Spurs waive 2021 first-round draft pick, guard cites ‘previous trauma’

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The San Antonio Spurs have parted ways with their 2021 NBA first-round draft pick after just 54 games. 

On Friday, the organization waived Joshua Primo, whom it had drafted with the 12th pick of the 2021 NBA Draft. The Spurs had picked up Primo’s third-year option for the 2023-2024 season just two weeks ago, which guarantees the guard $4.3 million. 

Joshua Primo, #11, of the San Antonio Spurs, drives to the basket during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on October 22, 2022, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Joshua Primo, #11, of the San Antonio Spurs, drives to the basket during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on October 22, 2022, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
(David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

“It is our hope that, in the long run, this decision will serve the best interest of both the organization and Joshua,” Spurs Sports & Entertainment CEO RC Buford said in a statement. 

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Primo was drafted by the Spurs out of the University of Alabama, where he averaged 8.1 points and 3.4 rebounds in 30 games. 

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Primo released a statement to ESPN following the news, citing “previous trauma” and focusing on his mental health after the release. 

Joshua Primo, #11 of the San Antonio Spurs, looks on during the game against the Utah Jazz on October 11, 2022, at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Joshua Primo, #11 of the San Antonio Spurs, looks on during the game against the Utah Jazz on October 11, 2022, at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. 
(Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE )

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“I know that you all are surprised by today’s announcement,” Primo said in a statement to ESPN. “I’ve been seeking help to deal with previous trauma I suffered and will now take this time to focus on my 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.”

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Joshua Primo #11 of the San Antonio Spurs drives into Collin Sexton, #2 of the Utah Jazz, during a game at Vivint Arena on October 11, 2022, in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Joshua Primo #11 of the San Antonio Spurs drives into Collin Sexton, #2 of the Utah Jazz, during a game at Vivint Arena on October 11, 2022, in Salt Lake City, Utah. 
(Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

In his rookie season, Primo appeared in 50 games, averaging 5.8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.  

The Spurs have gotten off to a hot start to the season, going 4-2 in their first six games. 

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