Despite hitting free agency at the end of this season, no one is mentioning Manu Ginobili in links with other teams except for the San Antonio Spurs, because hardly anyone thinks there’s a chance he’ll end up playing anywhere else.
Ginobili went through his worst season since his rookie year in 2012-2013, averaging 11.8 points while shooting 42.5% from the field, as his per 36 minutes points per game dropped below 20 for the first time since the 2005-2006 season.
Being 35 and well past his prime hasn’t stopped him from being the team’s highest paid player last season, making $14.1 million last season. He’s not going to make anything close to that anywhere else, and he won’t be making that kind of money for the Spurs either. He has been pretty much the same in production through the postseason, but shooting worse: 38.3% from the field, and not a lot to be proud of besides his huge game-winning three point shot against the Golden State Warriors.
There’s also the option of retirement. After all, he has been injured this season and maybe at some point, it’s getting harder and harder trying to be excellent when your body doesn’t allow you to anymore. Ginobili has been in the NBA since 2002, and had a successful career in Europe before that, not to mention his achievements with the Argentine national team over the years. At some point, maybe enough is enough.
I’m not planning on retiring. There are some days, you’re depressed because you’re hurt and you want to say, ‘The hell with that. But I love doing this a lot. Hopefully it’s going to be here.
Maybe it’ll be about winning, or not winning the NBA title. Hunger sometimes keeps a player longer in the league, although the Spurs have also been about remaining a unified group, besides their constant pursuit of another title ring that has eluded them since 2007. Ginobili isn’t going to get better, but as long as he wants to play, the Spurs will find the money and place for him on the team, even if he’s not going to be able to give them much anymore.