By Jeff Caplan, NBA.com
HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – The Most Versatile Man in the world doesn’t want to miss out on one of the rare opportunities in the world: The repeat.
That’s right, Boris Diaw will re-sign with the newly minted champion San Antonio Spurs. Diaw, the 6-foot-8 power forward, small forward, point forward, shooting guard, whatever, announced via Twitter on Sunday evening that he’ll be hanging around for a few more years.
That’s music to the ears of Spurs fans who fretted that Diaw might seek (and find) a larger payday elsewhere after his magnificent, all-around performances in the NBA Finals. Instead, Diaw will remain with the team that in many ways resurrected his career when it plucked him off the Charlotte Bobcats’ trash heap in March 2012.
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, Diaw and the Spurs reached an agreement on a three-year deal worth $22.5 million.
The Spurs have managed to reach agreements with two critical players off a bench that made San Antonio arguably the deepest team in the league. Last week the Spurs came to terms with backup point guard Patty Mills, who will miss a chunk of next season because of surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. They get both players on reasonable deals, securing the services of both for the next three seasons at around a combined $11 million per year.
Contracts cannot be officially signed until the league’s moratorium comes to a close on July 10.
Diaw provides Gregg Popovich‘s team tremendous versatility and it was on full display during the Western Conference finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder and then in the NBA Finals in the Spurs’ five-game triumph over the Miami Heat.
Diaw scored 26 points in 36 minutes of the series-clinching Game 6 of the West finals when point guard Tony Parker was lost for the second half with an ankle injury. Popovich inserted Diaw into the starting lineup starting with Game 3 of the Finals after Miami’s smaller lineups took Game 2 in San Antonio.
Diaw, 32, replaced the bigger, less mobile Tiago Splitter, and put together three memorable performances in Games 3, 4 and 5 — all Spurs blowout wins — averaging 7.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg and 6.0 apg.
According to Wojnarowski, the third year of Diaw’s deal is not fully guaranteed. Diaw will be guaranteed $18.5 million over the first two years of the deal.
While the Spurs are keeping their own, they will continue to pursue free-agent center Pau Gasol. San Antonio is limited to offering its full mid-level exception of $5.3 million.
Otherwise, the champs will look very much the same when they open training camp in October. Before the start of free agency, Tim Duncan opted into the final year of his contract, and Manu Ginobili put off retirement for at least another year.
Still in the crosshairs of this club that has won four championships with the Big Three going back to 2003 is celebrating in back-to-back seasons.
Diaw apparently didn’t want to miss out on such an opportunity.