As the NBA evolves into a league that thrives on player movement and adherence to large market cities rather than small markets (which has always been the case albeit on a smaller scale), the amount of players that stay on a team for the duration of their career are few and far between.
Tim Duncan makes the list and he’s probably the only mortal lock given there’s a slight chance that Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki find more attractive options when their contracts expire.
Manu Ginobili appears on the list as well but there is one major deterrent to him playing his entire career with San Antonio — cap flexibility. Lowe notes that if the Spurs renounce their rights to their free agents next year, with Ginobili and Tiago Splitter’s cap holds taking the majority of their cap room, they will enter free agency with max-level cap room. Should they opt to go this route, this would put a major dent in Ginobili’s plan to finish his career with Gregg Popovich and Duncan.
This isn’t a realistic option in my mind, however, given the loyalty of Ginobili and the Spurs organization. Plus, max-level cap room isn’t as valuable in a small-market, though putting extra money in R.C. Buford’s hands isn’t a bad thing.
On a slightly unrelated note, Lowe also gave his case for the Ginobili’s Hall of Fame candidacy.
“And before you ask: Ginobili should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer despite his so-so raw stat totals (just over 10,000 regular-season points) and meager two All-Star appearances. He’s an international basketball legend who didn’t come to the NBA until he was 25 and played his entire career under a coach who prioritizes long-term health above short-term minutes totals. Ginobili should finish his career with one of the 35 or 40 highest PERs of all time, and his per-36 minute numbers project to just about 20 points, five assists and five rebounds per game — historically elite territory.”
So what do you think Spurs fans? Will Ginobili finish his career with San Antonio?