Saying goodbye to legendary players is difficult, but if the San Antonio Spurs want a shot at adding quality players this offseason, which means max-level free agents, Manu Ginobili can’t be a part of their plans, hoping he retires instead of re-sign.
In an excellent article about the offseason moves, salary cap considerations and potential targets, Mike Monroe (San Antonio Express) makes it quite clear how big this offseason is for the Spurs, who are still in that usual realm of having one last shot of winning the title (it’s been that last shot for almost a decade) with the Duncan-Ginobili-Parker group, with other complications in the form of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green needing new contracts rising.
To be painfully brutal? Unless Ginobili takes a minimum salary deal, it’s going to be difficult. Leonard, even with a max extension, is going to be only a $7.2 million cap hit next season. Together with Danny Green that means about $15 million. Tim Duncan might cost $6 million to hold on to. The Spurs currently have $34.2 million on their salary cap heading into next season, but they enter the $58-60 million easily with only the major re-signings.
If they trade Tiago Splitter, which is very likely considering their free agency targets are most likely Marc Gasol (very hard to believe he’ll leave the Grizzlies) and LaMarcus Aldridge, then moving Splitter and his $8.5 million cap hit makes a lot of sense, and opens up just about enough cap space to make that signing.
However, it’s probably better for Ginobili to be off that list as well. Sure, he can give the Spurs some brilliant moments off the bench, but it’s getting more and more difficult for him to deliver on a consistent basis. Older and with more and more injuries for his aging body to cope with, Ginobili asking for a salary of around $4-5 million a season is an obstacle to greatness, not a helpful partner.