All of a sudden, Patty Mills is a man in high demand in the cut-throat world of American professional basketball. Following his true Aussie grit effort in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, in which his 17 points total points, couple with a third quarter hot streak, helped secure the NBA Championship for his San Antonio Spurs, Mills finds himself in a rather enviable position moving into the off-season.
Out-of-contract, Mills now begins to navigate the rocky road of Free Agency. But far from being a matter of if someone will offer him a deal, it’s now a question of when, and how much. As a back up point guard, Patty’s stocks have surged in a breakout twelve months that saw him go from towel-waving novelty to key cog in becoming only the third Australian (and first Indigenous) person to receive an NBA Championship ring.
So where could Patty end up? It’s no secret that he loves the culture at San Antonio, and the Spurs are certainly not going to let him go without a fight. There isn’t any cap pressure at the Spurs to battle with, and Mills is worth extra few million he’s likely to attract. But San Antonio is notoriously tight on contracts, a luxury afforded by the great team culture the club has cultivated; players often take a pay cut for the chance to play there. They’ll slip Patty a few extra million for sure. But the big contracts on the open market will come from elsewhere. The question for Patty and the Spurs will be if he wants to chase the money and the vague possibility of landing a starting Point Guard role, or if he wants to stay with the Spurs and chase another Championship.
Other suitors for Mills services have been rumoured to include the Golden State Warriors, the Washington Wizards, the Los Angeles Lakers, and even the Spurs Finals foe the Miami Heat.
Patty Mills has stamped himself a star on the rise, and the US is taking notice. And at just 25 years of age, it seems Mills now has a long, and lucrative, career in the NBA in front of him.
It’s a damned good time to be Patty Mills.
Photo: Chris Covatta via Getty Images.