Tuesday’s Game 5 was potentially Manu Ginobili’s last game for the San Antonio Spurs.
Each time Manu Ginobili entered Game 4 of the San Antonio Spurs’ first-round series with the Golden State Warriors, he received a warmer reception than usual — almost a standing ovation. Fans knew it was potentially his final game at the AT&T Center, so they greeted him for maybe the last time.
Well, with Tuesday’s loss in Game 5, and the Spurs now out of the postseason, Ginobili’s NBA future sits in question. It’s the same situation from the 2017 postseason, as fans greeted him for what they felt was the last time, only for the Argentinian star to return for a 16th year.
After Game 5, according to NBA.com, Ginobili spoke on his playing future. Similar to 2016-17, he said a few months will be needed to decide on a 17th season.
“As I’ve done it the last two or three seasons, I’ll sit back, relax and, after two or three months, see if I feel retired or not,” Ginobili said. “I like to let it season a little bit, to see how I feel. Don’t expect news until July, probably. I just don’t know. I let a month, two months go by and see how I feel. I’m not the type of guy who makes decisions on the fly, and when you are upset, hurt or whatever.”
"Keep going, okay? Why not?"
Manu Ginobili & Steve Kerr share a special moment after the Warriors' win over the Spurs. pic.twitter.com/fuFrDh3nt5
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 25, 2018
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This comes as no surprise, given Ginobili’s back-and-forth thoughts on retirement these past few years. He’s at age 40, and will be 41 for the 2018-19 season, a point that most players do not reach in the NBA, retiring in their late 30s.
Ginobili proved productive in what potentially was his final run, though, posting a 43 percent shooting mark and 33 percent from 3-point range. His 8.9 points came in 20 minutes per game, both of which were improvements from 2016-17.
If Ginobili returns, he would fill a similar if not identical role on the Spurs bench as the eighth or ninth man. It depends on other offseason transactions, but also, is the same spot he has held for the past four years.
Will Ginobili come back? Spurs fans might need to wait until the summer, potentially after free-agent market opens on July 1. If he does rejoin the roster, it will be for (maybe) one last dose of “Manu Magic.”