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.

Report: Raptors could get OG Anunoby back during Finals

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The Toronto Raptors are headed to the 2019 NBA Finals, and they are going to need every player on their roster if they want a chance at dethroning the Golden State Warriors.

Forward OG Anunoby has been out since early April after needing an emergency appendectomy. He has not played in the playoffs yet this season, but a new report says the Raptors may be hopeful he could return before the end of this final series.

Via Twitter:

Anunoby Is a useful second-year forward who plays hard on both ends of the floor. Toronto is going to have a hard time matching up with the Warriors defensively, whether Kevin Durant plays or not. Having Anunoby available would help Toronto be more switchable and more adept at taking on some of Golden State’s smaller lineups.

We don’t have a timetable for Anunoby’s potential return yet, but the way the Finals are spaced out (Game 1 is on Thursday, Game 2 is next Sunday) it could help get players healthy and ready.

That could be good news for Kawhi Leonard, who sat out several games this year simply to rest. Leonard has looked a little banged up through these playoffs, as has just about everyone else. The bad news for Toronto is that this time between games could also help the Warriors get Durant ready to play.

Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals is on Thursday at 6 p.m. PST in Canada.

Drake gave Nick Nurse another shoulder rub (VIDEO)

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People are already getting tired of Drake being a prominent figure in the storyline of the Toronto Raptors. They will have to just deal with it for now as Toronto is headed to the 2019 NBA Finals after beating the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night.

That said, Drake is actually an ambassador for the Raptors. Some folks seem to forget that.

There was a dust-up during the Eastern Conference Finals about Drake having given Raptors coach Nick Nurse a shoulder rub during Game 4. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer thought that fans shouldn’t be interacting with members of the coaching staff or players, but the Raptors didn’t seem to think it was that big a deal.

After the Raptors won on Saturday, Drake embraced Nurse yet again, playing off of the initial kerfuffle.

Via Twitter:

Get ready to see more Drake than you’ve ever wanted.

Watch Raptors fans celebrate Finals berth in streets of Toronto (VIDEO)

AP
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The Toronto Raptors are headed to their first NBA Finals in franchise history. Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry beat Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night in Game 6 to send them home and push Toronto into the final series of the year against the Golden State Warriors.

Raptors fans, who have been perennially disappointed by teams who were just good enough, naturally found themselves celebrating in the streets of Ontario. Videos of cars honking and people walking through the avenues surfaced on social media, with the whole thing looking like a big party.

Via Twitter:

The Raptors aren’t the most talented team in the Eastern Conference, but they did have the best player in the entire playoffs this season in Leonard. Coach Nick Nurse figured out a way to stop the Bucks by collapsing on Antetokounmpo, and Milwaukee’s shooters went cold at just the wrong time. The rest of the Raptors bench finally gave Leonard some support, and Toronto was able to mount a comeback in the series to push themselves into the NBA finals.

For that, both Toronto and the Raptors fans deserve to be overjoyed with what’s happening right now.

Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals will be on Thursday at 6 p.m. PST in Toronto.

Bucks fans greet team, Giannis Antetokounmpo at Milwaukee airport (VIDEO)

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The Milwaukee Bucks season is over. Giannis Antetokounmpo and his supporting cast couldn’t get things done in Game 6 on Saturday night against the Toronto Raptors in Canada. Now it’s Kawhi Leonard who is heading to the 2019 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.

This season was a magical one for Milwaukee, one in which they took the No. 1 overall seed in the Eastern Conference and likely have the league’s MVP in Antetokounmpo.

As you might expect, Bucks fans are happy about that fact, and showed up to the Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport to greet their returning team.

Via Twitter:

It has to be nice for athletes to get this kind of treatment. Although some may want to just go home and languish in their defeat, the unwavering support of fanatics has to take the bite out of the sting, even if just a little bit.