San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan today announced that he will retire after 19 seasons with the organization. Since drafting Duncan, the Spurs won five championships and posted a 1,072-438 regular season record, giving the team a .710 winning percentage, which is the best 19-year stretch in NBA history and was the best in all of the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB over the last 19 years.
October 24, 2016 | 9:07 am EDT Update
Houston Rockets management repeatedly pushed for Clint Capela to get more playing time at the expense of Dwight Howard last season, sources told ESPN, adding to the disharmony that played a prominent role in the team’s disappointing 2015-16 campaign.
Former Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff resisted complying with the wishes of general manager Daryl Morey and owner Leslie Alexander regarding a drastic reduction in Howard’s playing time. Team sources said Alexander never participated in the meetings with Morey and Bickerstaff but fully supported the general manager’s plan to prioritize Capela’s development.
Sources said Howard learned of management’s attempts to cut his minutes in midseason and shared a mutual interest with the Rockets front office to move him before the trade deadline. The Rockets shopped Howard, according to sources, but no deal came close to materializing largely due to Houston’s ambitious asking price: an immediate major contributor and either a promising developmental project or future first-round pick.
The Rockets, according to sources, planned for most of the season to part with Howard in the summer. However, Houston management decided at the 11th hour to attempt to persuade Howard into exercising the player option for the final season of his contract, which would have paid him a salary of $23.2 million this season.
And maybe most troubling is that Joakim Noah, who arrived on a four-year, $72 million contract in the summer after struggling with injuries last year, missed much of the preseason with assorted leg injuries and admitted he’s not ready for prime time. “Numbers don’t lie and right now I feel a step slow defensively,” Noah said. “And I have to do better. I have to do better for this ball club. We all do.”
October 24, 2016 | 7:18 am EDT Update
After talks with team officials on Sunday, China star Yi Jianlian has asked the Los Angeles Lakers for his release, according to league sources. Sources told ESPN.com that with the Lakers facing roster cut-down decisions by Monday at 5 p.m. ET, Yi and his representatives requested that the Lakers let him go to pursue other opportunities, largely because the role he envisioned in L.A. didn’t materialize.