Trail Mix: Victor Claver to workout for Spurs

18-victor-claverAfter being traded away by the Portland Trail Blazers at the deadline, Victor Claver left the NBA to play for Khimki of the Russian Basketball league after being released by the Denver Nuggets.

But according to the Spanish sports newspaper Marca, it appears that there is still some NBA teams interested in the Spanish forward and that team is the San Antonio Spurs. He signed with Khimki for the end of the season and can sign with any team that he wants in the NBA.

Translated from Marca

The Spanish international will fly to the United States this Saturday and on Sunday he will have his first session with the Spurs’ coaches. The visit is expected to go to at least Monday where Claver will continue to workout under the supervision of the Spurs’ staff.

Claver played sparingly during his time in Portland and his playing time consistently decreased after his rookie year. The Blazers traded for Thomas Robinson the summer after his rookie year and Claver essentially had no place on the team except when injuries mounted up.

Claver going to the San Antonio would be a classic Spurs reclamation project. Think about how many guys they’ve grabbed off the NBA’s version of the scrap heap over the years? Danny Green, Patty Mills, Jeff Ayers (formerly Pendergraph), bordering on obese Boris Diaw, the list goes on and on. Sure, they’ve had some swings and misses, too, but the Spurs seem to do this.

At the very least, it appears that Claver has a chance to make the Spurs summer league squad.

The report does not say that there have even been talks of a deal at this point but at the very least they are showing some interest and they want to see what’s there with Claver in more depth.

The big if for Claver has always been whether he can hit the outside shot when left wide-open by other teams. He made twice as many 3-pointers in half as many games with the Blazers in 2014-15 but he does not have a consistent track record as a reliable outside threat. Ideally he can guard the three and the four. “Tweeners” are having a renaissance in the league and if the Spurs believe they can bring out the best in Claver, it could very well prove to be a smart move.

His best skill at this level is probably his high basketball IQ, which is also something that the Spurs like in their players. But his positional versatility is a big reason why Claver making his way back into the league shouldn’t be a surprise, if and when he does.

Speaking of tweeners, we’re late to this one but’s Jabari Young reports that the Blazers are expected to sign Malcolm Thomas to their Las Vegas Summer League squad. has learned power forward Malcolm Thomas is expected to be added to the roster when the Blazers play in the Las Vegas Summer League next month.

The Blazers will have fewer regular season roster players at the Las Vegas Summer League than the past two seasons. Only Tim Frazier and Allen Crabbe are expected to play for the Blazers in Vegas along with their No. 23 pick in the upcoming draft which is now less than two weeks away.

Also, who watched Game 4 last night? The Warriors finally made the Cavaliers go to uncomfortable places with going all-in on small ball by starting Andre Iguodala. The Cavs started uncharacteristically taking shots early in the shot clock. Timofey Mozgov scored 28 points last night and the Cavs still lost.

Despite all the talk in this series about Matthew Dellavedova, LeBron James and Stephen Curry, this series boils down to one thing: pace. If the Warriors can continue pushing the pace and play more possessions, they will win out because they are deeper and better. James and the Cavs have smartly tried to turn back the clock on the Warriors and force them to play basketball from the 90’s and 2000’s. It worked for three games.

Now the Warriors have gunned it to 88 and it appears that the Cavs are falling apart in the space time continuum now that the Finals back to the future.



Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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