On Thursday, Manu Ginobili was part of a news conference announcing the partnership with the Junior NBA and the Argentenian Basketball Federation.
Ginobili was alongside teammate Luis Scola who during a break in the conference lifted his new Brooklyn Nets jersey and placed it up against Ginobili’s chest and nodded that it could fit. Ginobili shook his head before handing the jersey back to a staffer in attendance. The action of
“I never wanted to leave San Antonio” – Manu Ginobili
Ginobili shoeing away a jersey not meant for him could attest to his 14 years of staying loyal to the Spurs-and that he only belongs in San Antonio’s silver and black.
But, there was a brief moment this summer, Ginobili considered wearing something other than a Spurs uniform for his 15th season. While walking out Cox Pavilion Michael Lee of The Vertical states: “Ginobili told The Vertical that his conversations with the Philadelphia 76ers weren’t a mild flirtation, nor a negotiating ploy to squeeze some extra dollars out of the only NBA franchise for which he’s played”.
Ginobili who went on to sign a one-year $14 million contract with the Spurs states that it was never about the money, but he did have to listen to all options available to him. “It was not my main option. I never wanted to leave San Antonio,” Ginobili told The Vertical. “But I had to listen to all the options that are there.”
With a free-agency period which saw Kevin Durant leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors to Dwyane Wade moving on from Miami to join the Chicago Bulls, there would not be anything more surprising than Ginobili bolting from San Antonio to another team in
Jul 21, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Argentina guard Manu Ginobili is seen at Mendenhall Center. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sportsno brainer where he should stay. But Philadelphia did what they needed to do.
the league. Besides leaving a 67-win team as the Spurs for the 10-win 76ers, no brainer where he should stay.
They tried their best in prying Ginobili away from San Antonio. They came to the table with two assets that piqued Ginobili’s interest – a coach in Brett Brown, who worked closely with him for 11 seasons in San Antonio; and a two-year contract offer that would’ve guaranteed in the first season (between $16 million and $17 million), more than five times what the Spurs initially offered for one year ($3 million).
What was offered made Ginobili think. “The fact that Philadelphia had a great coach and a person I appreciate so much as Brett Brown, made it more appealing in the case the Spurs didn’t happen,” Ginobili told The Vertical. “But the Spurs happened and they always had the priority.”
Listening to an offer is one thing. Ginobili was making sure as he stated that if the details did not work out with San Antonio, at least had a team in the wings.
Now with the Spurs locking in Ginobili, it comes at a time when Head Coach Gregg Popovich new they needed to bring him back with the retirement of Tim Duncan.
“Losing Tim made it absolutely imperative that we keep him,” Popovich told The Vertical Thursday of Ginobili. “To lose them both at the same time, it would’ve been like death by a thousands cuts. It would’ve been awful.”
The Spurs 19th trip to the playoffs ended with their loss to the Thunder. At that point, Ginobili spoke on the “amazing run” that he had with Duncan and the rest of his teammates. Many believed that Duncan and Ginobili would walk out together.
As Spurs fans have been dealing with for the past two weeks, Ginobili’s time is winding down. Right now, he still wants to be a big part of San Antonio.