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Gregg Popovich had to Convice Boban to Take $21M Deal With Detroit

The Spurs weren't going to match the Detroit deal, but Popovich still had to convice Boban that he'd be leaving $18 million on the table if he didn't sign with Pistons.

In the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, Boban Marjanovic was a beast. The 7'3" 290 lb. Serbian center set the Euroleague record for most double-doubles with 16—in only 24 games played, but whatever—and most rebounds in a season with 256 all while making 78% of his free throws. He possesses the solid footwork and deft passing abilities favored by a certain cranky coach with a love for international big men and Pinot Noir…


It was almost a foregone conclusion that Gregg Popovich would be the one to bring Boban in for a My Gigantski reboot. Last season, on a $1.2-million contract that made him a restricted free agent, he appeared in 54 games as a rookie, averaging 5.5 ppg and 3.6 rebounds in under ten minutes a night. It appeared the Big Bobber (trademark pending) had a bright future with the Spurs, but he forgot one thing.

Gregg Popovich is a mensch.

As reported in the San Antonio Express-News, the head coach loved him so much, he set him free.

(Counter-theory: Pop's motivation was to get Boban as close to Canada in case a certain immigrant-hating Spurs-loving presidential candidate lacking a working knowledge of the NBA and/or an irony gene is elected.)

"When he became a free agent last summer, Boban Marjanovic's first choice was to stay in San Antonio.

So coach Gregg Popovich sat the 7-foot-3 Serbian down for a math lesson.

'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,' Popovich said. 'I said, 'Get your ass out of here. Go. You've got to do it.' But he felt bad.'"

There was no way the Spurs could match the Pistons offer sheet for the highly-efficient center at that price, so Pop ordered Boban to take his talents to Stan Van Gundy's beach. It may have been hard to break up with Popovich, but Boban is picking up the shattered pieces of his Serbian heart via incumbent center Andre Drummond.

#PistonsMediaDay we've got @AndreDrummondd and Boban!
— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) September 26, 2016

[San Antonio Express-News]