Options for Patty Mills in free agency

By JT.

I’m sure we’d all like to see Patty Mills re-sign with the San Antonio Spurs this offseason – they’re a first class organisation, they’ve got the best coach in basketball and they know how to maximise a player’s talent. But, as an unrestricted free agent coming off a breakout season Patty will be in demand as teams look to solidify their back-up point guard spot.

If the Spurs don’t step up and pay him what he’s worth (for the record, I think they will, something in the $3-4 million per year range) then which teams would be a good fit for Patty and may have interest in pursuing him? Let’s take a look at some possible destinations.

Portland Trail Blazers 

Mo Williams currently occupies this role for the Blazers but he’s gone on record saying that he will opt out of the final year of his deal. You could probably do a lot worse than Williams as your back-up point guard, but I think the Blazers might look for an upgrade and thus will kick the tyres on bringing Patty back to the City of Roses. (Side note – Seriously, one of LeBron’s greatest achievements has to be Mo Williams earning that All-Star berth in 2009)

This could be a fantastic fit for Patty – he already knows the city and has played with some of the key personnel (Aldridge, Batum, Matthews), they have a free flowing offense that meshes with his skillset, they’re a probable contender for the foreseeable future and he would have ample opportunities for playing time behind and alongside Damian Lillard.

As we’ve seen in these playoffs and all season long, to take the next step the Blazers desperately need quality depth and Patty Mills would certainly help towards that.

The Blazers will have roughly $7 million in cap space this offseason (note: the cap is going to jump by $5 million next season, to $63 million) so paying him shouldn’t be a problem.

Golden State Warriors 

They’re still searching for a Jarrett Jack replacement to play behind and alongside Steph Curry, and the incumbents Steve Blake and Jordan Crawford, both coming off contract, don’t figure to be the answer. With his ball handling, improved D and ability to stroke the three, Patty could be what they’re looking for.

The appeal with the Warriors is obvious – health permitting they’re a top-tier team and they have one of the best fanbases in the NBA. But there are two other factors which may play a role – Mills played college ball at nearby Saint Mary’s, and the presence of fellow Aussie Andrew Bogut.

Money-wise, the Warriors will be over the cap but they do have the mid-level exception to offer ($3-5 million per, depending on their exact cap position) which should be in Patty’s range.

Philadelphia 76ers 

Forget this season – they were going nowhere so they blew it up and wiped the slate clean, and rightfully so.

They are building towards something special here – they have a good young point guard (Carter-Williams) and an intriguing center prospect (Noel), two high lottery picks in this year’s draft and loads of assets going forward. Oh, and former Boomers coach Brett Brown running the show.

The Sixers could certainly do with another scorer, not to mention a steady veteran presence and good locker-room guy, and Patty meets all of those needs. And he is young enough himself (25 years old) to grow both individually as a player and within the team as they embark on this journey back to the NBA’s elite.

Money is not an issue; the Sixers have a boatload of cap space.

Memphis Grizzlies 

As it currently stands, going into next season the Memphis Grizzlies do not have a capable back-up point guard on their roster. They need floor spacing and some scoring punch behind Mike Conley, so Patty Mills and his 42.5% three-point shooting should perk their interest.

The Grizzlies are a smart organisation with two great building blocks in Marc Gasol and Conley, so it should be an appealing situation for Patty to entertain.

The Grizzlies will likely be over the cap (or possibly just under) so the mid-level exception would again come into play.

JT is the former Editor of the now defunct NBAMate. One of Australia’s original & most successful NBA blogs. You can find him on twitter @JThoopin.

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