Aussies in NBA: Patty Mills on the decision to rejoin San Antonio
Aussie star Patty Mills opened up about his recent free agency process on SEN Breakfast today, attributing his decision to stay in San Antonio in large part to head coach Gregg Popovich and the overall culture of the San Antonio Spurs organisation.
After being thrust into a larger role with San Antonio last season, one that included starting in six playoff games, Mills was rewarded with a four-year, $50 million dollar deal to continue his career under Popovich.
"The values [the organisation and myself] share are very similar, and they saw me as a big part of their culture. I'm really thrilled to go back there for another four years," Mills said.
"I think I've been in a fortunate place in San Antonio because it really [resembles] an Australian feel of culture, trying to have a family environment and they do such a good job of that.
"After settling in there and understanding what they are all about and what I'm all about, it's a successful program for a reason, they've made it to the playoffs 20 years in a row."
Mills also revealed that despite ultimately re-signing with the Spurs, he did consider his options in free agency.
“It was a decision where I wanted to go through the whole process,” Mills shared.
“I owed it to myself to go through the whole process to see what the market was like, and see if other teams needed the little Indigenous boy on their side. I went through the process but at the end of the day, I’m a Spur, and I have been for the last six years."
Mills went on to say that playing for legendary head coach Gregg Popovich was a "huge factor" when making his decision.
The Aussie also talked about how the organisation envisioned him as a bridge between the old-timers like Tim Duncan, and the younger generation of Spurs that have been just drafted. With question marks surrounding the health of future Hall-of-Famer Tony Parker, and first year player Dejounte Murray being a few years away from full time starting, Mills may be the immediate answer for the Spurs at point guard.
This doesn't mean he is just the transition point guard between eras, though. Mills remains focused on climbing to the top of the NBA summit with the Spurs.
"At the end of the day, I’m still trying to reach and fulfil my goals, so there is a lot more still to come and hopefully we can get back to another championship.”