For a team that looked beaten down and weary in the playoffs last year, you wouldn't think the addition of a 34-year-old power forward with a history of knee problems would prop open the window of success, but it does. Playing just 30 minutes a game last season, McDyess fell just shy of a double-double, averaging 9.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
Spurs general manger R.C. Buford confirmed the agreement, which should become official later this week, with Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News on Wednesday night.
Both the Magic and Cavaliers were thought to be pursuing McDyess. The Pistons were interested in re-signing him, as well, but after signing Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, they were stuck in the uncomfortable no man's land of having too much cap space to be eligible for the MLE but not enough to make a competitive offer.
McDyess' decision to sign with the Spurs likely won't generate half as many headlines as Rasheed Wallace's defection to Boston, but in time it ultimately may prove to be far more significant. Wallace is rarely inspired in the regular season, and although he's still a respectable defender, he's joining a defensive powerhouse. McDyess, on the other hand, will take minutes from the decidedly mediocre Matt Bonner, a three-point specialist masquerading as a power forward.
McDyess is a physical player who's more than willing to mix it up in the post on both sides of the court, though he does most of his damage on the offensive end with a deadly mid-range jumper. His time in Detroit was marked by pure heart and unselfishness, doing whatever it took to help the Pistons win a game without complaint, whether it meant sliding between the bench and starting lineup or diving into the stands after a loose ball.
Despite his age and previous injuries, McDyess was an iron man in his five years with the Pistons. He missed just nine games in the first four years, playing the full 82-game slate of regular season games twice. He appeared in only 62 games last year, but that's only because he was forced to sit out for 30 days before he was allowed to re-sign with the Pistons after he was included in the Chauncey Billups/Allen Iverson swap and subsequently bought out by the Nuggets.
Even though McDyess turns 35 in September, he arrives with less wear and tear than most players his age after missing a lot of time early in his career due to knee injuries and moving to the bench for several years after he recovered. All told, he's played a grand total of 27,018 minutes in the regular season and playoffs; Tim Duncan, on the other hand, has played 39,596 minutes in his career. Just to put that in perspective, it'd take McDyess five years playing 30 minutes a night for 82 games a season to make up that difference.
Whenever fans in Detroit complained about the Pistons playing complacent, they always made an exception for McDyess. He joined the Pistons the season after they won the title in 2004, and the fact that he was the only member of Detroit's veteran core lacking a ring meant he took it the hardest every time their season ended with a loss.
Ironically enough, the closest he ever came was when the Pistons lost the 2005 NBA Finals in seven games to the Spurs; McDyess was so distraught after Game 7 in San Antonio that he refused to talk about the sport, let alone the series, for months.
Now that he's wearing silver and black, the Spurs have plenty to talk about between now and the regular season -- with an ostensibly healthy Manu Ginobili, the newly-acquired Richard Jefferson and the always-motivated McDyess joining the rock solid duo of Tony Parker and Tim Duncan, the Spurs are back in the conversation when it comes to discussing which teams have the best chance to unseat the Lakers.
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