The Heat lost the Michael Finley sweepstakes. The free agent swingman said Wednesday that he plans to sign with the San Antonio Spurs.
Four teams — the Spurs, Heat, Minnesota and Phoenix — pursued the versatile veteran. Each suitor enticed Finley differently. Minnesota’s Kevin Garnett visited with Finley in Chicago. Miami offered Finley the most money, and Phoenix offered Finley a chance to play with a close friend, Steve Nash. No one involved, however, could match San Antonio’s pitch: the chance to play for a championship team.
The Heat was prepared to offer Finley its $5 million mid-level exception. San Antonio had only $2.5 million to offer Finley.
Finley’s move to San Antonio likely increases the chance of point guard Damon Jones re-signing with the Heat. Jones, who has told associates he would like to return, has been waiting for Finley’s decision because he wanted more than the $3 million the Heat has offered. Now Miami is in position to offer Jones slightly more than that. Any offer beginning at more than $3 million would cut into the Heat’s $5 million exception.
Meanwhile, Finley joins a loaded San Antonio team primed for another run at the NBA Finals. The Spurs recently re-signed Robert Horry and Monday added Nick Van Exel. Van Exel played with Finley in Dallas