Manu Ginobili seems to indicate that if Tim Duncan returns to Spurs, he will too

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Immediately after the Spurs were eliminated from the postseason in seven games by the Clippers, questions arose about the future of the franchise.

Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are both unrestricted free agents, and while it would be difficult to see them leaving to play somewhere else under any set of circumstances, retirement remains a real possibility for each.

Somewhat understandably, the two weren’t ready to commit to anything right after a devastating loss that ended their season somewhat unexpectedly. But in the days that followed, Ginobili penned a piece that seemed to indicate he might be ready to hang ’em up, if not for the sense of commitment he feels to Duncan, Gregg Popovich and the rest of the Spurs franchise.

From Manu Giobili at canchallena.com (translated from Spanish to English):

Pop said he wanted us to Tim and me in next season. They are words that make me the most difficult things. The truth is that if the franchise had said they did not want me or it was time to rebuild and wanted a younger team, I would have greatly facilitated the task. You may have done a little hurt because even though one is on the ledge, falling just want to not give you the push. So he had hurt a little but it had facilitated the decision. He went backwards, these words help you in the emotional, in confidence, feeling, but I’m not in a time when I need the job.Bypasses feel that if I want to follow, but if you really define feel like doing and get into all this bustle.

In the team meeting I had a couple of nice conversations with Pop and Tim, because we are the ones who are in this particular situation a little, but what he said Pop has made clear what his idea. Well … Tim chatted with some of the possibilities and it’s like we’re on the same page saying we want to wait a little. We need time, see what happens, how we feel, what our families say. Our body is not the same, though in his case it is not noticeable. But other things start to happen mind. …

I do not feel that San Antonio can feel a blow by the departure of some of us. If I were preparing a total reconstruction … it comes and goes Pop another coach Tim retires, Tony does not play anymore. That would change the situation much. I understand it’s time to change things on the computer, or the appearance of the whole and understandably so. But if Pop continues and Tim can follow, everything is different. Because one would have less commitment to colleagues and everything. I guess we’ll have a little talk with Tim, who seems to be on the same ledge as me. We’ll see where the wind blows.

The translation is a little rough, but there are two things Ginobili seems to make clear.

The first is that he’d be ready to retire of the organization simply told him that it was ready to rebuild, and go in a different direction. The second, and perhaps most important, is that he seems to feel a strong sense of loyalty to his teammates and his head coach, and if they all return — Duncan especially, because Popovich and Tony Parker are still under contract — then Ginobili would be hard-pressed to choose to do otherwise.

Report: Magic’s search firm inquiring about Larry Bird

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Larry Bird resigned as Pacers president.

Not just today, but also in 2012. A year later, he was again running a front office (Indiana’s).

Could he make an even quicker leap back into NBA team presidency – with the Magic?

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

This strikes me as more as Orlando’s search firm trying to prove its usefulness than a viable option.

Whether they’re trying to generate excitement, getting used for leverage or actually serious, the Magic keep getting linked to big-name replacements for the fired Rob HenniganDoc Rivers, David Griffin and now Bird. If the Magic are willing to pay major money for name recognition, they could get plenty of people to at least listen. But I’m unconvinced about that spending.

It’d be a little weird for Bird to inherit Frank Vogel, whom Bird fired as the Pacers’ coach. But Bird did everything he could to show that was more about seeking change than losing faith in Vogel.

Report: Larry Bird stepping down as Pacers president

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Larry Bird put his stamp on the Pacers in the last year –  firing Frank Vogel and trading for Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young to join hand-picked Monta Ellis and Myles Turner as Paul George‘s supporting cast on an up-tempo, offensively dynamic team.

The plan fell flat.

Indiana played at a below-average pace and produced a middling offense. The Pacers got swept by the Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs.

Now, Indiana’s uncertain future – with Paul George a year from free agency and the Lakers courting – gets even more chaotic.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Bird had already resigned once as Pacers president, in 2012. He returned the following year.

Bird’s patience and pain tolerance for the job due to lingering back issues from his playing days has long seemed to waver. I wouldn’t write him off for good.

Indiana promoted Kevin Pritchard in 2012, when Bird previously stepped down. Pritchard previously worked as the Trail Blazers’ general manager, and he’s a qualified replacement.

The work begins immediately with a decision on George. If he doesn’t make an All-NBA team, the Pacers won’t gain as much financial advantage in his contract offer. That could open the door to a trade and rebuilding around Turner — or making a last-ditch push to convince George he can win in Indiana.

Report: Clippers expect Chris Paul to re-sign

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Chris Paul reportedly verbally committed months ago to re-sign with the Clippers. There have been mixed signals about Blake Griffin‘s intention to re-sign.

But they can’t formalize the deals until July, and the Clippers are now one game from another demoralizing first-round exit.

Where do they stand now?

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

Sources close to the Clippers say that they expect Paul to re-sign with the Clippers. He’ll be eligible for a five-year contract in excess of $200 million. Griffin’s return is less certain, sources say. This summer is his first foray into unrestricted free agency. Given his snakebitten tenure with the team and the possibility of another early exit, the prospect of exploring what’s out there will be alluring. One premise volunteered in good humor suggests that Paul is more likely to take a slew of meetings in a public process but ultimately re-sign with the Clippers, while Griffin is more likely to mull the decision privately under the guise of night, but announce he’ll be playing elsewhere in 2017-18.

Clippers president/coach Doc Rivers has made clear his desire to re-sign Paul and Griffin, and the playoffs won’t change that. This is the right call. It’s so difficult to assemble a team this good, the Clippers shouldn’t throw it away for the sake of change. Just because the Clippers haven’t gotten the breaks in previous seasons doesn’t mean they won’t get the breaks in future seasons.

But Paul and Griffin – and J.J. Redick, who’ll also be an unrestricted free agent – will determine the franchise’s fate. If they want to leave, they’ll leave.

Can the Clippers lure them back? They apparently think they’ll keep Paul, but there’s an uncertain dynamic in L.A. that Arnovitz explores in great depth. I highly recommend reading his full piece.

Nike, Adidas, Under Armour pass on potential No. 1 pick Lonzo Ball

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NBA teams reportedly aren’t dinging potential No. 1 pick Lonzo Ball over all the wild stuff his dad says and does.

Shoe companies are apparently taking a different approach.

Darren Rovell of ESPN:

An endorsement deal with Nike, Under Armour or Adidas is not in the cards for Lonzo Ball.

Ball’s father LaVar confirmed that the three shoe and apparel companies informed him that they were not interested in doing a deal with his son. Sources with the three companies told ESPN.com that they indeed were moving on.

In his meetings with the three, LaVar insisted that the company license his upstart Big Baller Brand from him. He also showed the companies a shoe prototype that he hoped would be Lonzo’s first shoe.

“We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,” LaVar told ESPN. “We’re looking for co-branding, a true partner. But they’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model. But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either.”

“Just imagine how rich Tiger (Woods), Kobe (Bryant), Serena (Williams), (Michael) Jordan and LeBron (James) would have been if they dared to do their own thing,” LaVar said. “No one owned their own brand before they turned pro. We do and I have three sons so it’s that much more valuable.”

Is there more upside in this approach? Yeah, I guess.

But the traditional shoe companies bring valuable infrastructure and experience. There’s value in forfeiting upside for those resources. Lonzo Ball, who has yet to play in the NBA, is also missing out on guaranteed life-changing money.

On the risk-reward curve, this seems like a mistake.