HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Tiago Splitter finished the season coming off the bench for the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of The Finals against the Miami Heat.

He will start the 2013-14 season as the Spurs’ third-highest paid player when his representatives and the franchise put the finishing touches on a four-year deal worth slightly over $36 million, a deal first reported by Yahoo! Sports.


Splitter, who became a restricted free agent Monday after the Spurs extended him a $3.49 million qualifying offer, turned out to be a must-get for a Spurs team trying to keep its core intact.


But after producing his best season in the NBA during regular season, he struggled during the playoffs. He averaged just 6.1 points and 3.1 rebounds during the postseason and was relegated to that reserve role against the Heat after both teams deployed small lineups.


Still, Splitter’s new deal suggests that Spurs general manager R.C. Buford and coach Gregg Popovich have not soured on the Brazilian big man. Only All-NBA picks Tony Parker ($12.5 million) and Tim Duncan ($10.4 million) will earn more than Splitter next season.


The Spurs still have free agent business to tend to this summer. Veteran swingman Manu Ginobili is an unrestricted free agent. But the Spurs, according to sources familiar with the negotiations, are in the midst of trying to find a way to re-sign Ginobili at a more reasonable price than the $14.1 million he earned during the final season of his most recent deal.