Given that the Mavs are paying Michael Finley $35 mil over the next two years, we're gonna have to root for him come Finals time.

If not Dirk, then who? As in, what player with strong Mavericks ties most deserves an NBA championship? Michael Finley, that’s who. You remember him, right? Played eight and a half seasons in Dallas, shouldering the load of some extremely crappy teams. Then, when the Mavs got better, they decided Finley was no longer good enough.He was cut two summers ago and signed with the San Antonio Spurs, only to get punched in the privates and eventually beaten by his old team in last year’s playoffs.

But now, justice is being served. For being such a good soldier for so long, Finley is still being paid $17 million by the Mavs. And, in case you totally tuned out basketball after the Mavs’ demise, Finley’s played a key reserve role in the Spurs winning the West and advancing to next week’s NBA Finals against either the Pistons or Cavaliers.

Mavs owner Mark Cuban has even half-hinted/half-tampered that he wouldn’t mind re-signing Finley when his San Antonio contract expires after this season. But first, Finley’s got to put the finishing touches on some delicious irony. Because, after all, whoda thunk he might win a championship before Nowitzki or Nash? --Richie Whitt

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky