Things that should worry the rest of the league: Next season the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs can roll out pretty much the exact same lineup that just thumped the Miami Heat in the Finals.
They have just two free agents who showed up big in the NBA Finals — Boris Diaw and Patty Mills (Matt Bonner is also a free agent, but we’re not going to call him “key”).
After the Finals, he just had including 17 points off the bench in Game 5, you can bet someone is going to target Mills… like the New York Knicks, reports the New York Post.
The Knicks will look to use their mini mid-level exception to obtain a free-agent starting point guard and one may have emerged out of the Finals massacre of Miami in Spurs backup Patty Mills….
“New York is definitely a city Mills would want to play in,’’ the source said. “He has that personality.’’
The Knicks are in the market for a new starting point guard because, well, Raymond Felton.
Although, as Derek Fisher and Phil Jackson move them toward the triangle the role of the point guard will change, it will diminish. In that system, the point guard brings the ball up (sometimes), makes an initial pass to start the offense, then is mostly a floor-spacing shooter asked to play defense. Mills could fill that role, but does he want to?
If the Knicks retain Carmelo Antony, the most they can offer Mills or any free agent is the tax-payer’s mid-level exception of just less than $3.3 million (if Carmelo Anthony opts out then signs as a free agent elsewhere, it cold free up enough cap space to offer Mills more).
The Spurs are under the salary cap and could easily match or beat any offer from the Knicks, if they wanted to. The thing is they may not want to — they are not going to break the bank for a back up point guard, if he leaves they can get another guy to fit in (the Spurs are always pulling guys off the scrap heap who then come in and blossom). It is likely both teams (and any others that may want to get in on the Mills bidding) are in the same financial ballpark.
Patty Mills needs to ask himself what he wants. He’s a key role player on the NBA champions, a team where he told PBT it took him a couple of years to be comfortable and understand that role. This is a place he likes playing, and a place where they will win a lot of games.
But if Mills wants a bigger role on a team that can give him more minutes, if he wants to be in a bigger spotlight, the Knicks are a good call.