HoopsHype Jeff Ayres rumors
If you’re going to leave the high-flying Pacers, currently boasting the league’s best record at 17-2, you could find worse landing spots than the 15-3 Spurs. Such is the case for reserve forward Jeff Ayres, who traded one winner for another when he signed a two-year deal with the Spurs after two seasons in Indianapolis. In stark contrast to DeJuan Blair, who has taken pot shot after pot shot at the Spurs since his departure this summer, Ayres said he has largely positive feelings for his old team. “I’m very excited,” he said. “I’ve had this one circled on the calendar for a while now. There’s really no animosity. I’m still really cool with all the guys on the team, so it’s more that I’m excited to see my guys. I miss them. It’ll be cool to re-connect a little bit. It would be sweet, though, to get that win. I can’t lie about that.” San Antonio Express-News
Ayres, who changed his surname from Pendergraph during the offseason, was ejected from Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals for grappling with the Heat's Norris Cole. Ayres felt no love lost in Miami after switching to the Spurs. “That's what it felt like,” Ayres said. “People were trying to take out my knees and stuff. I was like, it's preseason take a chill pill.” San Antonio Express-News
In July, the Spurs signed a free agent forward named Jeff Pendergraph to a two-year contract. No player by that name will ever appear in a Spurs uniform. Last month, Pendergraph walked into a courthouse in downtown Phoenix, his wife Raneem and newborn daughter Naomi in tow. He walked out with a new name — Jeff Ayres. Ayres is family name of his biological father, James. It replaces the surname of a stepfather who hasn't been in the picture since the player formerly known Jeff Pendergraph was in high school. San Antonio Express-News
It was also a complicated decision, with a complex back story, one that tests the traditional definitions of blood and family. “I didn't know who my dad was until I was a senior in high school,” Jeff Ayres said Wednesday, during a break from pickup games as the Spurs' practice gym. He was born Jeff Orcutt, using his mother LaDona's maiden name, and became Pendergraph in elementary school when she married. Growing up in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., 45 miles east of Los Angeles, the future Jeff Ayres dreamed that his biological father was someone famous, like Denzel Washington or Shaquille O'Neal. A doctor. A musician. Somebody who was somebody. “It turns out it was a mechanic named James,” Ayres said. San Antonio Express-News
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