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‘He has been special for the Spurs’: Popovich praises Patty Mills as he departs San Antonio

Mills has signed a two-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets as the Spurs pivot toward a youth movement.
Credit: Associated Press
Veteran Spurs guard Patty Mills was averaging 11.7 points before the NBA season was suspended March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

SAN ANTONIO — After 10 seasons with the Spurs, guard Patty Mills will not be waving his towel from the bench or draining three-point shots for the Silver and Black.

This week, he signed a two-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets as the Spurs pivot toward a youth movement and rebuild.

And Mills’ former Spurs coach, Gregg Popovich, says he believes it was the right move.

“I think it's a good move for him,” Popovich said following Team U.S.A.’s 97-78 win over Australia in the semifinals of the Olympic basketball tournament. “He'll get to play for a team that's going to be a contender.”

RELATED: End of an era: Spurs veteran Patty Mills taking two-year deal with Brooklyn Nets, according to reports

Mills was the lone remaining player from the Spurs dynasty. He helped the franchise capture the 2014 title and was known as the “heart and soul” of the team.

He averaged 9.4 points, 2.4 assists and 1.8 rebounds with the Spurs and was an inspiration to all.

“We've talked before about what a wonderful human being he is,” Popovich said.

Credit: (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Guard Patty Mills, saving a Spurs pass from going out of bounds Saturday night, scored only four points in Game 1 against the Nuggets, but he hit a jumper that gave San Antonio a 95-89 lead with 3:23 left.

When Mills wasn’t lighting up the scoreboard in the AT&T Center, he was active in the San Antonio community.

He orchestrated the first NBA Indigenous Night held in San Antonio, worked with the city to promote COVID-19 safety and was seen at several community events soaking in the San Antonio culture.

Perhaps that will be what the city, fans and his former team will miss most about him: his sincerity and dedication to helping others.

“He has been special for the Spurs, and he's moving on to Brooklyn now,” Popovich said. “He's a really unique player.”

Twitter: @JeffGSpursKENS5

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