A week and a half into an offseason that began a few weeks earlier than expected, Spurs forward Matt Bonner has seen his summertime agenda already become sardine-packed.
He’s headed home to New Hampshire this week to spend time with his family, conduct his annual basketball clinic and hike the White Mountains.
In August, he and his wife Nadia are expecting their second child.
And yet, it’s already guaranteed to be a less hectic offseason than last year, when Bonner was part of the negotiating committee charged with finding a peaceable solution to the NBA lockout.
“Last year, going into the offseason was really stressful,” the 32-year-old Bonner said Monday, after a visit to a Spurs youth camp at the University of the Incarnate Word. “Not knowing what was going to happen with the future of the league and if we were even going to play this year.”
With labor peace assured at least for the next six years, Bonner — an executive vice president of the National Basketball Players Association — is looking forward to an offseason heavy on RR and light on discussions of BRI (basketball-related income).
“I don’t have to go to New York twice a week every week at random times for negotiation meetings,” Bonner said.
Bonner’s stint as an all-too-frequent flier lasted from July 1, when the owners locked out players upon the expiration of the league’s collective bargaining agreement, until just after Thanksgiving, when the two sides agreed in principle on a new deal.
Looking back on the compressed 66-game season, which gave way to an NBA Finals between Oklahoma City and Miami that is among the most-watched in league history, Bonner said he takes pride in being a part of the labor solution.
Still, he’s glad he will never have to go through anything like it again.
“There’s a ton of little things that will make this offseason a little more normal,” Bonner said.
Mills considers free agency: Backup point guard Patrick Mills told an Australian website he might opt out of the second year of his contract with the Spurs and test free agency July 1.
“I feel like I need to do my due diligence and really go see what there is to make sure I explore every option,” Mills told TheAge.com.
Signed just after the trade deadline in March, Mills is due $885,120 next season — the veteran minimum — but can become an unrestricted free agent if he chooses to opt out.
The 23-year-old, who next month will play in the London Olympics with the Australian team coached by Spurs assistant Brett Brown, appeared in 16 games this season and averaged 10.3 points and 2.4 assists in 16.3 minutes per game.
“I really enjoy being in San Antonio and being part of that program,” Mills said in the online interview. “I definitely want it done soon … so that I can get it out of the way and go to London with a clear head.”
Spurs’ connections in front-office chatter: According to a Yahoo! Sports report, the Orlando Magic are expected to name a new general manager before the end of the week.
Spurs assistant general manager Dennis Lindsey is one of three announced finalists, along with former New Orleans GM Jeff Bower and Rob Hennigan, Sam Presti’s assistant general manager in Oklahoma City and a former member of the Spurs’ front-office staff.
According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Lindsey is also expected to interview for the president of basketball operations position with the 76ers.
Danny Ferry, the Spurs’ vice president of basketball operations, has also been mentioned as a candidate for the job in Philadelphia.