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Javtokas on his way. Nazr curses Spurs on his way out.

By Daniel Strickland on June 1, 2006.

The 2006-2007 Spurs are beginning to take shape. Robertas “The Lithuanian Beast” Javtokas is on his way, and Ian “Hasn’t Done Enough to Warrant a Nickname Yet” Mahinmi is set to show the summer leagues some defensive domination. (Apparently 19-year-old wunderkind Viktor Sanikidze is also set to play for the Spurs’ summer league team, but I don’t think there’s been any official word on that yet.)

Spurs draft pick Javtokas likely to leave old team

Web Posted: 06/01/2006 12:00 AM CDT
Mike Monroe Express-News Staff

The Lithuanian team for which 2001 Spurs second-round draft pick Robertas Javtokas has played for the past five seasons is so convinced Javtokas will be in the Spurs’ training camp this fall it has signed a player to replace him.

A report on indicated that recent player signings by the Lithuanian professional league team Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius, for which Javtokas, a 6-foot-11, 240-pound center, has played since 2001, were motivated in part by the belief Javtokas will not return to the club so he can pursue a spot on the Spurs roster. The report cited Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius general manager J. Vainauskas saying his club “doesn’t have much hope on keeping R. Javtokas . . .”

Because Javtokas’ contract with his Lithuanian team has expired, the Spurs would not have to pay a buy-out fee to Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius before signing him.

Javtokas, a member of the Lithuanian national team since 2000, suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident on May 1, 2002, and did not play basketball for more than a year. Since returning to the court, he has been a consistent physical force for Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius and the Lithuanian national team. Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius won the 2005 Lithuanian League title and moved up to Euroleague competition in 2006.

With center Nazr Mohammed an unrestricted free agent this summer, the Spurs must make some decisions about the big men they will bring to training camp in October. French teen-ager Ian Mahinmi, the 6-foot 10 center-forward they selected with the 28th pick in the first round of the 2005 draft, is expected to join their summer league team in Utah in July.

He’s not even officially a Spur yet, but I already love Robertas Javtokas. The guy comes back from a motorcycle accident that leaves doctors doubtful that he’ll ever walk again, much less play basketball at the highest level in the world, and he proceeds to shut everyone up. Even after having his leg shattered, he still has major hops.

I remember when this happened. I was seriously depressed. Count me among the doubters – and among those who are glad that he shut us doubters up.

Another thing I love about Javtokas is that he looks like Dolph Lundgren. (By the way, who knew that dude had a master’s degree in chemical engineering? Ironic how the brightest guys get stuck with the dumbest roles, and the dumbest guys get to be president.) The nicknames and photo captions alone will make him a valuable addition to the Spurs. The possibilities are endless.

Should we call him “The Punisher”?

There’s no question that Robertas Javtokas is going to dish out punishment to some bitches in the paint.

Or perhaps we should go with “Red Scorpion”? It would kick ass if he quoted Marx and Lenin in his post-game interviews.

“I am coming to the NBA, you capitalist pigs, for one reason only: to help redistribute its bling fairly among the proletariat.”

And when he starts dunking off offensive rebounds, sending suckers’ shit back at ’em, setting screens as well as Rasho, and rolling to the basket as aggressively as Nazr – then he’ll really be valuable. I think he’ll give the Spurs a pretty good combination of what their current centers do, at a much lower cost. He may not be able to guard Dirk Nowitzki, but he’ll help the Spurs against most teams.

Of course this development, along with the increasing amount of small ball in the NBA, means that it’s extremely unlikely that Nazr will re-sign with the Spurs. But it’s been unlikely all along that the Spurs would want to re-sign Nazr, who never seemed to master the Spurs’ defensive scheme to Pop’s satisfaction but would probably still cost an arm and perhaps a leg – and for a guy with hands of stone, that’s a pretty heavy price to pay. On the other hand, I like some of what he does on the offensive end, and the man helped us win a championship. I also have no reason to think he’s anything other than a nice guy. But I never got the sense that he would be a Spur for the rest of his career. And after this incident, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the Mohammedan (Mohammedite?) Era is over. (Ok, so he didn’t exactly curse the Spurs, but he did express relief at being “free,” and as far as I’m concerned that’s tantamount to cursing them.)

If he does leave, I already have a new nickname for him: Nazr “Maginot” Mohammed. But seriously, we’ll always love ya, Nazr. Once a Spur, always a Spur – unless you act like a bitch after you leave, of course.

Regardless, the Dynasty continues as the Spurs plug in some fresh young blood next to their stars.

Jesus…writing about sports results in some of the worst mixed metaphors ever. My apologies.

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