View Full Version : NBA: Finley returns to Dallas as NBA champ

10-09-2007, 08:46 AM
NBA: Finley returns to Dallas as NBA champ
Jeff McDonald
San Antonio-Express News

DALLAS Officially, the Spurs still list guard Michael Finley at 225 pounds, the same weight at which he played last season.

Those who know him, however, say Finley looks a little lighter than in June, when the Spurs broke for summer vacation. Twenty-two ounces lighter, to be precise.

After the Spurs swept Cleveland to claim their fourth NBA title, Finley a first-time champion at age 34 absconded with the Game 4 ball and refused to put it down. He took it home and, for a few weeks after the playoffs, even slept with it.

So it was a bit of a surprise that, when Finley reported to Spurs training camp earlier this month, the Finals ball did not report with him.

No worries, Finley says. Though his most prized possession no longer resides under his right arm, it remains in a safe place.

"You thought I was going to put it on eBay?" Finley said. "That game ball is going to my grave with me."

Finley's old friends in Dallas might not recognize him tonight, when he and the Spurs open the preseason against the Mavericks at the American Airlines Center.

An NBA championship looks good on him.
It took Finley 12 seasons to earn his first one. He spent 81/2 of those fruitless seasons with Dallas, before the Mavericks via a quirk in the NBA free-agent rules essentially paid him to join the Spurs in 2005.

If he were vindictive, Finley might have an "I told you so" or two for Mark Cuban, the Mavericks owner who signed off on his departure. But Finley isn't, and he doesn't.

"He knows I have a ring," Finley said. "If he wants to see it, I'll show it to him."

Finley isn't expected to make more than a cameo appearance in his return to Dallas.

He and the rest of the Spurs' cast of 30-something veterans including Tim Duncan, Bruce Bowen and Robert Horry are projected to play only sparingly tonight.

As per his typical preseason plan, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich plans to allow his older veterans enough minutes to get in some conditioning a schedule sure to be a hit with them.

"You really don't need that much time when you talk about Fin, myself, Bruce and Tim," said Horry, who is set to endure his 16th NBA preseason slate. "We've been in the league a bunch of years. We pretty much have it down."

The Spurs will be especially thin at point guard, where Tony Parker and his two primary backups are expected to sit.

At Popovich's urging, Parker has been withheld from most team drills so far in order to freshen him up after a busy summer that included work with the French national team.

Reserve point guards Jacque Vaughn (pulled calf muscle) and Beno Udrih (broken finger) are injured. As a result, undrafted rookies Darius Washington and Anthony Lever-Pedroza will receive an extended audition in the Spurs' backcourt.

"Overall, it's the best opportunity to see the guys who aren't really on the team yet," Popovich said. "It gives them an opportunity to play and show what they have."

Translation: Don't expect this to be one of those deadly serious Spurs-Mavs Southwest Division showdowns for which the two teams have become renowned.

For Finley, however, the night should be somewhat sweet.

He will reunite with old friends, this time as an NBA champion. After the game, he will scurry back to San Antonio and re-visit his pride and joy the ball from Game 4.

Finley still has the ball on prominent display in the foyer of his home. For any visitor to the Finley estate, it is a must-see attraction.

"It's like the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument and the game ball," Finley said.

10-09-2007, 09:58 AM
Congrats to Fin. I can't wait till opening night to see him get his ring. What a moment that'll be for him and his fans.

10-09-2007, 10:58 AM
This is the final year we are paying him, Finley has one season left on a sweetheart, player-option deal. The Mavs will pay him $18.6 million and the Spurs $3.1 million for 2007-08.

10-09-2007, 12:05 PM
that makes me want to vomit

10-09-2007, 12:34 PM
yeah i hope the bastard is enjoying our $100 million

10-09-2007, 12:44 PM
Wow. So bitter towards a guy who was cut by the Mavs lol. I love readin' stories about Fin after he got his ring. I've never seen a more grateful player.

Big Boy Laroux
10-09-2007, 01:05 PM
yeah, exactly. how is he a bastard?

10-09-2007, 01:49 PM
Maybe because he accepted the 100 million contract lol. It can't be because he got cut.

10-09-2007, 02:07 PM
yeah, exactly. how is he a bastard?
I don't get that either. We cut him, he signed with a good team and won the big dance with them. He would have been glad to stay here. Maybe he would still not have a ring, but he would have been here. 8 1/2 great years. I remember when he first wore a mavs jersey. We finally had a player. We finally had some hope. He put together many good, injury free (relatively) years. I'm happy for him.

I do hate the spurs. But that is perfectly rational.

10-09-2007, 02:58 PM
I love hearing seeing that Finley got a ring. I'll definitely root for the guy, and I like seeing articles like this. I just hate the fact that about 12 other Spurs got one as well.

10-09-2007, 03:22 PM
Yeah, the Finley hating is silly. He was loyal and kept our franchise alive for a while.

10-09-2007, 04:45 PM
I "hate" Cuban more than anything for giving him that ridiculous contract in the first place... but he's made up for it in some obvious ways. If we win a ring I really don't care, it will have all worked out.

Usually Lurkin
10-09-2007, 05:11 PM
I'm looking forward to the day when he's not a spur. Love and hate just don't mix well in my belly.

10-09-2007, 06:45 PM
wow so no one else here has irrational, tempered hatred for finley taking all our money and helping arguably our biggest rival win a championship?

come on. i'll always love fin-dawg, but at the same time i hate the bastard. you know? i'm allowed to be irrational. it's like red sox fans and johnny damon.

