Hammon also reportedly interviewed with Orlando, so while the Portland job may not pan out, she’s clearly getting closer to making history.
The Spurs announced some key changes to the structure of the franchise’s investor group on Friday. The biggest news to come out of the announcement was that Peter J. Holt was officially elevated to managing partner and two deep-pocketed investors were added as strategic partners.
Austin billionaire Michael Dell, of Dell Technologies, is now a part owner of the franchise, along with Sixth Street, a leading global investment firm. The two bought out several minority owners and own a combined 30 percent of the team. The Spurs said the Holt family remains the largest shareholder.
The moves naturally raised eyebrows about the future of the franchise. I don’t believe it’s as much a question of relocation, but possibly a question of what happens when the topic of a new arena enters the fold. Does a new stadium move further up Interstate 35? Holt’s promotion to managing partner means he has full authority and a final say over the franchise. He said in a video Friday that the Spurs are committed to staying in San Antonio longterm.
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 out Fiesta-ing the only way he can...cycling some insane amount of miles! Manu posted a pic Saturday on Twitter with a caption that said it was “the most tired I’ve ever been. More info soon.” It appears Manu took part in the Fiesta Wildflower Ride which ranged from 20 to 60 miles. Ginobili also got to also rep the No. 20 again. MANU. FOREVER.
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