Parker returns for Spurs, helps take down Dallas

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs are whole for the first time in months and so they carried out in the same efficient model that helped them battle by the rash of injuries.

Tony Parker had 22 factors and seven assists in his return from a six-game absence, main San Antonio’s balanced attack in a 112-106 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday evening.

Parker performed with his traditional relentlessness, ending 10 for 15 from the field on a series of breakneck drives. He also had just one turnover in 32 minutes, and the Spurs had six players score in double figures.

”I thought Parker seemed nice once more coming off a nice little 10-day break they can afford to provide him,” Mavericks ahead Dirk Nowitzki said. ”And he just comes in and appears nice.”

Despite a series of accidents, San Antonio (43-sixteen) remains 1½ games behind Oklahoma City (45-15) for the top seed within the Western Conference.

Tim Duncan scored 17 factors, Kawhi Leonard added 16 and Boris Diaw had 13 factors and 10 rebounds for San Antonio. Manu Ginobili had 15 factors and 7 assists as the Spurs prolonged their profitable streak to three games.

Nowitzki scored 22 points, Vince Carter added 21 and Monta Ellis had 17 for the Mavericks, who’ve misplaced eight straight to the Spurs.

Parker appeared refreshed after not playing since Feb. 10 for what San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich formally listed as `’rest,” but unofficially was resulting from a sequence of lower body maladies.

”I feel it was a bit little bit of [a bodily and psychological rest],” Parker stated. ”Pop, I trust his judgment. I didn’t need to admit it to myself. But possibly I was tired mentally. It is a variety of basketball the last three years with no break; the [French] nationwide group and NBA. It undoubtedly helped, I felt fresh.”

The French point guard made his first shot, and on the following possession, drove into the guts of the paint to attract the protection and fired a go to Leonard for an open 3-pointer that gave San Antonio a 5-2 lead.

”I just try to penetrate and make stuff happen,” Parker mentioned. ”Obviously, I want to score; but I need to do both. I wish to create pictures for my teammates. Myself and Manu [Ginobili], we will create a whole lot of offense, we now have nice shooters all around us. I can’t remember the final time we had everybody.”

Parker punctuated his return with a left-handed layup from the correct aspect of the rim to avoid Dalembert’s attain with forty five seconds remaining.

”He’s been an MVP candidate, really each of the final three, four, five years,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle stated. ”Look, he’s that good and he was clearly contemporary tonight. He hit shots that were the photographs that were there. You’ve got to give him credit for that and we would have liked to be slightly bit better on our coverages.”

The Spurs visibly frustrated Nowitzki, who continually yelled at officials. Popovich alternated Splitter, Diaw and Leonard defensively on Nowitzki, who shot 9 of 17.

”It was just to provide him a unique look,” Popovich stated of the rotations. ”He’s such an ideal player. No person stops him. At the very least giving him a special look makes me really feel higher like I’m trying, like I’m doing one thing.”

Nowitzki additionally committed two early fouls.

”The primary one was silly,” he mentioned. ”I noticed the ball, form of reach for it. By the point I reached for it, the ball was gone and I hit his arm. I missed my first two pictures. I believe I used to be somewhat anxious; I actually needed to play nicely. By the point I settled in within the second quarter, I used to be little too puffed up.”

Carter saved the Mavericks in the recreation nearly single-handedly in the first half, as Dallas trailed just 48-forty seven. Ginobili scored eight straight points, together with a pair of 3-pointers, because the Spurs opened a 78-67 lead with a minute remaining.

Ginobili, who was 2 for five on 3s, was energized by the team’s return to health.

”For Tim and Tony, it has been a while, greater than a month, in all probability without all three enjoying,” Ginobili stated. ”It feels good. As I mentioned the final two video games, it’s very important for us to be healthy, to start feeling assured, to start out enjoying with each other once more over the past stretch of the season.”

Notes

The Spurs have had 24 totally different lineups this season… San Antonio has received 12 of 14 regular-season video games against Dallas. The Mavericks haven’t crushed the Spurs since a 106-ninety nine victory on March 17, 2012, in Dallas… Popovich and Nowitzki engaged in somewhat contentious banter through the recreation. When Nowitzki was whistled for fouling Parker on a drive, he yelled at official Derek Richardson as he left for a substitution, ”Just because (Popovich’s) yelling doesn’t suggest there is a foul.”

