Ginobili: “I am not planning to retire”

By Michael Rehome

May 27, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili (20) passes the ball away from Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard Tony Allen (9) in the first half of game four of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at FedEx Forum. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Did anyone really think that he was going to hang it up after this season? I for one had no doubt that he would return. He has so much fire and charisma left in him that he could go on for many years, well you know what I mean, he can still play and contribute with he best of them.  Manu Ginobili put all doubters in line as he spoke with Spurs’ Nations Jeff McDonald.

Spurs guard Manu Ginobili’s contract expires at the end of the season. He will be 36 years old next month. Numbers-wise, he is coming off one of the least productive seasons of his NBA career. He is shooting 38.3 percent in the playoffs.

Put all of the above together, and it is natural to ask: Win or lose, could the upcoming NBA Finals mark the last ride for one of the most beloved players in the Spurs history?

Ginobili answered in no uncertain terms Friday.

“I’m not planning on retiring,” Ginobili told the Express-News.

Ginobili admits the injury plagued nature of his 11th season — he missed 22 games with a variety of ailments to his hamstring, calf and back — has weighed on him at times. But he says he feels healthy enough to play at least one more season, hopefully with the Spurs.

“There are some days, you’re depressed because you’re hurt and you want to say, ‘The hell with that,’ ” Ginobili said. “But I love doing this a lot. Hopefully it’s going to be here.”

Ginobili and his agent, Herb Rudoy, have not yet opened discussions with Spurs management about a new contract. That’s by design, Ginobili said.

“From Day 1, I said until July 1 I’m not going to talk about it at all,” Ginobili said. “I don’t want it to be an issue.”

It is fair to say the Spurs would like to bring Ginobili back. He is already expecting to take a pay cut from the more than $14.1 million he earned in 2012-13, which made him the team’s highest paid player.

Our question to you Spurs fans.  Is this the kind of news you were hoping for from Ginobili?