And the rich get richer.
Michael Finley shared with ESPN.com on Wednesday night that he had agreed to sign with the NBA's version of the New England Patriots, the San Antonio Spurs. Terms of the deal, including both total money and length of conract, haven't been finalized yet but the one thing we do know is that Finley will recieve a starting salary of $2.5 million.
After annoncing that the Denver Nuggets were not candidates for his services (despite being the only team who could guarantee all of a starting spot, lots of minutes, and the full $5 million mid-level exception), Finley had narrowed his choices down to the Heat, Suns, Twolves, and Spurs. Clearly, the main factor for Finley was which team could give him the best opportunity to win a championship. The Spurs couldn't have asked for anything more; they were already the best team in the NBA and they've just gotten better.
Finley will come off the bench for San Antonio, playing both the "2" and the "3" wing spots, spelling both Manu Ginobili and Bruce Bowen. He'll provide a fantastic offensive threat off the bench and provide much needed three-point shooting to a team that was already short on weaknesses. Finley's ability to knock down jumpers will only make Tim Duncan better, if that's possible, exploiting his fantastic skils even further. Additionally, this puts an even bigger gap between San Antonio and Phoenix, keeping Finley out of Phoenix where he would have been a viable replacement for the departed Joe Johnson.
Three final points on this:
1. What does that mean for Brent Barry? He was rumored to be on the trading block already, and this acquisition pushes him to fourth on the depth chart. One might point out that he could be used as a backup point guard, but then why did the team just sign Nick Van Exel? My money says that Barry is traded before the season begins.
2. This has got to drive Dallas fans (and thier front office) crazy. They cut the guy who was with the team since it's bottom-feeder days, whom they watched blossom into a star and wanted to finish his career there, only to see him go to their biggest rival to most likely help them win another championship. Brutal. Now they'll know how Red Sox fans felt watching Roger Clemens win two championships with the Yankess.
3. I think it's worth noting that all of the "final four" teams who were in the mix for Finley's services were summoned to Chicago to make their pitches. The Suns sent Amare Stoudamire and a group of guys. The Heat sent Pat Riley and a group of guys. The Timberwolves sent Kevin Garnett and a group of guys. Who did the Spurs send? Gregg Popovic and ... um, well, just Gregg Popovic. The guy beat out all of those other big names to win Finley over. Incredible.