After a three year wait, Tiago Splitter has finally come to terms with the San Antonio Spurs. Ticket 760 (KTKR-AM), a San Antonio radio station, reported today that the Spurs are expected to finalize the deal with the 6'11" Brazilian on Monday.
Splitter was drafted 28th overall in the 2007 NBA draft by the Spurs, but in a situation very similar to Ricky Rubio's ongoing negotiations with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he has played two seasons with Saski Baskonia, a team in the Spanish ACB league. The 25-year old Center won the league Championship with Baskonia in 2010 and was awarded the Spanish League Finals MVP trophy. He has also spent time competing in the Euroleague, making their first team in 2008, and the Brazilian national team, which claimed gold at the 2003 Pan-American games and at the 2005 and 2009 FIBA Americas competitions.
It is widely speculated the main factor that kept Tiago Splitter from joing the Spurs for the 2008-2009 season was Baskonia's eligibilty to offer the international star eight times the rookie scale would have allowed in the NBA. The terms of his new deal with San Antonio have not been released.
Splitter's length and athleticism will be valuable assets for the aging Spurs lineup, and he will most likely come off the bench for 34-year old Tim Duncan, which will save his energy and endurance for the playoffs. Scoring 15.7 points and grabbing 6.7 rebounds per game in the Spanish league last year, Splitter is touted for his evolving low-post game, high basketball-IQ, and overall unique scoring ability.
The long wait is finally over for the Spurs. The only worry remaining for San Antonio is whether or not Tiago Splitter will translate his success in Europe to the NBA and vindicate his hold-out.