PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Michael Finley will celebrate his 37th birthday Saturday as a member of the Boston Celtics.
The veteran swingman asked for and was granted his release from the San Antonio Spurs earlier this week. He will earn a prorated portion of the veteran’s minimum of $1.1 million.
Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said after practice in Philadelphia on Friday that he expects Finley to join the team in Boston on Saturday and debut the next day against the Washington Wizards.
“He’s got high character,” Rivers said. “He’s another shooter. We don’t know where we’re going to fit him in, but adding a veteran can never hurt. Adding a guy who can make open shots can never hurt. Adding a guy who’s been through the wars can never hurt. That’s how we looked at it.”
Finley sprained his left ankle early this season and appeared in just 25 games for San Antonio. He had fallen out of the Spurs’ rotation, prompting him to request to be waived.
Finley has scored more than 17,000 points since joining the league with Phoenix in 1995. He also played for Dallas.
A career 37 percent shooter from 3-point range, Finley’s percentage dipped to 31.7 percent this season. He’s averaging 3.7 points in 15.8 minutes.
“I think he has basketball left in him,” Rivers said. “What he can give us and how it fits, we’ll figure it out as we go.”
He brings 111 games of playoff experience and was part of the Spurs’ championship in 2007. The two-time All-Star will play behind Paul Pierce and Marquis Daniels at the small forward position.
The Celtics entered play Friday leading the Atlantic Division at 38-21.
“He’s a veteran who can spread the floor and shoot pretty well,” Pierce said. “He brings a lot of experience. He’s a veteran who has been around the block a few times. I’m sure he’ll find his way, and he’s played in a lot of big games during his career. He knows how to approach them and play in them. Experience can always help in tight situations.”