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Spurs add Finley to loaded arsenal

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  • Spurs add Finley to loaded arsenal

    Rich get richer
    World champion Spurs add Finley to loaded arsenal
    Posted: Wednesday August 31, 2005 8:16PM; Updated: Wednesday August 31, 2005 8:16PM

    Marty Burns, SI.com

    It just keeps getting better for the San Antonio Spurs. Three NBA titles in seven years. Now, they get to add free agent swingman Michael Finley to their already-loaded roster.

    In something of a mild upset, Finley chose the Spurs over the Heat and Suns on Wednesday. The 10-year veteran and two-time All-Star was said to be leaning toward joining the Heat, which could offer him the most money (a deal starting at $5 million per season), or the Suns, who could offer a deal starting at $1.1 million and the chance to be reunited with his buddy Steve Nash in Phoenix. The Spurs, meanwhile, could only offer the remainder of their mid-level exception, around $2.5 million.

    But in the end Finley, 32, decided San Antonio offered him the best fit in terms of a chance to win a ring and play a significant role, according to his agent Henry Thomas.

    "The money was one of the factors he looked at but in the end the most important thing was the opportunity to win a championship and to have a significant role in that," Thomas said Wednesday. "When it came down to those factors, the Spurs were the best fit."

    Finley, of course, won't exactly be hurting for cash. Waived by the Mavericks as part of the league's new amnesty provision, he will still get paid the full $52 million he was owed over the remaining three years of his contract. In fact, because of an "offset" clause in the league's waiver rules, he really is only giving up about $1.2 million in actual additional salary next season by signing with San Antonio instead of Miami.

    Still, Finley's decision to sign with the Spurs shows how badly he wants a ring. And, on paper at least, it's hard to argue with his decision. The Spurs return all the key pieces from the squad that defeated the Pistons in seven games to win the 2005 title. San Antonio also added two quality free agents in veteran guard Nick Van Exel and Argentinian power forward Fabricio Oberto during the offseason.

    While the Heat and Suns also have taken bold steps to improve their title chances, neither can claim to top the Spurs as consensus preseason favorites.

    "What he wants more than anything else is to be part of a championship team," Thomas said. "It would have been the case with any of the teams. It was a tough decision. They all have an opportunity to win, but he just felt that the Spurs were the best fit for him."

    So why did Finley choose the Spurs over the Heat and Suns? In Phoenix's case, it was probably a combination of the money and the fact that they're in the West with San Antonio. After all, the Suns lost Joe Johnson from last year's squad which couldn't get past the Spurs. While Finley clearly could have been a starter in Phoenix, he must have felt the team's chances of overcoming Tim Duncan & Co. just weren't good enough.

    As for the Heat, Finley had to like their chances of getting out of the Eastern Conference and making it to the Finals. But with Shaq, Dwyane Wade, Jason Williams, Antoine Walker and James Posey, the Heat already appear loaded with guys who like to touch the ball. Finley experienced a similar situation in Dallas two years ago, and it's possible he just didn't want to go through it again.

    The Spurs offer a slightly more balanced approach in terms of sharing the ball, with Duncan a more willing passer out of the post. While Finley would still have to play behind Manu Ginobili and Bruce Bowen, he figures to be the first guy off the bench. His defense alone should give him a leg up on Brent Barry for that role.

    Whatever the reasons, Finley clearly took his time and thought it out. Thomas says his client truly appreciated the recruiting efforts made by the various clubs, but said in the end there was no one phone call from Duncan or Van Exel or Gregg Popovich that tipped the scales.

    "I can't say there was," Thomas said. "Michael took his time and met with all the teams last week. He took the weekend to sort of sit back and evaluate everything. He narrowed it down and just decided San Antonio was the best fit for him."

    "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
    Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
    -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

  • #2
    miami will still be favored

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    • #3
      That's great for the Spurs.

      Excellent.
      When you say to your neighbor, "We're having a loud party on Saturday night if that's alright with you," what you really mean is, "We're having a loud party on Saturday night."

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      • #4
        The Spurs have like 10 legitimate rotation players now. They have the game's best player and the league's deepest roster. So long as Duncan stays healthy, it would be an upset if they didn't win the championship.

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        • #5
          Finley is not very good anymore. He is slow, a very limited defender (which won't fit in with the spurs) his shot selection and range is poor as well. He has been an overrated player for most of his career. I really don't like this move. What little he adds offensively, which at this stage in his career is definetely suspect, he takes away in lack of any defense or rebounding.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by thetorch@Aug 31 2005, 11:07 PM
            Finley is not very good anymore. He is slow, a very limited defender (which won't fit in with the spurs) his shot selection and range is poor as well. He has been an overrated player for most of his career. I really don't like this move. What little he adds offensively, which at this stage in his career is definetely suspect, he takes away in lack of any defense or rebounding.
            I disagree. As a bench player, he doesn't have the chance to be a huge liability. But, he gives them a guard who can post up if need be, but is still pretty good from the perimeter. And he's a good team player.

            They're paying him next to nothing by NBA standards and, at worst, get a guy who can score for a little over two million without disrupting team chemistry. Good move.
            On my mind: How can I shut up the singing English graduate student? How many more lossess will KU's basketball team have than its football team? How will the Rams front office screw up this year?


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            • #7
              The Suns wanted him bad. I think he's still a nice player as a 4th option kind of guy as long as he understands his role and accepts it.
              Our generation has had no Great Depression, no Great War. Our war is spiritual. Our depression is our lives.

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