Updates from Thursday, July 3
Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press reports an update on Mills' surgery:
Updates from Wednesday, July 2
Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News reports that Mills will remain a Spur:
Just hours into the free-agency period that promised to land him his first big NBA contract, a report revealed point guard Patty Mills will undergo a shoulder surgery that's expected to keep him out of commission for the next seven months.
Mills played through most of the 2013-14 season while dealing with right shoulder pain. He was heavily bandaged at points throughout the campaign, though he did play in 81 of the San Antonio Spurs' regular-season games and appeared in all 23 playoff contests. Chris Dutton of the The Canberra Times reported Tuesday that Mills' exit physical in San Antonio revealed a torn rotator cuff.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski notes that the return may take longer than expected:
ESPN's Mark Stein has more:
He is expected to undergo surgery to fix the issues within a few days. The injury will not only cost Mills a chance to build on his 2012 Olympic performance for Australia at the 2014 FIBA World Cup, but it may also greatly depress what looked like a burgeoning free-agent market.
Working as Tony Parker's primary backup, Mills averaged 10.2 points and 1.8 assists this season while shooting a sterling 42.5 percent from beyond the arc. Even though he averaged 18.9 minutes per game in the regular season and broke the 20-minute plateau just twice in the playoffs, teams coveted the 25-year-old's shot-making ability and viewed him as a potential starter.
In June, Marc Berman of the New York Post reported the Knicks were preparing to make a run at Mills in free agency. A source told Berman there was mutual interest.
"New York is definitely a city Mills would want to play in," the source said. "He has that personality."
The rumblings otherwise were minimal at this point, but Mills' free agency was bound to play out over a longer period of time. Teams prioritize retention of their own players and high-salaried free agents early in the process, and Mills was hanging somewhere in that second tier.
Now, it will be interesting to see how his free agency plays out.
A seven-month absence keeps Mills out until February of next year. Dutton's report used the phrase "up to seven months," so it's very possible that doctors find less damage than expected and he's ready earlier than the grim time frame suggests. But Mills is unlikely to be on the floor opening night and might see teams hesitate to pursue someone whose return to the floor is uncertain.
That might mean Mills takes a one-year deal in San Antonio or another city and hopes to hit the free-agent market again next summer when he's healthy. It could mean an enterprising team sees Mills' market disappear and swoops in with a multi-year contract on the cheap.
Anything can happen in NBA free agency. But Mills' future is far more uncertain than when he was hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy a couple of weeks ago.
Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.
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