The Pistons have signed three former Spurs players in the past two offseasons. Aron Baynes signed in 2015, and Ray McCallum (most recently of the Grizzlies) joined the team this year. Additionally, 7-foot-3 Serbian Hulk Boban Marjanovic signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Pistons in July.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich spoke to the San Antonio Express-News about the process of losing Marjanovic, who says that he wanted to stay in Texas. The realities of the salary cap, however, prevented him from remaining on the team and earning a fair salary. Marjanovic appears to have been ready to accept a small offer to stay, but Popovich himself had to push him out the door:
“He’s such a good kid, at some point I had to work to get him to understand that $21 million was different than $3 million,” Popovich said. “I said, ‘Get your ass out of here. Go. You’ve got to do it.’ But he felt bad.”
It certainly would have been good for the Spurs if Marjanovic gave up all that money to remain on the team, so Popovich insisting on him taking the money is a pretty cool thing to do. The Spurs will miss him, but at least now he can make a bushel of cash and wait for more ex-Spurs to inevitably flock north next summer.