Each summer since the Spurs drafted Splitter in 2007, Spurs' fans have been teased with the idea of Splitter wearing silver and black, only to have their hopes dashed as he would again refuse to leave Spain.
Splitter's contract with Spanish league's Tau Ceramica payed him $3.5 million a season and the Spurs could only pay him roughly around $3.3 million a season. Splitter—not wanting to take a pay cut, buy out his current contract, and then move half way across the world at the age of 22—decided to remain in the Spanish league.
This summer, Splitter can opt out of his Spanish league contract and jump to NBA. Reports say he wants to play with and against the best so it is likely he'll make the move. The Spurs can now pay $5.5 million (and have every intention of doing so) and Splitter wouldn't be forced to dish a buy out to Tau Ceramica.
The rights to Splitter are still owned by the San Antonio Spurs, as they took him with the 28th pick in the 2007 draft. The Spurs knew it would be an issue getting Splitter to come to the NBA but knew he was a player worth waiting for.
It seems this long awaited investment by the Spurs may have payed off. Splitter, who at the time he was drafted was considered a top 10 pick, has done nothing but sharpen his tools in the Spanish league.
Splitter is a 25 year old 6'11" center from Brazil who plays in Spain. To go along with his three MVPs while playing for Tau Ceramica, Splitter and Tau Ceramica went on to win the Spanish league title in 2010. Splitter won one of his Spanishcup MVPs last season; averaging 15 points a game off of 59 percent shooting in 28 minutes of play.
With the Spurs needing an efficient big more than ever this offseason, they may not even worry about the free agent frenzy this summer if they can snag Splitter.
Once again, it seems R.C. Buford and the Spurs management have found another international gem.