Michael Finley left the San Antonio Spurs of his own accord, but he was on good terms with his teammates and coaching staff. Finley says he doesn’t have any bitterness for the organization, despite receiving little to no nightly playing time this season.
But he still wants to kick their ass. (ESPNBoston)
“I still want to beat them, believe me,” Finley said with a smile. “I don’t want to go out and roll over dead for them. It’s still my job to go out there and do my best to give my team the best chance to win the ball game. Although we’re friends, I want to destroy them. I still want to beat them. That’s not going to change. The fact that we’re friends, it’s something we can laugh and cheer about before or after the game, but that 48 minutes, it’s all about business.”
Finley former teammates hold no hostility for him, either. While Manu Giniobili admitted, “It’s going to be awkward to see him in green and white,” he denied having any harsh feeling towards Fin, who asked for a contract buyout after appearing in only 25 of the Spurs’ first 57 games. (San Antonio Express-News)
“I’m glad he’s in a place where he is playing more and feeling good,” Ginobili said. “It’s not like he just jumped off the boat and didn’t care about us anymore. He has a great heart, and he’s a great teammate. Nothing’s going to change my opinion of him.”
Finley says he holds no grudges against the Spurs, but it’s tough to believe. He clearly felt he had something left in the tank this season, and Gregg Popovich never gave him any opportunities to reveal it. I know Finley probably has a lot of respect for Pop, his coaching tactics, and probably even developed a friendship with him, too.
But, if it’s me, I’d still be pissed off I got no playing time to showcase my still-solid talent. I’d be out there gunning for 25, winking at Pop after every bucket. I’d want to show him just how badly he misjudged me. Because Finley clearly still has some gas left in that 37 year old tank of his, but Gregg Popovich didn’t think so.
Still, whether Finley goes off to impress his old coach, Finley’s most important contributions tonight might come from somewhere else.
“You’re giving the scouting report tomorrow,” Doc Rivers told him.