Manu Ginobili could’ve been playing for Philadelphia 76ers for the 2016-17 season. Ginobili was highly recruited by a former Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown, now head coach of the Sixers.
But here is the thing, Brown nearly got his guy.
Ginobili said his contract talks with the Sixers were genuine and not a negotiating ploy to receive a richer offer from the San Antonio Spurs.
“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.”
Ginobili entering his 14th season in the NBA, all of which have been with the Spurs, was intrigued by the offer from Brown.
“I was very flattered,” Ginobili said.
Mar 10, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili (20) shoots the ball against the Chicago Bulls during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
He then went on to talk on the relationship the two had while he was an assistant in San Antonio.
“With Brett Brown, I had a great relationship when we were here. He was my guy, the one that developed my game a lot. The fact he wanted me to sign me at this stage of my career and tell me he thought it was very important to his project was very, very flattering.”
Brown’s role in Ginobili’s career as you can see, was huge. He then went on to talk on what role and how important he was going to be for the Spurs, if he were to resign.
“I wasn’t sure how important I was going to be for the Spurs. Once the talks started to go one and the Spurs showed great interest and really wanted me back, of course I wanted back, too. Then I made the decision. At the beginning I was very flattered and honored because it was a coach I appreciated and respected a lot and it made me feel really well.”
Not only has Ginobili provided the talent and the passion that is Spurs basketball, he is the spark that San Antonio needed.
Maybe one can question the contract that he did sign with the Spurs and how he may not be worth the $14 million. One thing is for sure, he has helped build a organization that always has a chance to compete for an NBA title.
Philadelphia was offering a two-year contract offer that 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).
In the end, he returned to a place where he stated himself, he never thought of leaving.
Just look at the banners that are hanging from the rafters. Manu’s fingerprints are all over them and as well as on the franchise.
And even though he says he isn’t thinking about retiring from the game just yet, there is no doubt No. 20 will retire a Spur.