The Dallas Mavericks traded Jason Kidd, Tony Dumas, and Loren Meyer for Michael Finley, Sam Cassell, and A.C. Green back in Dec. 1996. Kidd wanted out of Dallas, so the Mavs were happy to acquire the promising Finley, plus a veteran in Green and Cassell. They had not made the playoffs since 1990 and were searching for a star player to build the roster around.
Finley blossomed into a 20-point per game scorer and All-Star in Dallas. He formed a big three with Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash, who were both acquired on draft night in 1998. Nowitzki would go on to the franchise GOAT, but Finley played a key role in his development before leaving for the Spurs in 2005.
The two-time All-Star re-joined the Mavericks as part of their front office in 2014. Finley survived the offseason changes that saw Donnie Nelson and Rick Carlisle depart the organization after more than three decades of combined service. Finley became vice president of basketball operations last offseason as his role expanded. The 48-year-old received another honor on Feb. 20.
University of Wisconsin retires jersey of former Dallas Mavericks forward Michael Finley
Finley played four seasons at Wisconsin, including three where he averaged over 20 points per game. The 6’7 forward blossomed from an under-recruited teenager to a star with the Badgers. He helped bring back Wisconsin’s program too, including leading them to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 1994, which was their first appearance since 1947.
The Mavericks' current VP of basketball operations was more than deserving of the honor. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and one of the Badger’s all-time greats. Finley was number four in Dallas, but his number 24 will forever hang in the rafters at the University of Wisconsin. Fans can see the ceremony, including Finley’s speech below.
Michael Finley is a key piece of the Dallas Mavericks front office. He is the number two under general manager and president of basketball operations Nico Harrison. Owner Mark Cuban and Finley have plenty of say over roster decisions moving forward as the Mavs look to build a title contender around Luka Doncic.
Congratulations go out to Michael Finley on his honor, and let’s go Mavs.