Tim Duncan has returned to the San Antonio Spurs as one of Gregg Popovich's assistant coaches.

Duncan, 43, spent his entire 19-year playing career with the Spurs and retired following the 2015-16 season.

Now he will once again link up with the man who has led the franchise since 1996, with San Antonio bidding to get back to the heights they enjoyed during Duncan's heyday. 

“It is only fitting, that after I served loyally for 19 years as Tim Duncan's assistant, that he returns the favour,” Popovich said in a press release. 

The NBA summer league is winding down, as the preliminary round of games ends on Thursday.

Only the top eight seeds will advance to a single-elimination tournament set to begin on July 13, so quite a few prospects will have to wait until the preseason begins in October to return to the court.

Some players have surpassed expectations in July while others have not. Success in the summer league does not necessarily translate to the regular season, but let's take a look at who is hot and who is not so far.

 

Hot

Tyler Herro, Miami Heat

Herro's criticism ahead of the 2019 NBA draft was based on his poor defense and lack of efficiency, despite his reputation as a sharpshooter. The summer league has allowed him to showcase that he has more to offer than shooting, though.

The 6-5 guard initiated the Heat's offense early and often and helped lead the team to a 3-1 record in the preliminary round. He showcased his playmaking ability out of pick-and-roll sets and has averaged 19.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.5 steals.

Herro probably is not close to becoming a primary option for the Heat, especially since Miami already have Goran Dragic, Jimmy Butler and Justise Winslow on board. But Herro's versatility is a good sign.

Lonnie Walker IV, San Antonio Spurs

Walker had his rookie season derailed by a meniscus tear, but he appears like he is poised to have a great sophomore campaign.

The 6-5 guard entered Thursday tied for first in the summer league in points per game (30.0) and he has been ridiculously efficient. Walker shot 58 per cent from the field in his two appearances.

His team went 2-2, so it is not likely he will play again in the tournament.

The Spurs will have some serious battles in their 2019-20 backcourt, as Walker will compete with the likes of Dejounte Murray, Derrick White and DeMar DeRozan for time after playing in just 17 regular season games last season.

Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors

The Raptors have found yet another diamond in the rough.

Boucher, 26, has played in 29 regular season games and is routinely dominating the summer league by averaging 22.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per contest. Toronto have the NBA's reigning Most Improved Player in Pascal Siakam, and Boucher could be up next. 

The 6-10 big man is fresh off a season in which he was crowned MVP and Defensive Player of the Year of the G-League, playing for Toronto 905. He won his second straight NBA title with the Raptors in 2018-19, as he played for the Golden State Warriors in 2017-18.

The departure of Kawhi Leonard could clear space for him to break into Toronto's rotation.

Not

RJ Barrett, New York Knicks

New York were initially favoured to win the summer league championship but went an underwhelming 1-3.

Barrett, the third overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, averaged 14.0 points and 8.8 rebounds but shot 30 per cent from the field with genuine rotation players around him.

The Knicks could be in a lot of trouble if his shooting struggles linger.

Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers

Many felt Portland got a steal when they selected Little with the 25th pick in 2019 but he definitely has some work to do.

The 6-7 wing has tallied 22 minutes per contest through three games. He is averaging 4.3 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 33 per cent from the field. 

Little has shown flashes of his athleticism and is still figuring out how to fit in offensively.

Dean Wade, Cleveland Cavaliers

Wade went undrafted after four years at Kansas State, so there were not lofty expectations for him.

However, the Cavaliers have not received much from him in the 27 minutes he has averaged through three games.

The 6-10 forward is averaging 5.7 points and 5.7 rebounds but is only shooting 26 per cent from the field. That is a big drop off for a player who was the first option in college and hovered around 50 per cent shooting.

The San Antonio Spurs have re-signed forward Rudy Gay, the team announced on Monday.

The terms of the new contract were disclosed by the Spurs, but The Athletic reported previously the deal would be for two years and $32million.

Gay, who turns 33 in August, is one of two players in the NBA – along with LeBron James – who has at least 15,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, 1,000 steals and 500 blocks since he was drafted in 2006.

The 13-year veteran appeared in 69 games last season and averaged 13.7 points with a career-high 6.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 26.7 minutes. He also shot career-bests 50.4 per cent from the floor and 40.2 per cent from three-point range.

The new contract marks the third time the unrestricted free agent has signed with the Spurs after originally joining San Antonio in July 2017 and re-signing last year on a reported one-year, $10m deal.

When the San Antonio Spurs are mentioned, it is hard not to think about Gregg Popovich. Such has been his impact on the NBA franchise.

