This past off-season, new fan favorite Boban Marjanovic signed with the Detroit Pistons on a 3-year, $21 million dollar contract, leaving plenty of Spurs fans feeling upset. It was easy to see just how much the big guy was embraced by San Antonio during his only season in silver and black. Fans would go absolutely bonkers when he would check into games, which was often in blow-out situations.
It seems as though, however, that Marjanovic’s desire was to originally re-up with San Antonio for this upcoming season. Coach Pop, though, would have none of that, per Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:
"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."
"We knew he was gone," Popovich said. "It happens to every team. You lose a guy because you have to pay people and you can't pay them all."
After some reluctance at leaving his first NBA home, Marjanovic is settling in with Detroit.
"My first wish was to stay," Marjanovic said. "But this is good now. I think I made a good decision."
Part of the reason that Marjanovic was not resigned was because the Spurs needed money to make a run at Pau Gasol this offseason, likely knowing that there was a significant possibility Tim Duncan would not return. Marjanovic is one of a few players that have been let go or traded by the Spurs in the past two off-seasons to make room for big-time pieces such as LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol.
Though he will likely still be relegated for 3rd string center duties, behind former Spur Aron Baynes, Marjanovic will do so with a nice raise. This is just another example of Gregg Popovich looking out for his players, even if it means they have to leave the Alamo City.
Hopefully Boban continues to be loved by fans in Detroit the way he was loved by Spurs fans. We will certainly miss him.