Usually Lurkin
10-09-2007, 07:00 PM
I'm with ya, nowhereman. The rabid mavs fan in me just does not understand why Finley is not doing everything he can to sabotage the Spurs. A little Icy-Hot in Duncan's jock would have gone a long way towards keeping another ring off of Bowen's finger. And that would have caused me great pleasure. Of course, then Fin wouldn't be the Fin I've long admired. So it's tough. Maybe, if I'm lucky enough, with time I can forget that he won a title with the Spurs and I can be a lot more happy for him for winning and NBA championship. It is Fin, though. So I don't know if I can call it even a tempered hatred for him.

10-09-2007, 09:07 PM
Why would Fin still want to do something like sabotage the Spurs after his old boss threw him under the bus as soon as Fin left here, exhorting Fin's long-time fans to boo him when he came back in the arena?

10-09-2007, 10:12 PM
who cares.. this guy played like absolute for us and then played good for the enemy.. he can off

10-09-2007, 10:20 PM
who cares.. this guy played like absolute for us and then played good for the enemy.. he can off
Wait for it.....BOOM!

10-10-2007, 12:16 AM
Yeah, what a bummer. he got a ring while getting paid by us. Oh well, I wish Fin all the luck.

Go Mavs!!!

Usually Lurkin
10-10-2007, 12:38 AM
Why would Fin still want to do something like sabotage the Spurs . . .
well, any real mavs fan would. and if he's not a real mavs fan, he deserves some hate.

10-10-2007, 12:56 AM
well, any real mavs fan would. and if he's not a real mavs fan, he deserves some hate.That view lacks sportsmanship on at least a couple levels.

Big Boy Laroux
10-10-2007, 07:57 AM
Nowhereman, it's nothing like johnny Damon and the sox/Yankees. We CUT Finley. He didn't just leave as a free agent.

Did it suck that he signed with the spurs? Of course. But what, you wanted him to sign with a team going nowhere (like Atlanta)?

If I remember correctly, he wanted to go somewhere where he could win a championship, and had it narrowed down to the spurs and suns. Both are rivals, so he'd be a bastard in your eyes either way, I guess.

Damn you fin, for not banishing yourself to basketball oblivion with the hawks!

Does it suck that we're paying him a lot of money? Blame Cuban for that.

10-10-2007, 07:07 PM
When Fin looks back on his career, will he view his time with the Mavs or Spurs as his favorite years?

If a retired Finley says something like, "Yeah I put in a lot of time and hard work in Dallas, but I had the most fun in San Antonio because I won an NBA championship," how much should we suck up to him?

10-11-2007, 02:23 AM
Let's just say Finley retires next year--who would retire his jersey, SA or Dallas?

Thus, he has to rate his years in Dallas as his favorite.

Big Boy Laroux
10-11-2007, 08:57 AM
no one is saying we should suck up to fin. But we shouldn't be calling him a bastard, either.

10-11-2007, 10:02 AM
No one should suck up to Finley. But let's not call him a bastard, pretend he didn't do anything for this franchise, accuse him of leaving on his own, or call him a traitor for going to a team that had a chance at winning a championship.

SA has no reason to retire his jersey. Even if he played another 5 years there he wouldn't do anything to warrant such an honor this late in his career. However, I don't see Dallas retiring his jersey either.

10-11-2007, 11:36 PM
It would be an outrage if Cuban doesn't retire his jersey IMO.

Blackman and Davis are the only ones who has gotten their jersey retired.

-Ro Blackman played for the Knicks for two years after his stint with the Mavericks and got his number retired.
-According to wikipedia, "Davis was an average NBA player, averaging less than 10 points per game for his career, but his drive and love for the community made him a fan favorite."

10-12-2007, 02:30 AM
I do get the feeling that a few years after he retires, the choice will be obvious to retire his jersey.

I just hope the guy doesn't make some smart remark in the meantime just because he got booed in Dallas about how he likes San Antonio better. During one of the DAL/SA games last season, I distinctly remember Mike Breen talking about how Finley said he was hoping Dallas would lose in the finals. Dirk certainly didn't give him the same treatment last year.

10-15-2007, 10:17 AM
I love hearing seeing that Finley got a ring. I'll definitely root for the guy, and I like seeing articles like this. I just hate the fact that about 12 other Spurs got one as well.

That's funny!!!! I don't know why anyone would call him a bastard either but I guess when you're mad, you're mad. Although that should be directed at Cuban NOT because he cut him BUT because he gave him all that money. If Cuban didn't give him all that money, chances are Finley would still be in a Mavericks uniform because they could have afforded to keep him.

Also I agree with Mavs Fan Finley that there is NO WAY Spurs retire his jersey. I would be willing to bet if Finley went into the Hall of Fame (which he won't) he would go in as a Maverick. That's where he spent the majority of his career, that's where he spent the best years of his career and I've read articles where he refers to Dallas as his second home (first being Chicago where he grew up) and he still owns a house. I won't be surprised to see Finley in a Mavericks uniform again personally. I truly believe this will be his last year with the Spurs and I can't see him going around chasing rings, I can see him wanting to retire in a place where he's extremely comfortable which more than likely would be Dallas!

10-16-2007, 02:34 AM
When Fin looks back on his career, will he view his time with the Mavs or Spurs as his favorite years?

Honestly? I'd pick the latter. Its going to be interesting to hear how ex-Mavs players feel/felt about this Mavs organization when they played for us. Specifically Nash and Finley. I imagine we'll hear more about it once they retire. For some reason I think they're having a better time with their current teams than they did as Mavs.