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jthig32
08-31-2005, 04:43 PM
Finley chooses Spurs over Heat, SunsBy Marc Stein
ESPN.com
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Ric Bucher says Finley is keeping quiet on his team selection

The team that won the Michael Finley Sweepstakes is the same team that just won an NBA championship.


Finley told ESPN.com on Wednesday that he has chosen to sign with the San Antonio Spurs, spurning a richer offer from the Miami Heat and the lure of an emotional return to the Phoenix Suns to reunite with close friend Steve Nash.




The Dallas Mavericks tried for weeks to move Finley to an Eastern Conference team to prevent him from joining the Spurs or the Suns. When it couldn't swing a trade before the Aug. 15 deadline to exercise the NBA's new amnesty clause, Dallas reluctantly waived the two-time All-Star, making Finley an unrestricted free agent and the target of an intense two-week courtship that also involved the Detroit Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves.


Miami's Pat Riley, Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire and Minnesota's Kevin Garnett were among the big names to fly to Chicago last week to make face-to-face pitches to Finley. In the end, he went with the team that sent a one-man delegation -- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich -- to Finley's hometown.


The complete structure of the deal with San Antonio hasn't been finalized, including the length of the contract, but Finley will receive a starting salary of roughly $2.5 million this season.


"To be a part of a championship team, I'm excited," Finley said. "This is the closest I've ever been to a championship. I'm looking forward to the challenge of helping this team repeat."


Asked why he picked the Spurs, Finley said: "In a nutshell, they're already a championship team but they have room for improvement. And I feel my game can help them in the areas where they need improvement."


Landing Finley, 32, completes an impressive summer haul for the Spurs, who felt a need to be as aggressive as they've ever been in free agency after struggling to holds leads of 2-0 and 3-2 over Detroit in a taut-as-possible NBA Finals. They expect Finley to supply off-the-bench punch and a reliable 3-point stroke as the third wing of a swing trio that features All-Star guard Manu Ginobili and defensive specialist Bruce Bowen.


Since free agency began July 1, San Antonio has also re-signed playoff hero Robert Horry, added wily Argentinean post man Fabricio Oberto to the frontcourt rotation and Monday signed fiery veteran point guard Nick Van Exel, Finley's former Dallas teammate.


Popovich's foremost challenge next season will be massaging playing time and egos with a roster far deeper than the Spurs typically carry. It remains to be seen, for starters, what role remains for Brent Barry, who was San Antonio's marquee newcomer last summer.


Yet it's a challenge Popovich welcomes, after lengthy struggles to find a bench spark in the wake of Ginobili's emergence and knowing that the Spurs' perimeter shooting could use an upgrade to capitalize on the ability of Tim Duncan and Ginobili to collapse defenses. It's believed that Van Exel, like Horry, isn't interested in heavy minutes during the regular season and wants badly to fit in with the Spurs for a shot at a championship. It was also clear during the playoffs that San Antonio could use a playoff-tested alternative at point guard to the up-and-down Tony Parker, whose only backup last season was untested rookie Beno Udrih.


Missing out on Finley, meanwhile, comes as a blow to the Suns more than any other spurned suitor. With Nash as lead recruiter, and banking on Finley's fond feelings for the desert after starting his career there in 1995, Phoenix was hoping to land the 10-year veteran to start him in the guard slot vacated by Joe Johnson. Finley would have joined Raja Bell, Boris Diaw and the returning Jim Jackson in a group approach to replacing Johnson.


The Suns, though, could only offer Finley a veteran minimum salary of $1.1 million for next season. Failing to land Finley doesn't necessarily knock Phoenix from its top-two perch in the West, after the Suns made their own series of roster tweaks, but figures to make it tougher for them to close the gap on the team that knocked Phoenix out in last spring's Western Conference finals.


The Heat, widely regarded as the favorites in the Finley chase, were offering a starting salary at the full mid-level exception ($5 million) and the chance to team with Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade. Yet with the Heat already having added Antoine Walker, Jason Williams and James Posey in a five-team trade last month, Finley ultimately decided to pass on seeing how he'd fit into that mix. Instead he joins a club known for meshing quickly, with Duncan serving as the only constant on three very different championship teams.


Finley's decision will also come as a blow to the Mavericks and particularly star forward Dirk Nowitzki, who with Finley and Nash formed what was known in Dallas as a close-like-brothers Big Three. The Mavericks didn't want to see Finley follow Nash to Phoenix, but they were rooting against San Antonio, too, hoping their former face of the franchise would choose Miami or Detroit after the fruitless trade attempts.


