Manu Ginobili gives Spurs slight discount to stick around

USA TODAY Sports

Ginobili's new contact with the Spurs may be less of a discount than some initially expected, but that's the price of allowing a team legend to age gracefully.

The San Antonio Spurs, as expected, brought back Manu Ginobili, agreeing to a two-year, $14 million contract that will keep him with the franchise until the end of the 2014-15 season.

Ginobili is probably not going to be a $7 million/year player for the next two years, but this contract was the price of doing business with a franchise legend that's declining. Paying Ginobili his true market value may have been seen as disrespectful to someone who helped the team win championships in the past. It would be easy to say that human emotions shouldn't come into play in contract negotiations, but it's just not feasible. This deal is just like the one Kevin Garnett signed with Boston a couple years ago and it'll likely be just like any new deal Kobe Bryant signs with the Lakers after his massive contract ends. The Spurs overpaid slightly to allow one of their legends to stay with the team that made him so.

The trick is figuring out the sweet spot that acknowledges a player's decline while not disrespecting him. Ginobili's number ended up being less than Garnett's and will surely be less than Bryant's because he's not THE face of the franchise. He was the second- or third-best player on the Spurs for many years, but has been worse than that in the last couple years. He still has value, of course, but he's clearly not as important as he used to be. A contract that pays him a little more than the average salary acknowledges his age while still valuing him at a higher level than any other mid-level player.

The Spurs now have an interesting cap situation on their hands. Even with new deals for Ginobili and Tiago Splitter, the Spurs are slightly under the cap. That normally would mean they lose the ability to use the full mid-level exception and could only use the Room mid-Level exception that starts at $2.652 million, which wouldn't be enough to sign an impact player. However, the Spurs can get around that by waiting to officially sign Splitter and Ginobili until after they find someone for the full mid-level exception. The cap holds of Ginobili and Splitter would keep the Spurs above the $58.5 million salary cap number, giving them access to the mid-level exception. San Antonio could use the mid-level on someone like Andrei Kirilenko, then give Splitter and Ginobili their new deals and still stay below the $71.6 million luxury tax.

In layman's terms, the Spurs will be able to keep their two biggest free agents and add another useful piece quickly. Depending on who that additional useful piece ends up being, it's been a fine offseason in San Antonio.

GRADE: B.

More from SB Nation:

The NBA's top 90 free agents | All NBA free agency news

Dwight Howard finishes meetings, will decide soon

Kings pull offer to Andre Iguodala

Flannery: Tanking and rebuilding | Ziller: When it's OK to overpay

Grading the NBA free-agent deals

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.