A couple of days after Patty Mills sent heartfelt messages to the San Antonio Spurs and their fans, more details came out about how he landed in Brooklyn. After a decade in the Alamo City, it seemed like the right time for both Mills and the organization to go their separate ways to better their future.
As tough as it might be, I always felt like Coach Popovich would encourage Patty Mills to seek another championship opportunity this summer. According to a recent report by ESPN's Malika Andrews, that turned out to be true.
Contenders like the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors were some names mentioned in the Patty Mills sweepstakes, but the 33-year-old ultimately decided to join Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden in Brooklyn.
Coming off a four-year, $50 million deal in San Antonio, Mills will now be earning $5.89 million in Brooklyn next season with a player option to return and earn another $6.18 million in 2022-23.
After playing an important role in the 2014 NBA Finals to help the Spurs capture their fifth championship and his first, Mills is now perfectly set up to add more hardware to his trophy case. The Brooklyn Nets were one Durant toe away from making the NBA Finals last season, where they would've been heavily favored over the Phoenix Suns.
Predictably, Lakers fans are all over the comments section of Malika's tweet, making the story about Coach Pop having a vendetta against their franchise. In reality, the Spurs have several ties to the Brooklyn Nets, starting with their GM and part-owner Sean Marks, who used to manage the Austin Toros and was a basketball operations assistant with the Spurs.
Tiago Splitter, who also won an NBA title with the Spurs in 2014, now serves as the Player Development Coach for the Nets. Assistant Coach Jacque Vaughn won a championship in his first year with the Spurs in 2007 before eventually retiring with them in 2009.
I'm sure a part of Coach Popovich felt motivated to send Mills to the Eastern Conference, but knowing his nature, he was clearly looking out for Patty's best interests and not just looking for a way to stick it to L.A. After all, it's hard to pick against a healthy Brooklyn Nets squad as title favorites next season.
The Spurs will get their first matchup against Patty Mills on January 9th at 8:30 pm ET, with his "welcome back to San Antonio" game coming January 21st at the same time.