With five championships since arriving at the Spurs in 1996, Popovich is one of the most successful head coaches in the league's history – a haul only bettered by Red Auerbach (9) and Phil Jackson (11).

While the Spurs last won the NBA Finals in 2014, Popovich has brought annual consistency to San Antonio with a record 22 consecutive playoff appearances.

Phil Coles knows Popovich better than most. The Australian was handpicked to join the 70-year-old's staff as high-performance manager following San Antonio's championship in 2014.

Asked how big of a role Popovich has played in San Antonio's success, Coles told Omnisport: "Maybe the biggest, along with the general manager [R.C. Buford].

"The two of those guys have been the constants in the team's period success. Twenty-two successive years of playoffs - It's phenomenal. Those two have been that stability throughout the period. They started that period with David Robinson and bringing in Tim Duncan to have the Twin Towers that got them their initial success.

"They transitioned that into the Big Three with Duncan, Manu [Ginobili] and Tony [Parker] and they've now transitioned beyond the Big Three with LaMarcus [Aldridge] and so on this year. They've continued to achieve success. To be able to transfer that through three different eras of great players and never go through any real rebuilding period, never miss the playoffs, you have to give the credit to Pop and RC. They've provided stability and set the culture at the club.

"Pop obviously more directly with the players and media but RC equally behind the scenes in terms of recruitment, the process-driven nature he has and open-mindedness. Those two together are the Spurs. You can't take anything away from the key talent they've had along the way too. They've been attracted to the culture set by those two."

As well as being one of the best coaches to ever work in the NBA, Popovich is also one of the most entertaining. His personality separates him from the rest.

His funny and often direct exchanges with the media have left a lasting impression. Popovich – who replaced Bob Hill in 1996 – has never had an issue in speaking his mind on an array of topics.

Coles, who left the Spurs in 2018 for Australia's national football team, added: "He is exactly like he presents. He's very genuine and brutally honest at times. Very passionate and emotional. He puts character of the people he is working with and managing at the forefront.

"While he is one of the most driven people I've ever met in terms of trying to ensure success, he doesn't put that above the needs of any individual and he constantly reminds people of that and that there's more important things in life.

"While everyone in that organisation works at a 100 per cent capacity, no one does it putting success above individual values. He had a great knack of doing that with players. Improving the character of people and ensuring people are happy and healthy and enjoying the life they have."

During his four years in San Antonio, Coles was fortunate to work with the "Big Three" – Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.

Four-time NBA champion, 2007 Finals MVP and six-time All-Star Parker ended his 18-year career – 17 of those with the Spurs before joining the Charlotte Hornets last season – earlier this month.

"TP was incredibly dedicated," Coles, who also worked as Liverpool's head of physical therapy, said. "Obviously had a unique skill set that he was luckily enough to be born with to a certain extend but he made the most of it through his dedication.

"The best example of Parker is late in his career he had a significant injury that only one player had previously come back to play in the NBA.

"At his age and given a lot of his game involved speed, agility and power which were a big part of his elite performance, there's very few players who would've had the determination and work ethic to go through a 6-9-month rehab and come back.

"The amazing thing about TP was his dedication through that period was incredible, but he was able to come back at the age of 35 and his physical metrics were the same or better than prior to the injury. You can't give him a better testament than that. Despite being a super star of the game, he was so open to work with. He literally did everything required to the letter and it was fantastic."

On Monday, Tony Parker announced his illustrious NBA career has come to an end.

After spending 17 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs and one with the Charlotte Hornets, Parker said it was the right time for him to walk away.

"A lot of different stuff ultimately led me to this decision," Parker told The Undefeated. "But, at the end of the day, I was like, if I can't be Tony Parker anymore and I can't play for a championship, I don't want to play basketball anymore."

Aside from a long career, Parker also has four NBA championships, one NBA Finals MVP award and six All-Star nods under his belt.

Here are five interesting Opta stats about the 37-year-old Frenchman's time in the NBA.

 

Among international players, Parker is in good company.

Parker's stats put him in elite standing when it comes to internationals players. He tops Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pau Gasol, Vlade Divac and Dirk Nowitzki in assists per game (5.6) and held his own on the court with a 49.1 field-goal percentage and an average of 15.5 points per game in the regular season.

 

When it comes to NBA titles, Parker is king

Parker's four NBA titles is tied with former team-mate Manu Ginobili for the most won by an international player. His personal accolades are not too shabby either, with six All-Star appearances, four All-NBA Team selections and an All-Rookie Team berth to go with his 2007 Finals MVP honour.

