Spurs exercise team options on Vassell, Primo

 The San Antonio Spurs have exercised their fourth-year team option on guard Devin Vassell, as well as their third-year option on guard Josh Primo for the 2023-24 season, the team announced Monday.

Vassell, 22, is entering his third year with the Spurs after appearing in 71 games last season and averaging 12.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 27.3 minutes. In 2021-22, Vassell became the first Spur in franchise history to make more than 100 three-pointers in his sophomore season and is now one of three Spurs to record 1,000 points, 125 threes, and 100 steals in their first two seasons. The Spurs selected Vassell in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft (11th overall).

The 19-year-old Primo begins his second season after appearing in 50 games for San Antonio last year and averaging 5.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 19.3 minutes. The Alabama alum made his NBA debut vs. Orlando on 10/20/21 and his first start at Philadelphia on 1/7/22. His 18 total starts are the most by a Spurs rookie since 2011-12.

Primo also spent time with the Austin Spurs and averaged 16.6 points, a team-high 5.6 assists, and 3.0 rebounds in 19 games after being selected by San Antonio with the 12th overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft.

Collins in Concussion Protocol:

In other news, the Spurs announced on Monday that forward Zach Collins has entered the NBA’s Concussion Protocol following last night’s Spurs-Pelicans game. According to the team, Collins will not travel to Utah for tomorrow’s Spurs-Jazz game, and San Antonio will provide updates on his return to the court as appropriate.

Spurs waive Kuhse:

Also, the team announced that they have waived guard Tommy Kuhse. The undrafted rookie free agent out of Saint Mary’s appeared in two preseason games, averaging 6.0 points and 1.5 assists in 9.0 minutes per contest.

Spurs exercise team options on Johnson, Vassell

The San Antonio Spurs today have exercised their fourth-year team option on forward Keldon Johnson, as well as their third-year option on guard Devin Vassell for the 2022-23 season, the team announced on Monday.

Johnson, 22, is entering his third year with the Spurs after appearing in 69 games last season and averaging 12.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 28.5 minutes. He is one of three Spurs in franchise history (Tim Duncan and David Robinson) to record multiple games with 25-plus points and 10-or-more rebounds in their first 50 career games. Johnson was a member of this summer’s Team USA Basketball squad that captured the gold medal at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Originally selected by San Antonio in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft (29th overall), Johnson has seen action in 86 regular season games, averaging 12.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 26.4 minutes.

The 21-year-old Vassell enters his second season with San Antonio following his rookie year when he averaged 5.5 points, 2.8 rebounds in 17.0 minutes over 62 games. He became just the seventh rookie in franchise history to record 50-plus three pointers in their first season. The former Florida State Seminole made his NBA debut at Memphis on Dec. 23, 2020, becoming the first rookie to play at least 20 minutes in a Spurs season-opener since James Anderson (27) on Oct. 27, 2010. Vassell became the first Spurs lottery pick since the 1997 season when the Silver and Black selected him with the 11th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Spurs’ Vassell: ‘We got all the making of a winning culture’

The San Antonio Spurs season ended where it began on Wednesday night as the Spurs fell to the Grizzlies 100-96 at FedExForum in the Play-In Tournament.

With the win, the ninth-seeded Grizzlies will head on the road to battle the Warriors on Friday night. The winner of that game will be the eighth seed in the Western Conference. The Spurs defeated the Grizzlies in Memphis in their season-opener, but it was a different story on Wednesday night.

Grizzlies led by as many as 21 points in the first quarter and had a 38-19 lead at the end of one. However, San Antonio would close the gap in the second quarter and would trail 56-49 at halftime. San Antonio entered the fourth quarter trailing by seven but would take their first lead since the first quarter when DeMar DeRozan made a jump shot to take an 80-79 with over seven minutes to go. However, the Grizzlies would go on a 15-7 run to take control from there.

San Antonio missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season, which is the first time that happened in team history.

Even though San Antonio lost on Wednesday night, Gregg Popovich was happy with the team’s effort. 

“No matter what the mistakes, no matter what the circumstances are, they really fight,” Popovich said. “That’s a good base. So, I’m really proud of the way they conducted themselves and played to win.”

The Spurs have some decent young players in Derrick White, Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker IV, Keldon Johnson, and according to rookie Devin Vassell, San Antonio has the talent to make noise for years to come.

“I think the sky’s the limit, honestly,” Vassell said after the game. “The young crew, the young core that we have; I mean we got talent, we got grit, we got hustle. We got all the making of a winning culture, and we’re all going to bond together; we’re going to stick together this summer. We’re going to push each other to get better each day. We’re going to come back with a vengeance next year.”

The Spurs are stuck in the middle right now. Too good to get a very good pick and not good enough to make the playoffs. DeMar DeRozan, 31, the team’s best player and closer, will be a free agent, so it will be interesting to see what happens there. This team is still looking for a star, and maybe one of the young guys can be that. 

Also, Gregg Popovich is 72, so it should be interesting to see how many years he has left. The future is not bleak for the Spurs, and the team does have plenty of cap space(over $50 million), but San Antonio is not a major free agent destination, which could make things tricky.

San Antonio still has more work to do if they want to get back to the playoffs and be contenders in the Western Conference.

Spurs snap four-game losing streak with win over Chicago

For three quarters, the San Antonio Spurs(23-20) were in complete control and led by as much as 36 points against the Chicago Bulls(19-25) on Saturday night. However, the Bulls made a furious run in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to nine with just over five minutes left, but San Antonio went on a 7-0 run to push the lead to 16, and they would go on and win 120-104 at AT&T Center.

With the win, San Antonio snaps a four-game losing streak.

The Spurs had seven players in double figures led by Jakob Poeltl’s 20 points. DeMar DeRozan had 17 points and seven assists, and Patty Mills and Derrick White had 16 points apiece. Newly-acquired Nikola Vucevic led the Bulls with 21 points and nine rebounds.

San Antonio led by as much as 31 points in the first half and had a 65-39 lead at the break. The Spurs carried a 23-point lead into the fourth quarter. 

Dejounte Murray, who had 14 points and eight assists on Saturday night, felt the Spurs got a little lax in the fourth quarter. The Bulls went on a 21-6 run to make things interesting.

“I think they kind of punched us,” Murray said. “I think that we kind got a little comfortable, and they punched us, but we kept it under control and we won the game.”

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was happy with the shot-making and San Antonio’s ability to share the ball(29 assists in the game). 

“You make shots; everything looks a lot better,” Popovich said. “Overall, we shared it pretty well. DeMar(DeRozan), Derrick(White), Dejounte(Murray) had 22 assists between the three of them and only four turnovers, so that was a big part of getting open shots.”

Poeltl added: “Everybody did their part. We were sharing the ball, and I think that’s the best way to play ball, and it’s a lot of fun.”

Popovich hit another milestone on Saturday night as he won his 1300th game as a head coach. He’s the third coach in NBA history to do it. If the 72-year-old Popovich continues coaching, he will probably surpass Don Nelson(1335), who is the all-time leader in wins.

San Antonio continues their nine-game homestand when they host the Kings for a two-game set starting on Monday night. Hopefully, for San Antonio, they will have Devin Vassell, who left the game in second quarter with a sprained ankle and did not return.