Manu Ginobili has given some indications regarding where he stands with his possible retirement.
Apparently Ginobili is prepared to discuss the direction of the team with Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, and the rest of his teammates. From that, he’ll examine how he fits into the Spurs’ future plans.
“My decision will not depend on the decisions of what my teammates will do or anything like that. But I want to know what the plan is for the team and Pop.”
Ginobili stated that he has not made a decision yet, and is choosing to currently focus on playing for Argentina in the fast-approaching Summer Olympics.
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“As always, now my main goal is the Olympics. It’s time to relax,” Ginobili emphasized. It sounds like it might be a couple months before this matter gets resolved.
Although he says that Tim Duncan’s retirement decision won’t affect his own choice, clearly they’re linked.
He says that how he fits into the team’s plans for next season will be a factor in his decision, and the direction of the team will have the potential to significantly affect the roles of both Duncan and Ginobili. Each player is aging and in the midst of visible declines in athleticism and statistical production.
In their series with the Oklahoma City Thunder, OKC looked far more dynamic and fresh than the Spurs. Perhaps San Antonio will try to make an effort this offseason to get younger. That would mean either cutting ties with or decreasing the roles of grizzled veterans on the roster.
Duncan and Ginobili are held in great reverence with the team, yet the Spurs also have to consider the best way to go about improving their squad.
Maybe the Spurs will wait to see the degree to which they can upgrade their perimeter and interior depth through free agency or the draft before assessing where Ginobili and Duncan fit into their plans.
If the Spurs are able to sign a younger alternative as a backup shooting guard but fail to land a proficient center, then the Spurs may see Duncan as more necessary than Ginobili to bring back. The opposite can happen if the Spurs acquire a center but not a shooting guard.
The Spurs may use this moment to conveniently start a new chapter and begin surrounding Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge with younger role players. In that case, Duncan and Ginobili aren’t going to have as significant of roles as they did last season if they come back.
If both Duncan and Ginobili base their decisions to return largely on the direction of the Spurs, then it’s likely that they will either both return or both retire, depending on that direction.
Each guy is basically at the same stage of their career, and baring any huge developments via free agency or trades, it doesn’t appear as though the Spurs will prioritize one of them returning over the other.
If a vision for the future influences Ginobili as much as he says it does, he’ll likely be confronted with a team that’s ready to start a new chapter removed from him and Duncan.