There are several constants on this planet that are undeniable: The Simpsons on television. Hot dogs cooking on the grill on the Fourth of July. And, as revealed Thursday, Manu Ginobili on the Spurs.
The Spurs’ longtime shooting guard announced via his Spanish-language personal blog that he will be returning for another season of NBA basketball. A few days later, he confirmed that he is returning to play for San Antonio.
Happy to tell you guys that I'll be coming back to the Spurs for another season. #backhome— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) July 7, 2016
Marc Stein of ESPN indicated via Twitter that Ginobili, who has been in the NBA and with the Spurs since 2003, made the confirmation, and noted the Argentinian found it easier to return this season than last season.
Signing a new deal with San Antonio was always the obvious next step, but a few days ago, Herb Rudoy, Ginobili’s agent, told Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News that his client is expecting to get paid market value. McDonald noted on Twitter that the odds of Ginobili leaving the Spurs are "slimmer than slim," but it wasn't a sure thing if San Antonio low balls him in negotiations.
It appears the Spurs did not, because Ginobili is staying.
Ginobili, who will turn 39 on July 28, has appeared in 923 games for the Spurs. During his time in the league, he’s scored 12,950 points, including 555 over 58 games last season, his lowest since scoring 440 points in 34 games in 2011-2012. He did, however, miss multiple games this past season after being sidelined for a month following a surgery due to an injury he sustained against the New Orleans Pelicans on Feb. 3.
Ginobili was drafted in 1999 with the 57th overall selection and joined the Spurs for their championship 2003 season. Two seasons later he was named as an NBA All-Star and was a key postseason contributor to another Spurs NBA title. He added two more championships with San Antonio during his career, including the 2014 championship in which he played a significant role in winning.
There has been no doubt that Ginobili has slowed in recent years, and has accepted smaller roles for the Spurs. Last season he played 1,134 minutes, significantly lower than the previous three seasons in which he played 1,393 (2012-13), 1,550 (2013-14) and 1,587 (2014-15). In his prime, he regularly picked up 2,000 or more minutes each season.
Another season with the Spurs would no doubt see Ginobili continuing to be a contributor as he continues to pave his road to a future Hall of Fame enshrinement. Ginobili is just one of two players, along with Bill Bradley, to have won an NBA title, a Euroleague title and an Olympic gold medal.