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Popovich told Boban Marjanovic to take big payday, “Get your ass out of here”

Pistons Nets Basketball

Detroit Pistons center Boban Marjanovic (51) pulls in the ball against Brooklyn Nets center Justin Hamilton (41) during the third quarter of a preseason NBA basketball game, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)


In his rookie NBA season, Boban Marjanovic showed he was more than just a big body. Make no mistake, at 7'3" and 290 pounds he is a load, but he has a surprisingly soft touch on his shot (60.3 percent shooting), he’s got pump-fakes and moves, plus he’s more mobile than expected.

Which is why a lot of teams were going to come after him as a restricted free agent last summer. Due to salary cap restrictions, the Spurs could only offer Marjanovic $3 million a year. The Pistons came in over the top and offered him $7 million a year for three years.

Easy choice, right? Not for Marjanovic — Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had to tell him to take the cash. Via Jeff McDonald of the Express-News.

“He’s such a good kid, at some point I had to work to get him to understand that $21 million was different than $3 million,” Popovich said. “I said, ‘Get your ass out of here. Go. You’ve got to do it.’ But he felt bad.”

“My first wish was to stay,” Marjanovic said. “But this is good now. I think I made a good decision.”

Marjanovic is going to be a cult hero in Detroit like he was in San Antonio.

He’s also going to have an expanded role — he’s the big in the paint that will anchor Stan Van Gundy’s inside-out offense when Andre Drummond rests. He was playing less than 10 minutes a night in San Antonio, that’s about to bounce north of 15 for sure, and with more opportunities to score when he is in the paint. If he remains as efficient as he was last season, the Pistons will have gotten a deal at that price.