Monday, June 8, 2009

Express News: Gooden Likely To Test Free-Agent Waters (And Other Clean-Out Day News)

By Jeff McDonald

Drew Gooden arrived in San Antonio last March hoping to make it his home. He had bounced around the NBA for six-plus seasons in a nomad's career. He was finally ready to settle down.

Speaking to reporters at the Spurs practice facility this afternoon, Gooden reiterated his desire to remain with the Spurs after he becomes a free-agent on July 1, but intimated that he will test the market first.

"I had a great time here," Gooden said. "It was a great experience. Whatever happens, this will be a couple of pages in my book that will be memorable. I'd love to be a part of this organization, but we'll see this summer."

If Tuesday's Game 5 loss to Dallas was his last in a Spurs uniform, Gooden said he has no hard feelings with how it ended. He took a DNP-CD, as coach Gregg Popovich shortened his big-man rotation to use players most familiar with his system.

"We played a small lineup, small rotation, with the guys who have been here," Gooden said. "Some playoff games are going to be like that. If I've got to sacrifice playing to get a win, I'll do that."

In other clean-out day news ...

* Bruce Bowen said he hopes to finish out his contract in San Antonio. He is on the books next season for $4 million, only half of which is guaranteed. He doesn't want to go elsewhere.

"It would be a shock to me and my family, because this is home to us," Bowen said. "But if that's the case, we understand it's a business. Sometimes in business, there are tough decisions that need to be made."

* Michael Finley said he hadn't yet decided whether to opt into the final year of his contract with the Spurs. Finley is due $2.5 million, at his option.

"I haven't really thought about next year, to be quite honest," Finley said. "I'm going to sit back with my family now, enjoy this extended period of time off, and when the time comes that I have to make a decision about my future, that's when I'll make it."

That $2.5 million is free money to Finley, and he isn't likely to attract a better deal elsewhere. If Finley does return for a 15th season, it will probably be in a Spurs uniform.

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