The Mavericks decided they had to waive Finley because the amnesty clause will spare Dallas future luxury-tax payments on the nearly $52 million it still owes him. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban estimates the total savings over the next three seasons to be closer to $90 million, because Finley will receive his remaining Dallas salary in annual installments of less than $5 million.

jthig32
08-31-2005, 04:46 PM
I've been a big advocate of this, but I must admit, seeing Mike in a Spurs uniform will be a bitter pill to swallow.

uberfan
08-31-2005, 04:49 PM
Can't you imagine the content/topic of the phone calls between NVE and Fin leading up to this?

madape
08-31-2005, 05:00 PM
Yeah... it probable went something like this:

Nick - Hey Mike... F-em.
Mike - Yeah, F that bitch. I'm signing with the Spurs.

dude1394
08-31-2005, 05:24 PM
Well isn't that special. Now nash, fin and nick can kick the mavs assess for awhile.

foglemann
08-31-2005, 05:55 PM
Pop's gonna have to pull some magic tricks to get Van Exel and Finley to play defense. I'm guessing Finley might play about 10 min. for them a game, if that.

FilthyFinMavs
08-31-2005, 10:28 PM
Originally posted by: foglemann
Pop's gonna have to pull some magic tricks to get Van Exel and Finley to play defense. I'm guessing Finley might play about 10 min. for them a game, if that.
\


Why so bitter?

#1MavsFan
08-31-2005, 11:00 PM
A couple people on a Spurs board are saying they expect Fin to start instead of Bowen unless Bowen is really needed for his defensive expertise.

Drbio
08-31-2005, 11:02 PM
That's interesting #1MavsFan. I wonder if that was one of the considerations that enticed him to sign in SA.

chumdawg
08-31-2005, 11:09 PM
lol. Fin starting on a team trying to win a title. LOL.

Seriously. I'm laughing out loud.

Seriously.

alby
08-31-2005, 11:15 PM
hahah nice CD i/expressions/anim_laugh.gif

go mavs

MavsFanFinley
08-31-2005, 11:35 PM
Pop doesn't make promises. In fact, he told the San Antonio Express the other day (I believe I linked it in one of these threads) that he was straight with Finley and that he'd be coming off the bench.

If Finley starts it will be because he earned it or because of injuries.

rakesh.s
08-31-2005, 11:42 PM
They're going to "glenn robinson" finley....spot minutes here and there and maybe the occasional 15 min game.

No big deal. Just glad he didn't sign with Phoenix(if he has anything left) to take 8 or 9 three pointers a game.

vjz
09-01-2005, 01:54 AM
The Spurs were already a great team, and adding Fin has little effect. Glad he didn't sign with the Suns though.

LRB
09-01-2005, 08:46 AM
Originally posted by: foglemann
Pop's gonna have to pull some magic tricks to get Van Exel and Finley to play defense. I'm guessing Finley might play about 10 min. for them a game, if that.

I don't think that Fin will have any problem fitting in with the Spurs defensive schema or getting minutes. And even NVE should be OK. After all Pop was able to Danny Ferry to be fit in and play D, if he can do it with Ferry that hardly an NBA player who can walk and chew gum at the same time who he can't fit in.

Big Boy Laroux
09-02-2005, 10:31 AM
ah, so fin will have no problems coming off the bench in SA...

snoop
09-02-2005, 12:54 PM
love the name on the front people, not the back.

OzMavs
09-07-2005, 07:01 AM
http://images.google.com.au/images?q=tbn:0NJOCaF8YBUJ:www.wfaa.com/s/dws/spt/misc/wallpaper/img/mavericks/finley_1024.jpg
http://images.google.com.au/images?q=tbn:2Syaz-dxDIEJ:images-eu.amazon.com/images/P/B00006JS4N.02.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

You run around the court like a fool and you think that it's groovy
You're givin' it to some other team who gives you the $$$
You don't give nothin' to Mavs, you painted a smile
And you black and silver dress all the while to depress us.
But don't you know you're turning us off
I know that it's wrong, but I can't stop this pain inside me.

Finley, basketball really hurts without you,
Basketball really hurts without you,
And it's breaking my heart,
But what can I do, Mike,
Basketball really hurts without you,
Basketball really hurts through and through
And it's breaking my heart
But what can I do without you, Mikey?

You walk like a dream and you make like you're Queen of the action
You're using ev'ry trick in the book the way that you look
You're really something to see, you shoot and you can't jump that high
To impress Greg P that you fancy, but don't you know
I'm out of my mind, so give me a sigh
And help to ease the pain inside me.

Finley, basketball really hurts without you,
Basketball really hurts without you,
And it's breaking my heart,
But what can I do, Mikey,
Basketball really hurts without you,
Basketball really hurts through and through
And it's breaking my heart
But what can I do without you, Mikey?