What does the future hold for Manu Ginobili?

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Thumbnail image for ginobili_game.jpgOf all the relevant names involved in FREE AGENT FRENZY 2010, Manu Ginobili’s hardly gets the play it deserves. He’s a former All-Star, a two-time champion, and has posted six straight seasons with a PER of 22 or better (including this one, which is supposedly a down year). He’s 32 years old, and that can’t be ignored. But we’ve seen him swat bats and Durants, and make plenty of big plays.

There was a time where Ginobili had a legitimate claim as the second best shooting guard in the league and those days are gone. That doesn’t make him irrelevant, though, and neither shoot the rather substantial shadow cast by LeBron, Wade, and Bosh.

Ginobili’s impending free agency does bring his future with the Spurs into question, though, particularly due to the team’s reluctance to sign him to an extension. Manu has been absolutely pivotal for the franchise over the years, but the time may be coming where it makes sense for Ginobili and the Spurs to part ways. That’s a shame.

Not quite as much of a shame as this report from SLAM Online, though:

Marca journalist Ramon Trecet confirmed via his Twitter
that Real Madrid has strong interest in signing Manu Ginobili next
season. The 32-year-old played for Ettore Messina, now Real Madrid’s
head coach, during his stint with Virtus Bologna from 2000-2002. It’s
rumored the club may offer Ginobili $10 million Euros, or roughly $13.5
million US dollars — much more than the $10.7 million the Spurs are
paying him this season.

The possible lockout in 2011-2012 has put every NBA player’s finances on alert, and that could be serious motivation for Ginobili to play for Madrid next season. The Spurs have always been the center of Manu’s NBA universe, and if San Antonio decides to go in another direction, is the allure of playing for the top league in the world enough of an allure for an aging Ginobili?

Could be. Manu is nothing if not a fierce competitor, and I’m sure he would prefer NBA-level competition compared to that in Europe. It should be interesting to see whether or not this rumor actually has legs to it, but the working components — Ginobili’s situation, the lockout, the future of the Spurs — all seem to make sense.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.

PBT Extra: What does Kyrie Irving trade mean for LeBron James?

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In the end, the entire Kyrie Irving blockbuster trade was about LeBron James. It started because Kyrie Irving wanted out of LeBron’s enormous shadow. Cleveland went with this trade because Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder help them win now, and whatever LeBron decides to do next summer the Brooklyn pick (and maybe Ante Zizic) helps them build for the future.

But what does this trade mean to LeBron James?

Honestly, it doesn’t change much. That’s what I get into in this latest PBT Extra. LeBron is leaving his options open, but maybe this deal could help Cleveland keep him if it makes them more competitive with the Warriors.

Rumor: Young Bulls ‘can’t stand’ Dwyane Wade

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After a loss last January, Dwyane Wade (in conjunction with since-traded Jimmy Butler) lashed out at his Bulls teammates for not caring enough. Those younger players didn’t receive the message gratefully, questioning why Wade didn’t practice more.

The simple answer: Wade is 35, and he and his team are better served if he saves himself for games. But Wade also should have known his schedule left him ill-suited to criticize harder-working teammates.

The whole saga exposed the inherent tension that occurs when an accomplished veteran with declining skills is thrust into a leadership position on a mediocre team.

Consider that backdrop as Wade and Chicago dance around a buyout.

Nick Friedell on ESPN discussing Wade getting bought out:

This is inevitable. It’s coming. It’s a matter of when, not if.

But right now, guys, it’s just kind of a staring contest. Everybody’s looking at each other saying, “OK, how much money are you willing to give up?”

And Gar Forman, the Bulls’ GM, at summer league, said, “Oh, we’re not having conversations.” I don’t think that’s the case. I think Dwyane’s agents and the Bulls are wanting to get this thing done.

But I’d really be surprised if it happened before the season. I still think it’s more likely that it’ll happen probably somewhere in December or January.

But this is a divorce that’s going to happen. It’s just going to take some time.

The young players on the Bulls really can’t stand Dwyane, and it’s the little secret in Chicago. They have had enough.

Wade’s January criticism was reportedly particularly directed at Nikola Mirotic and Michael Carter-Williams, neither of whom are on the roster. (Mirotic, a restricted free agent, will likely return.) Even if Wade’s comments cast a wider net, Jerian Grant, Paul Zipser, Denzel Valentine, Bobby Portis and Cristiano Felicio are the only young players still on the team from that time. None of those players deserve much influence in how the franchise operates.

Still, no matter what the young players want, it’s clear Wade no longer fits on a rebuilding Chicago. They might get their wish.

Wade is set to earn $23.8 million in the final season of an expiring contract. That salary could prove useful in a bigger trade.

If bought out, Wade would count as dead money against Chicago’s cap at his buyout amount. They Bulls should obviously be amenable if he sacrifices enough, but a small discount doesn’t justify locking into that money rather than having a trade chip available.

If Chicago is deep into the cellar as expected after the trade deadline, a buyout would be completely logical then. Maybe the Bulls even assess the trade market sooner and conclude Wade’s huge expiring contract won’t facilitate a trade.

It’s easy to see a buyout happening eventually. In the meantime, Wade and his younger teammates will just have to get along. I trust Wade’s professionalism to make this situation at least tenable, but Fred Hoiberg might have his hands full building cooperation with all the people involved.

Spurs sign undrafted former Virginia guard London Perrantes

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) The San Antonio Spurs have signed guard London Perrantes.

Michael Scott of Basketball Insiders:

The 22-year-old Perrantes wasn’t drafted out of Virginia this year but made summer league appearances for the Miami Heat in Las Vegas and Orlando.

The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 10 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds and 1.5 steals in the MGM Resorts Summer League. He averaged 11.3 points, 4.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals in Orlando summer league action.

Perrantes set school career records at Virginia with 138 games and 4,425 minutes. He averaged 12.7 points, 3.8 assists and 3 rebounds during his senior season. He made 40.9 percent of his career 3-point attempts (211 of 516).