Finley signs with Spurs

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<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=760 bgColor=#ffffff border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=bodycontentheadline>Report: Michael Finley signs with Spurs</FONT> </TD></TR><TR><TD class=bodycontent>BRISTOL, Connecticut (Ticker) - Michael Finley reportedly has chosen the chance at glory over minutes or money.

Finley, the sought-after free agent guard, will sign with the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, ESPN.com reported Wednesday.

A 10-year veteran and two-time All-Star, Finley was waived by the Dallas Mavericks on August 15 under the league's amnesty clause. He was free to sign with any team other than Dallas and entertained offers from several contending teams.

The Miami Heat reportedly offered all of their $5 million mid-level exception. The Phoenix Suns offered a chance to start alongside former Mavericks point guard Steve Nash.

However, Finley chose the Spurs, who have just $2.5 million to offer and All-Star Manu Ginobili at shooting guard but also have three NBA titles in the last seven years, including the 2004 crown.

The Mavericks reluctantly released Finley to avoid paying luxury tax on his contract, which was worth nearly $52 million over the next three years. He still receives that money from the Mavericks, plus what the Spurs are paying him.

Finley retreated to his hometown of Chicago and met with representatives from several teams, including Detroit and Minnesota.

In Miami, Finley would have competed for minutes at shooting guard and small forward with All-Star Dwyane Wade, James Posey and Antoine Walker. In Phoenix, he likely would have started ahead of newcomers Raja Bell, Boris Diaw and James Jones but would have made slightly more than $1 million.

A two-time All-Star, Finley can still play. He has averaged 19.0 points and 5.1 rebounds in 735 career games with Phoenix and Dallas.

Last season, Finley averaged 15.7 points and 4.1 rebounds in 64 games. He also shot nearly 41 percent from 3-point range, which makes him a perfect fit for San Antonio's inside-out attack.

The reported signing comes one day after the Spurs signed veteran guard Nick Van Exel, who also is expected to come off the bench.

Despite winning the championship, the Spurs have taken huge steps in improving their depth. In the offseason, they have re-signed postseason hero Robert Horry and signed Argentine forward Fabricio Oberto.

With Finley and Van Exel, the quartet constitutes a solid core of reserves, one of the team's weaknesses last season.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 
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