Manu Ginobili admits he thought he might retire after season


If the San Antonio Spurs had not decided to bring Manu Ginobili back, he might well be in Argentina right now trying to figure out what to do next with his life.

He wanted to come back. Turns out the Spurs wanted him back. But after the devastating NBA Finals loss by the Spurs, he wasn’t sure what the franchise had planned going forward. He wasn’t sure they wanted him back.

He confirmed to Mike Monroe of the Express-News that the idea he may retire crossed his mind after an eight-turnover Game 6 when the Spurs let the NBA title slip through their hands.

Ginobili acknowledged some dark days in the immediate aftermath of the NBA Finals, when he wondered if his desire to play could be at the same high level that has characterized his career…. He gave momentary consideration to retirement….

“After the Finals and after the first of July, I just wanted to hear from R.C. (Buford, Spurs GM) and (coach Gregg Popovich) what their plans were,” Ginobili said. “I wanted to hear if they wanted to keep the group together. You never know.

“R.C. said he wanted me back, and then there was nothing else to say. I was sure after the first talk that I was going to stay.”

The Spurs showed last season they are not too old to compete with the best, not with a good set of role players around them. They are going to take a couple more cracks at this thing.

That said, expect Ginobili’s role to shrink a little. He is capable of big games (see Game 5 of the Finals) but he’s not as consistent as he once was. That said, most nights he brings enough clever plays off the bench to really help the Spurs.

In the summer of 2015 Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker’s deals are up. That’s when the Spurs will start their rebuild. It is very likely when Ginobili retires. Maybe Duncan.

But for two more seasons, the Spurs are going to take a swing at it and see if they can take that one more step they were just short last season.

Report: Rockets will try to sign Alessandro Gentile next summer

Alessandro Gentile, Paulius Jankunas
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The Rockets tried signing Sergio Llull this summer, but he opted for a long-term extension with Real Madrid.

So, they’ll just turn to another player in their large chest of stashed draft picks – Alessandro Gentile.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Gentile, who was selected No. 53 in the 2014, is a 22-year-old wing for Armani Milano. He’s a good scorer, but he primarily works from mid-range – an area the Rockets eschew. He can get to the rim in Europe, but his subpar athleticism might hinder him in the NBA.

If Gentile comes stateside, he’ll face a steep learning curve. But he’s young enough and talented enough that he could develop into a rotation player.

Report: Hawks co-owner made more money by exposing Danny Ferry’s Luol Deng comments

Michael Gearon, Bruce Levenson
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A terribly kept secret: Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. wanted to get rid of general manager Danny Ferry.

Many believe that’s why Gearon made such a big deal about Ferry’s pejorative “African” comment about Luol Deng – that Gearon was more concerned about ousting Ferry than showing real concern over racism.

Gearon had another, no less sinister, reason to raise concern over Ferry’s remarks.

Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

While Gearon felt that Ferry, as he wrote in the June 2014 email to Levenson, “put the entire franchise in jeopardy,” Gearon also figured to benefit financially from a Sterling-esque fallout.

In the spring of 2014, Gearon was in the process of selling more of his interest in the team to Levenson and the partners he had sold to in September. The agreed-upon price for roughly a third of Gearon’s remaining shares valued the Hawks at approximately $450 million, according to reports from sources.

“We accept your offer to buy the remaining 31 million,” Gearon wrote in an email to Levenson on April 17, 2014. “Let me know next steps so we can keep this simple as you suggested without a bunch of lawyers and bankers.”

Approximately five weeks later — just a little more than a week before the fateful conference call — Steve Ballmer agreed to pay $2 billion for the Clippers, a record-smashing price that completely changed the assessed value of NBA franchises. Gearon firmly maintains he was acting out of the sincerity of his convictions to safeguard the franchise from the Sterling stench, but such a spectacle also allowed him to wiggle out of selling his shares at far below market value.

Gearon and his legal team later challenged the notion that the sell-down was bound by any sort of contractual obligation and that any papers were signed. Once the organization became involved in the investigation, the sale of the shares was postponed.

Arnovitz and Windhorst did an incredible amount of reporting here. I suggest you read the full piece, which includes much more background on the Gearon-Ferry rift.

Considering the Hawks sold for $850 million, Gearon definitely made more money than if he’d sold his shares at a $450 million valuation.

Did that motivate him? Probably, though it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Most likely, his actions were derived from at least three desires – making more money, ousting Ferry and combating racism. Parsing how much each contributed is much more difficult.

What Ferry said was racist, whether or not he was looking at more racism on the sheet of paper in front of him. His comments deserved punishment.

But if Gearon didn’t have incentive to use them for his own benefit, would we even know about them? How many other teams, with more functional front offices, would have kept similar remarks under wraps or just ignored them?