Josh Primo Issues Statement Explaining Why He Was Waived By Spurs Just Before Bulls Matchup

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The San Antonio Spurs shocked many NBA fans on Friday when the team waived 2021 pick Joshua Primo just before tipoff as the Spurs prepared to face the Chicago Bulls. Primo, a guard, had been listed as out for Friday’s game but the reason given was “left glute soreness”. The team had recently exercised the third-year team option on Primo’s contract. Primo, who was the youngest player in the NBA last season, is under contract for $4.1 million and guaranteed $4.3 million for the 2023-2024 season.

Head Coach Gregg Popovich declined to comment on the surprising move, during his media availability prior to the Bulls game on Friday night.

The only statement issued by the team was one from the Spurs Sports & Ent. CEO who said, “It is our hope that, in the long run, this decision will serve the best interest of both the organization and Joshua.”

Late Friday, Primo decided to release a statement to ESPN that provided some clarity on why he is no longer with the team.

“I know that you all are surprised by today’s announcement,” Primo wrote. “I’ve been seeking help to deal with previous trauma I suffered and will now take this time to focus on mental health treatment more fully. I hope to be able to discuss these issues in the future so I can help others who have suffered in a similar way. I appreciate privacy at this time.”

While he was not specific on what type of trauma he has suffered, it is clear that Primo’s mental health needs were a major factor in his release from the team. It is unclear whether any behind the scenes incidents with the team, teammates or team personnel precipitated the waiver.

ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski commented, “His on-court development absolutely had the organization excited about his NBA future. Waiving Primo so abruptly without explanation is fairly unprecedented –and jarring.”

ESPN Front Office Insider Bobby Marks wrote, “He is eligible to be claimed with room or an exception but a team will have to do its diligence on why the 19-year-old was waived.”

The Spurs selected Primo, who is only 19, as a Number 12 pick in the 2021 Draft. At the time, Primo had only played one year of college basketball but was a standout at the University of Alabama. Primo started 16 games in his rookie year, last season, and averaged 5.9 points. This year, Primo has averaged 7 points 3.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists for the team.