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Manu Ginobili discusses the frustration of ‘having to play with the parking brake on’ due to injury

Why wouldn’t Manu Ginobili wish to return to all this? (Getty Pictures)

San Antonio Spurs legend Manu Ginobili turned 36 in July. He’s missed a combined 55 common season games during the last two years, the anticipated payoff after years of all-out play that often ran deep into the NBA’s postseason, normally followed up by prolonged runs representing his native Argentina in worldwide play.

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Recently, Ginobili sat down for a candid and revealing interview with the Argentinean paper La Nación, and J. Gomez at Pounding the Rock was thoughtful and diligent sufficient to translate and transcribe it for us. In the forwards and backwards, Ginobili comes clean on a season that actually seemed to put on him down, especially as he struggled to supply Manu Ginobili-esque play because the playoffs trudged along.

What was weighing on you? Since you clearly weren’t and aren’t bored with basketball

The bodily part. Having to keep rehabilitating and getting in form after injuries. Having to play with the parking brake on as a result of I’m coming back from a muscle strain. That wore me out and it was arduous.

I have a good time when I am wholesome and playing, I really feel fortunate enjoying with the workforce and training employees I play for. However the bodily issues drained me.

Ginobili went on to level out that it only took two or three days of “grieving” following San Antonio’s Game 7 loss to the Miami Warmth earlier than deciding that he was going to return again for one more season, and signal a free agent take care of the Spurs.

This might seem like a fast turnaround, particularly contemplating the nearly eight-month run of 103 regular and postseason San Antonio Spurs games that preceded that call. The turnaround needed to be fast, although, as a result of San Antonio’s postseason run ended on June 20, and the free agent interval sparked up only a week and a half later. Ginobili couldn’t dawdle, which is tough stuff for a guy that has been with the group for eleven years as an active player, 14 years after being drafted by the club, as he ready to signal what is going to probably be his last contract with the workforce.

Apparently it was sufficient time to construct up the muscle power to put pen to paper, as Ginobili admitted that the trying 2012-13 left him nearly out of gas:

This 12 months, like never earlier than, you appeared weak

A lot of times this year I’ve been instructed I appeared weak, vulnerable, fragile. I’ve no cause to cover. I’m no less of a person for feeling that manner or for having played poorly. Sure, so what’s the problem? I will be criticized? Nice. I swear I gave the whole lot I had and I tried to win, like I at all times have. Generally it happens and generally it doesn’t. I will not blush or feel embarrassed for saying it. I felt weak and I expressed it. I did not have a purpose to not. It is true. It was the first time I’ve felt that way.

Manu responded in the affirmative to the query that was posed about the swingman being “energized by anger,” which probably helps explain this brilliant 24-level, 10-help efficiency in Recreation 5 of the Finals, coming at Ginobili’s probable low-level as an oft-injured (and subsequently, oft-criticized) veteran.

It’s also clear that Ginobili is greater than a bit peeved at his Spurs being regarded as simply one other Finals loser (within the first San Antonio Finals collection lack of the Tim Duncan period), when the crew gave Miami all it could deal with, telling the newspaper that critics will “see we had been pretty much as good as Seattle or Utah had been once they lost to the Chicago Bulls.”

This is clearly a annoyed dude.

That’s just fantastic. With no worldwide play scheduled, Manu may have a full three months’ relaxation before getting back into the grind in late September; and while that will not really feel ample, it’s usually greater than he’s often afforded. How the savvy Ginobili responds to his declining athleticism over the next two years of his contract stays to be seen, but when this interview is any indication it’s obvious that Ginobili is about as self-aware as they arrive.

Translation didn’t cloud that sentiment. The person is beat, but he’s getting again up off the canvas for an additional go.

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Kyle Korver stays with Hawks for 4 years, $24 million, because shooters get paid

Cha-ching. (Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images)

Free agent forward Kyle Korver reached agreement Wednesday on a four-year, $24 million contract to rejoin the Atlanta Hawks, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, taking the best shooter available in free agency off the board at a price tag that confirms the heightened value NBA teams are placing on long-range bombers this offseason.