Making France proud

Parker retires with 1,254 games played, 19,473 career points, 7,036 career assists and 1,053 career steals in his NBA career – the most of any French player. His 18 years in the NBA are tied for the second-most ever for a player born outside the United States or its territories.

Better than entire franchises?

In his 18-year NBA career, Parker won 892 of the 1,254 games he played in (71.1 per cent). That is more wins than the Memphis Grizzlies (792 wins since 1996) and the New Orleans Pelicans (643 wins since 2003) have in their franchise histories, and just 10 fewer than the Toronto Raptors (902 wins since 1996).

Playoff pro

Parker made 17 trips to the NBA playoffs, all as a member of the Spurs. Seven NBA franchises have yet to make 17 trips to the NBA playoffs.

Four-time NBA champion Tony Parker is retiring after 18 seasons.

The 37-year-old point guard announced on Monday that this past campaign was his last. 

He spent 17 years with the San Antonio Spurs before joining the Charlotte Hornets for one final season.

"I'm going to retire," Parker told The Undefeated. "I decided that I'm not going to play basketball anymore."

While Parker insisted he feels healthy and could play for another two years, he felt this was the right time to walk away.

"A lot of different stuff ultimately led me to this decision," Parker said. "But, at the end of the day, I was like, if I can't be Tony Parker anymore and I can't play for a championship, I don't want to play basketball anymore."

A native of France, Parker starred during his time in San Antonio and became part of a legendary power trio that included Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, who have both retired too.

After his 17th season in San Antonio, Parker joined the Hornets and averaged 9.5 points per game in a reserve role. He revealed it was at the end of the 2018-19 term that he came to the decision.

Despite saying throughout his career that he wanted to play for 20 seasons, joining the Hornets changed Parker's perspective.

"For 17 years, every year that I started with the Spurs, I really thought that we had a good chance to win the championship," he said.

"And so it was very weird to arrive to a team and you're like, 'There is no way we're going to win the championship'. 

"And even if I had a great time - and the Charlotte players, they were great with me and they were great guys - at the end of the day I play basketball to win something, and it's been like that with the [French] national team when we try to compete for a gold medal or with the Spurs to win a championship.

"And if I don't play for a championship, I feel like, why are we playing? And so that's why it was very different for me mentally to focus and get motivated to play a game that I love, because I want to win something."

A six-time All-Star, Parker ends his career with averages of 15.5 points, 5.6 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game.

He was selected 28th overall in the 2001 NBA draft by the Spurs and quickly helped the team capture its second NBA title in 2003 under coach Gregg Popovich. Along with Ginobili and Duncan, San Antonio went on to capture three more titles in 2005, 2007 and 2014.

Now that he will not have to worry about NBA practices and games, Parker said he was going to stay in San Antonio, which he considers home, and travel more to France and other parts of the world.

When asked why he did not have a farewell tour like Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade, Parker explained it was because he already said goodbye to the Spurs.

"It was kind of different because I was in there with Charlotte, so I didn't feel like the need of having a goodbye," he said. "For me, the goodbye will be when my jersey will be retired [in San Antonio] or I make the Hall of Fame."

The San Antonio Spurs want Rudy Gay to be on their roster in 2019-20.

The veteran forward is set to be a free agent this offseason after spending the past two seasons in San Antonio.

Coach Gregg Popovich was asked when he met with reporters this week if the team were open to re-signing Gay.

"We are hoping we can figure out a way to keep him here," Popovich said at his end-of-season news conference, via the San Antonio Express-News.

Popovich said Gay was a positive presence in the Spurs' locker room.

"He's a great team-mate, has a great personality, great sense of humour," Popovich said. "He's a very outgoing individual. He's an easy team-mate to be with, so he makes people feel comfortable.

"For young guys just starting out … it's important to see the vets and be able to sit down and have a meal with them and laugh. [Gay] does that well."

The 32-year-old averaged 13.7 points and 6.8 rebounds in 26.7 minutes per game this season. He shot 50.4 per cent from the field and 40.2 per cent from three-point range.

"Rudy is a scorer," Popovich said. "He's somebody who changes games. And he's gotten better rebounding-wise and defensively, which was never his forte. But he understands the importance of it and is just getting better every year."

Gay has also played for the Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings during his 13-year career. He has averaged 17.6 points per game in that time.

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said he is negotiating a new contract.

Popovich wrapped up his 23rd NBA season with the Spurs on Saturday after San Antonio were eliminated in seven games by the Denver Nuggets in their Western Conference first-round series. 

