If Tiago Splitter could have wriggled out of his Spanish league contract, the 6-11 forward/center would likely have been a top-10 pick well before his eventual drafting in 2007 by San Antonio. Even then, he didn’t play in a Spurs uniform until 2010. That, however, is the luxury a franchise as well-run as San Antonio can afford, and in turn, is about as desirable a transition to the NBA as Splitter could have hoped for. After that enviable apprenticeship under Tim Duncan and more responsibility this season with 24.7 minutes per game, Splitter now enters unrestricted free agency ready to cash in and take a starting role after his 15.1 points, 9.3 rebounds per 36 minutes and 61 percent true shooting. Think of the role Houston’s Asik has blossomed in after bolting Chicago a year ago, but with more offensive capability. Just like Asik, Splitter has a wonderful foundation of fundamentals after tutoring under a remarkable head coach; should he decide to leave San Antonio, having that stamp of approval from a Gregg Popovich-coached team will be as attractive for suitors as his 20 percent defensive rebounding rate.