The deal — which can’t be officially finalized until the July 10 end of the league’s moratorium on trades and free-agent acquisitions — ends several reported suitors’ pursuit of the 32-year-old distance specialist. The Deron Williams Photoshop/Instagram-led charge of the Brooklyn Nets reportedly fell out of contention once it became evident that Korver would command a salary higher than the taxpayer midlevel exception, which starts at just under $3.2 million per year. This became evident after Kevin Martin got $7 million a year, J.J. Redick got about $6.8 million a year, Martell Webster got $5.5 million a year and Chase Budinger got about $5.3 million a year. (This also makes that Mike Dunleavy deal the Chicago Bulls signed look better and better with every passing second.)

The lesson: NBA executives dig the long ball — sorry, Tony Allen — and are willing to pay a premium for players who can hammer it home consistently, and there isn’t anyone who does that more efficiently and effectively than Korver.

It’s unclear how serious the San Antonio Spurs were about chasing Korver after bringing back Tiago Splitter and Manu Ginobili, but the Milwaukee Bucks were (somewhat curiously, given the in-flux nature of the Bucks’ “plan”) reportedly willing to pay up to $7 million a year over three seasons for Korver’s services — an offer the shooter declined, preferring to return to the Highlight Factory for the foreseeable future for what’s probably a combination of the additional year (which keeps Korver gainfully employed through age 36) and a comfortable situation he likes.

“Both me and my wife are really excited,” Korver told Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday. “We had a great experience with the city and the organization and feel very fortunate to be wanted back. I believe in what [general manager] Danny [Ferry] is building. I do. And I’m excited to play my role in that.”

The broad strokes of that role will be to hit an awful lot of 3-pointers at a very high clip — Korver shot 45.7 percent from deep last season, second-best in the NBA, and ranks 12th all-time in career long-range accuracy — and to serve as a mature, responsible, professional presence in a Hawks locker room that figures to be in flux in one form or another. The specifics of Korver’s job description, though — namely, for whom he’ll be spacing the floor and from whom he’ll be receiving those catch-and-shoot passes — remains unclear. To wit:

• The Hawks reportedly remain in contention for the game’s top remaining free agent, All-Star center Dwight Howard, although they’re not now considered a front-runner in the race for the 27-year-old Atlanta native.

• Howard’s decision, which reportedly won’t come until after the Fourth of July, figures to impact the future of longtime pal and fellow free agent Josh Smith, who will reportedly be the top target of the Houston Rockets should Howard go elsewhere, which could prompt the Hawks to pursue a sign-and-trade deal to ensure the versatile forward doesn’t skip town without returning some assets to help Ferry continue the rebuild he began by shedding the contracts of Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams last July. (Smith is almost certainly not returning to Atlanta; the two sides reportedly haven’t even spoken since free agency opened at 12:01 a.m. ET on Monday.)

• The Hawks also have to deal with the still-unsettled status of restricted free agent Jeff Teague, arguably the best point guard available this summer now that Chris Paul’s off the market. While the Hawks will have the right to match any offer sheet the 25-year-old triggerman signs, there doesn’t appear to have been a ton of movement in his market during this first week of free agency, meaning the team’s still in wait-and-see mode with its incumbent lead guard.

If the Hawks come from behind to secure Howard’s services, Korver’s the perfect sort of complimentary specialist to make defenses pay for the attention they’d have to pay to Dwight diving to the rim off pick-and-rolls or commanding a high number of touches down low. If the Hawks bring back Teague, the two worked together very well last year, with Teague assisting on nearly 35 percent of Korver’s makes and lineups featuring both outscoring opponents by just under six points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com’s stat tool. If Atlanta goes all-in on building a contender right now, paying (and perhaps overpaying a bit) a guy you can trust to knock down shots (including foul shots), relieve offensive tension and play better-than-you-think (although not by a ton) team defense is totally worth it.