Still, the Spurs tied the record for the longest streak in NBA history by making the playoffs for a 22nd consecutive season.

Earlier this month, Popovich became the all-time leader in total wins by a head coach in league history. In the 70-year-old's time at the helm, the Spurs have won five championships, most recently in 2014.

While speaking to reporters Monday, Popovich indicated he will be back next season.

"That's up in the air,” Popovich said jokingly. "I'm currently… I've never talked about my contract in all these years. Never had an agent. Never talked about the contract. Just like R.C. [Buford, Spurs general manager] don't talk about free agents or trades, or anything.

"My contract is basically my business, but I'll break the rule this time. I'm currently in a negotiation that I could very well end up with the Portofino Flyers or Positano Pirates. I think that it's like one-third Positano, one-third Portofino and one-third San Antonio, so we'll see where it ends up."

As he walked away, Popovich further teased his return.

"Good luck to all of you this summer," he said. "Be safe. We live in a dangerous country because nobody has any courage to do what they need to do. So, enjoy and we'll laugh a lot next fall."

Gregg Popovich was "surprised people stayed" to watch the Denver Nuggets end his San Antonio Spurs side's season with victory in an "odd" Game 7 on Saturday.

Nikola Jokic led the way with a triple-double of 21 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in a 90-86 win for the Nuggets in the Western Conference first-round play-off decider.

Spurs head coach Popovich thought a lack of entertainment in the first half might have led to a mass exodus at Pepsi Center.

"Tonight was an odd game," said Popovich. "I thought both teams set basketball back in the first half. I'm surprised people stayed."

Popovich is in the final year of his contract and refused to be drawn on whether he will stay on.

"I'm a head coach in the NBA," Popovich said. "I don't think about what that means in the future."

The Nuggets' series triumph was their first in the post-season in a decade and coach Michael Malone reflected on how far they have come ahead of a semi-final battle with the Portland Trail Blazers.

"You looked in the stands, it was witness protection night," Malone said of years gone by. "There was nobody here.

"Really, to see where we've come in four years, to be a team that won a Game 7 at home and advancing to the second round for the first time in a while, is incredible. It's almost surreal at times."

Kawhi Leonard starred the Toronto Raptors outclassed the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals, while Denver Nuggets reached the second round after topping the San Antonio Spurs.

Toronto eased to a 108-95 victory in Saturday's opener against Philadelphia thanks to Leonard's career-best postseason performance of 45 points and 11 rebounds.

Pascal Siakam chipped in 29 points to be the only other Raptor in double-digits. The two carried the load and had 49 of the team's 61 first-half points on home court in Toronto.

While Leonard and Siakam's shots fell, Toronto effectively shut down Philadelphia's top scorers. Joel Embiid was held to 16 points while Ben Simmons finished with 14 and Jimmy Butler 10. 

The 76ers did not have an answer for the Raptors, who started the game making 13 consecutive field goals in the first quarter to build a lead they would push to 20 at one point in the fourth quarter. 

While the NBA semi-finals have officially started, the first round of the playoffs came to an end following the Nuggets' 90-86 win against the Spurs.

The Nuggets broke a decade-long streak of failing to win a playoff series by edging the Spurs courtesy of Nikola Jokic's triple-double – 21 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists helping secure a showdown with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Jokic, who logged a career high in minutes for a regulation game, shot nine of 26 from the field on top of a tireless defensive performance that shut down Spurs stars.

LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan were held to 16 and 19 points respectively, while the team's best player came off the bench. Rudy Gay tried to put the Spurs on his shoulders behind a team-high 21 points.

 

Leonard lights up Toronto

Did we mention Leonard had 45 points? It is worth saying again. Since joining the Raptors this season, the three-time All-Star has been their star player and in the playoffs, it is no surprise Leonard been their biggest contributor. He was 16-of-23 shooting from the field and three of seven from long distance in the first semi-final game.

Jokic has been a stud in his playoff debut, but it was Jamal Murray who led the Nuggets. He finished with 23 points on nine-of-19 shooting. 

 

Spurs start slow

The first-quarter Spurs get this nod. They scored just 13 points in the opening frame and allowed the Nuggets to build their lead early. By half-time, San Antonio was shooting just 22 per cent from the field. Although it came close to tying the game, the opening woes caught up with the five-time champions and their season came to a close.

 

Leonard and Siakam combine

You do not want to get in either guy's way as Leonard denies Tobias Harris and Siakam finishes with the slam!

Murray used this bucket to help secure Denver's series-clinching win.

