A Solid May Be in Order

Posted by Rob Mahoney on March 2, 2010 under Commentary | 19 Comments to Read

I’m a guy who believes in success based in merit. Call it a bit of sweeping Americanism in me; if you work hard and deserve something, you’re bound to get it. It’s the reason I’m sickened every time a former NBA player is handed a coaching or managing job he doesn’t deserve, or every time a player is given a roster spot or a role based on name and not on play.

But in this case, I can hardly afford to be so reasonable, and if you’ve been a fan of the Mavs for more than a decade, you should probably feel the same way.

Michael Finley, through some bizarre overestimation of his basketball value at his advanced age, asked to be released from the Spurs and was granted his wish. I’m not precisely sure what Fin thinks he can offer a team considering his career-lows in almost every, single category based on every, single standard, but Mike is on the hunt for a contending teams looking for his services. The Celtics are rumored to be interested in signing Finley for the rest of the season, and I’m sure that Fin will draw at least cursory interest elsewhere.

But should the other contending teams take a look and pass on Finley, the Mavs should do an old friend a favor.

There would be no reason for him to play, and in that regard I’m sure Mike would be disappointed. The whole point of this endeavor into free agency was to find an opportunity to contribute to a team, not just ride coattails. I’m just not sure that Fin’s capable of that anymore, and unless a team desperate for wing depth sincerely thinks otherwise, it’s entirely possible that Mike will only have playoff also-rans to choose from.

Finley deserves better. And should he come into that position, Donnie Nelson should sincerely rethink his stance on standing pat with his current roster. It has less to do with “mess[ing] with what [the Mavs] have,” or giving Finley actual minutes. But if Michael is faced with the reality of settling for a fringe playoff team that could use a veteran or free agent limbo, what’s the harm in using the final roster spot to bring Finley along for the ride? Nelson has already made it clear that he has no interest in signing D-League standout Dwayne Jones, or Timberwolves castoff Mark Blount. That’s fine, provided Nelson believes this team honestly has enough depth at center. But if the last roster spot is to remain open going into the playoffs, picking up Fin could be a nice gesture toward a franchise savior.

It would be filling out the roster by way of relatively useless spending, but this is Michael Finley. He helped to rescue the Mavericks from the dredges of the league and push them into the playoffs. He was an integral part of some of the most important Mavs teams of all time, and dropped countless memories along the way. He was a true professional, and though stepping aside to allow Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash take more prominent roles was never easy for him, his attitude was never the problem.

Mark Cuban cut Finley loose as a way of saving money with the one-time, Allan Houston exception. He went to the surest team to win a title, which at the time was the San Antonio Spurs. Since then, he’s hit shots, been booed in Dallas, been punched in the groin, won a ring, and now, has been cut loose to hopefully get the chance to win another. Should another opportunity present itself, that chance should come with the Mavs. Not because of an obligation or foolish notion that Finley can still produce on an NBA-level, but as a nod to one of the greatest stars this franchise has ever seen.

  • http://theyremammals.blogspot.com guynes

    Well Rob, looks like we can’t agree all of the time.

    This post is ridiculous. Mark Cuban has given Finley soooo much money… even when he wasn’t on the roster. And now we should give him more?! If we need a guy who is a shell of his former self who can hit a big shot in the playoffs (see Gary Payton in the 2006 NBA Finals), then let’s go for Finley. But not because we need to tip our cap to him somehow.

    I almost don’t want the Mavs to sign Finley out of spite. He’s turning his back on the team that actually did get him his ring. It’s not like he has that “one last thing to do before he retires”. He had his championship. And he’s still with that team. And by the way, they’re still going to make the playoffs!!!

    Good luck floundering on the Celts’ roster. At least the Spurs can beat the Nets.

  • Ben

    Mavs already have cheerleaders.

    Still, might have more interest in this if he wasn’t tainted by the odor of the dirty river.

    Ewww, that smell..

  • harry

    Agree with Rob. How can you not want Fin to have his swan song sung in blue? I remember being a fan of the worst team of the decade but still proud to have an all-star. Also, his assist to Calvin Booth in Utah was the end of an era – a bad one era – and the ushering in of a proud and winning franchise. Finely saw us through the bad times and got us to the good times.