But if Atlanta doesn’t get Dwight, and doesn’t keep Smith, and goes into next season with a roster headlined by (the very, very good) Al Horford and (maybe) Teague, then the Hawks don’t profile as a contending team or, cap space aside, one that seems like a serious threat of becoming one right away. In that case, paying $6 million for what’s ostensibly a (very nice) luxury item seems pretty unnecessary. Then again, you’ve got to pay somebody under the new collective bargaining agreement.

Teams must spend a minimum of 90 percent of the salary cap, which (given prior projections of the 2013-14 cap) puts this year’s floor at somewhere around $52.7 million. If the Hawks don’t land Howard, don’t keep Smith and don’t bring back the raft of other free agents right now remaining as cap holds on their books, they’d be looking at just under $30.9 million on the books for 11 roster spots next season. That’s an admittedly imperfect number — it doesn’t factor in an RFA match for Teague that would likely come in well above his $4.5 million qualifying offer; it includes slots for first-round picks Lucas Nogueira and Dennis Schroeder, but not for early second-round pick Mike Muscala, who’ll get one; it includes the nonguaranteed deals of DeShawn Stevenson, Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack — but it’s instructive if only to point out that the Hawks kind of have to spend a lot of money just to reach ground-level.

In that case, then, why not spend it on a solid citizen who can help some of the youngblood Hawks learn the ropes, whom we’re sure new head coach Mike Budenholzer will love to pieces, and who’s got an elite, non-athleticism-dependent NBA skill that figures to remain mostly viable as he enters his mid-30s? Korver might not actually be worth $6 million per — and if the deal’s structured with incremental year-over-year raises rather than a flat annual value, he definitely won’t be worth $7 million or so at age 36 — and in two seasons, if Atlanta’s still treading water in its rebuilding plan, Hawks fans might prefer to have had that $6 million-plus in room available to absorb a bigger contract (plus, perhaps, some picks) in an asset-acquiring deal. Still, there are worse ways for Ferry to spend his owner’s money.

And let this be a lesson to all you NBA hopefuls out there — if you get world-class good at one particular thing and aren’t a reputed jerk, you too could someday be this kind of signing. Dare to dream!

NBA video from Yahoo! Sports:

Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Brad Stevens hired as new coach of the Celtics
• Manu Ginobili, Spurs agree on two-year deal
• Where Dwight Howard should and shouldn’t go

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Manu Ginobili returns to the San Antonio Spurs for a rate that is passable for both sides

Manu Ginobili also had issues choosing which rim to shoot at during the Finals (Getty Images)

He’s a legend, and there’s always the very good chance a summer off could heal what ails future Basketball Hall of Famer Manu Ginobili, but doesn’t $7 million a year seem like quite a bit for Ginobili’s talents, at this point in his career?

That’s what Manu is set to make this year and next with the San Antonio Spurs, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Though the figure is just a tick over the NBA’s average salary, for a remarkable player, it’s fair to wonder if the Spurs maybe overpaid a bit, even while getting a hometown discount from Manu.

Fair to wonder, if not entirely conclude.

It wasn’t as if the Spurs were doing anything with that cap space. Ginobili was never going to retire, after becoming a free agent, and the team’s contract extension for Tiago Splitter set the “we’re bringin’ ‘em all back!”-tone for the summer. The Spurs will be just about capped out, and they’re likely working with no plans to use the amnesty clause on Matt Bonner. By delaying the official signing of Ginobili and Splitter until after the team shops a bit more, they can still utilize the mid-level exception despite technically being under the salary cap. Sound moves, all. These are your defending Western Conference champs, moving forward.

It’s fair to worry about Manu’s contributions, moving forward. The reserve guard will turn 36 later this month, and if you excuse his masterful 24-point, 10-assist outing in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, he shot just 38 percent from the field during the playoffs, while racking up a team-leading 2.6 turnovers a game in the postseason spread out over just 26.7 minutes per contest. Manu has always relied on skill and savvy just as much as he’s banked on his significant quickness and athleticism, but having the extra oomph on that step-back jumper or drive never hurt. And Ginobili shot just 30 percent from long range during the postseason, often having to force bombs over longer, quicker defenders.

Still, Ginobili will be returning to play two years for as much money as he made in total during 2012-13, in a system he knows inside-out, for a city that adores him. It might be a pricey return, but it’s a necessary one for team, player, and community.