 

Rockets at Warriors

This should be a good one. Sunday marks the start of the Western Conference semi-finals where the Houston Rockets will face the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. MVP favourite James Harden and company will hope to take advantage of the battle-tested Golden State team. The Warriors are coming off a tough six-game series where they had to withstand the hungry Los Angeles Clippers and saw two stars suffer ankle injuries. Both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were listed as questionable on Saturday per head coach Steve Kerr. Meanwhile, Houston have had plenty of rest after wrapping up their 4-1 first-round series against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.

The San Antonio Spurs forced a seventh and deciding game against the Denver Nuggets in the NBA playoffs after winning 120-103.

San Antonio levelled the Western Conference first-round series at 3-3 on Thursday, meaning the teams will face off in Game 7 on Saturday.

Denver and San Antonio played evenly through much of the first three quarters. But, DeMar DeRozan hit a short jumper to put the Spurs up by five to end the scoring in the period.

The Spurs then took control with a 17-2 run to open the fourth quarter and cruised from there.

DeRozan finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for San Antonio. Rudy Gay added 19 points off the bench.

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic carried his team for much of the game with 43 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists in the losing effort.

 

Aldridge helps power Spurs

LaMarcus Aldridge scored a team-high 26 points and added 10 rebounds in the Spurs' win.

 

Beasley makes one shot

Malik Beasley scored two points on one-of-six shooting in 20 minutes of action for the Nuggets.

 

DeMar does it all

DeRozan grabs his own missed free throw and beats the buzzer.

 

Warriors at Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers surprisingly forced a Game 6 with a 129-121 win over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. But, the Warriors can still close out the series in Los Angeles on Friday.

The Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers set up an Eastern Conference semi-final showdown, while the Denver Nuggets moved ahead of the San Antonio Spurs.

Kawhi Leonard posted 27 points as the Raptors topped the Orlando Magic 115-96 in Game 5 on Tuesday.

The Raptors sealed a 4-1 series victory, with the 76ers next up in the second round in the east.

Philadelphia blew away the Brooklyn Nets 122-100 after a dominant first quarter at home.

The 76ers led 14-0 to start Game 5 and never looked back – Joel Embiid scoring 23 points and 13 rebounds in just 20 minutes of action to secure a 4-1 triumph.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets lead the Spurs 3-2 following Tuesday's 108-90 victory against San Antonio.

Denver became the first team in the Western Conference series to win two straight games and did so in a dominant fashion.

Jamal Murray finished with a game-high 23 points on nine-of-16 shooting, while LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan both contributed 17 points for Spurs.

 

Lillard eliminates Thunder

Portland Trail Blazers star Lillard scored a franchise-record 34 first-half points and finished with 50 to secure a dramatic 118-115 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder and a 4-1 series success. Lillard made a ridiculous buzzer-beating three-pointer over Paul George for the victory.

George scored 36 points and helped pull the Thunder back from a 12-point deficit, but the Trail Blazers' made all the right plays down the stretch to reclaim the lead.

Pascal Siakam totalled 24 points in Toronto's win.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson tallied 21 points for the beaten Nets.

Nikola Jokic had a quality night all around, racking up 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for the Nuggets.

 

No magic for Isaac or Orlando

Jonathan Isaac scored three points on one-of-seven shooting in the Magic's loss.

D'Angelo Russell had eight points on three-of-16 shooting for the Nets.

 

Simmons shows no mercy

Ben Simmons ended Philadelphia's first quarter with a slam at the rim.

Marc Gasol with the big block of D.J. Augustin's floater, which helped the Raptors get out on the break.

 

Jazz at Rockets

The Houston Rockets missed an opportunity to sweep the Utah Jazz on Monday. But now, they will get a chance to finish things off at the Toyota Center. Should the Rockets and Golden State Warriors win on Wednesday, the much-anticipated matchup between the two could get underway soon.

San Antonio Spurs star DeMar DeRozan was hit with a hefty fine by the NBA after he let his temper get the best of him during a playoff loss to the Denver Nuggets.

DeRozan will have to pay $25,000 after he threw a basketball at a referee in the fourth quarter of Saturday's 117-103 defeat to the Nuggets in Game 4 in the Western Conference first round.

The four-time All-Star appeared angry after referee Scott Foster whistled him for an offensive foul against Denver's Gary Harris.

DeRozan chucked the ball into Foster's vicinity, which ended up in the stands.

The 29-year-old was ejected with five minutes remaining in the game as the Nuggets levelled the series at 2-2.

"Frustration," DeRozan later described the incident after the game. "I thought it was a bad call. Combination of both."

DeRozan finished the night with 19 points, five assists and five rebounds.

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