As a restricted free agent this past offseason, fan favorite big man Boban Marjanovic got an offer from the Detroit Pistons that he couldn't refuse — and one that San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich didn't want him to pass up.
On a one-year, $1.2 million deal with the Spurs in 2015, the 7-foot-3 three-time Serbian Super League MVP made an impact off the bench in his first season in the NBA. But when the offer came from Detroit in July — three years and $21 million — Pop nudged Boban toward the life-changing money. Via Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News, Popovich said:
“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. I said, ‘Get your ass out of here. Go. You’ve got to do it.’ But he felt bad.”
Article continues below ...
“We knew he was gone. It happens to every team. You lose a guy because you have to pay people and you can’t pay them all.”
Marjanovic wasn't eager to leave, saying “my first wish was to stay,” but the Spurs didn't match the offer and he heeded Popovich's advice.
Now he'll get more minutes in Detroit and can buy some nice things and of course, keep his friends from the Spurs. Here he is with Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills (and Tim Duncan in spirit) on Monday night when San Antonio visited Detroit: