- Marc Stein, ESPN Senior Writer
- 0 Shares
Finley was a key member of San Antonio's 2007 championship team after leaving the Spurs' longtime rivals in Dallas but had struggled to earn playing time this season from coach Gregg Popovich so the team honored Finley's request to be released.
"I was very surprised, but we granted his request," Popovich said. "That's for other teams to decide if they think he can be useful. But we did grant him his release before the deadline so he would have the opportunity to play someplace in the playoffs if he so desired."
Finley will be eligible to play in the playoffs for another team. But the 15-year veteran, who was earning $2.5 million in the final year of his contract with the Spurs, must clear waivers before choosing his next team.
Although he seemed disappointed that Finley wanted to leave, Popovich had nothing negative to say about him and indicated that Finley maintained his professionalism even as he apparently grew more frustrated with his lack of playing time.
"On and off the court, he set a great example for everybody and he was a joy to have in the program the entire time he was here," Popovich said.
Finley, who turns 37 on Saturday, lost his starting job this season and missed several weeks with a sprained ankle. He appeared in just 25 of San Antonio's first 57 games, averaging 3.7 points in 15.8 minutes.
Finley appeared in 347 games over five seasons with San Antonio, averaging 9.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 25.3 minutes. Finley ranks fourth all-time for the Spurs in 3-pointers made and attempted.
He was drafted by Phoenix in 1995 and spent the peak of his career in Dallas, where he played eight-plus seasons.
Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.
8dEthan Sherwood Strauss