Michael Finley Caught Popovich By Surprise

Mike’s coach tells the Express-News that he did not expect Finley to ask that the Spurs grant a release (thereby opening the door for some title contenders to make a play for his services): “Spurs forward Michael Finley shocked Spurs coach Gregg Popovich when told him he would like to be released by the Spurs in time to be eligible for any other team’s playoff roster. ‘was very surprised,’ Popovich said before the Spurs played the New Orleans Hornets at New Orleans Arena on Monday night, ‘but we granted his request.’ Indeed, the Spurs negotiated a buyout of Finley’s contract and waived him on Monday afternoon, hours ahead of a Monday deadline that would have prevented Finley from being eligible for any other team’s playoff roster. Popovich stressed that the Spurs had not ‘let Finley go,’ a connotation that would have implied dissatisfaction with a payer who had signed a free agent deal with the Spurs on Sept. 2, 2005. ‘We didn’t let him go,’ Popovich said. ‘He requested a buyout so he could leave and we granted that.”‘