  • MFFL

    Finley left and went to our rival, the Mavericks gave him more than enough during his career. He needs to retire and stop ruining the memories all of us have of him back when he had hops and could score at will.

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  • Cynthia

    Agree with quynes. Why would you want to sign a player who CLEARLY will NOT help your team? I don’t care when he played here, how long he played here or how he played when he was here. I only care about his numbers this season. And he hasn’t done jack. And he’s NEVER healthy anymore. And why he asked to be let go and actually think he can contribute to another team is beyond me. As far as I’m concerned the Celtics (IF they are actually considering him…it could be just his agent talking) or any other team can have him. If he can’t contribute anything no point in having him here.

  • Cynthia

    If the NBA was about ‘solids’ I guess the MAVS should of gotten Stack back also. (although Stack IS having a much better season in Milwaukee than Fin has in SA)

  • Cynthia

    Hang his jersey in the rafters at some later date if you want to do Michael a solid.

  • Eric

    I totally agree with this post. Signing Finley would be a great thing for long time Mavs fans. I still reminisce over the early days of this decade with the Big 3, and remain a Finley fan despite the fact that he played with the hated Spurs. If the Mavs are going to leave an open roster spot, I don’t see any harm, and I’m not convinced that he can’t contribute to the team. I’d prefer watching Finley play than Von Wafer stealing shots from Dirk, Caron or Jet (which I’m relatively certain will happen if Von ever makes it into a game).

    Really, the only downside I can see is the fact that Finley’s #4 is currently being worn by Butler, but other than that, I don’t see any reason not to sign him.

  • harry

    Man, I guess everyone would have been against Mays finishing up with the Mets or Aaron with the Brewers.

  • Glen

    Finley specifically asked for his release so he could go to a team that would give him more playing time, remember?

    Are you suggesting that the Mavs fulfill that request – sign him, pay him, and play him? That’s crazy talk.

    The Mavs don’t owe Finley anything. Like guynes said above, the Mavs have paid Finley massive amounts of money, and if you seriously want the Mavs to have a chance of winning a title, the last thing you should want is for the Mavs to sign what would is a 37 year old who is the 15th best player on your team and have him expecting playing time.

    No thanks.

  • Crawford

    Let’s just get the best guy available at our 15 spot that can contribute if tragedy strikes and we are desperate (since that is what it will take to use the 15th spot). I tend to think Wafer is a better fit, but I’ll trust Donnie. Maybe that’s Finley, maybe that’s someone else.

  • http://www.bandofballers.com Brian

    I disagree with this column…I think there’s actually going to be some valuable bigs (blount, gooden (I dont care what the clips are saying)etc.)available at the end of this season who could play major minutes in the event that Dampier doesn’t come back whole this year.

  • Andy

    I don’t think it would be a bad pick-up, especially because it’s low risk. But I don’t think the Mavs owe it to him. This is the team that paid him $52 MILLION TO LEAVE THE TEAM. That’s a hell of a severance package.

  • Andrew

    I’m divided. I’d love to see Fin come back to retire here, and I think that should happen. If he wants playing time, though, this is not the way to go for him or the Mavs…if he’s happy hanging out, you could certainly do worse than one of the guys who helped Dirk Nowitki become what he is, and gracefully ceded him the spotlight when it was time.

  • http://projectvibe.net Boogie

    I vote no. I love Fin to death… always have, especially when he was the lone workhorse of the 90s… besides, seeing Fin in anything BUT Caron Butler’s #4 jersey would be… kinda off.

  • sheelpi

    I’m with Andy, that Allan Houston thing was a salary cap trick, Cuban was still paying Finley’s ginormous contract out of his pocket while Finley played for and won a ‘ship with our most hated rival. I’d consider that a big solid already done.

  • Barrett

    One of the greatest articles I’ve ever read. Michael Finley saved the Dallas Mavericks and brought them into being a playoff team. He had the greatest attitude each and every day and was one of the classiest guys in the league and deserves a lot better respect from Dallas Mavericks fans. A lot of people believe that HE left the Mavericks, which is so wrong, the MAVERICKS left him. They pushed him aside and tried to do it with out him, which failed. That is what is wrong with Mark Cuban and the management staff of the Mavericks, they have no respect and dish players out all the time and then pick them back up years later ex: Kidd, Najera. Finley got his ring, and well deserved! Have some respect for a man who brought basketball back to Dallas!

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