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.
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.
Nets fans post ‘missing’ posters of Ben Simmons before Game 3 (PHOTO)
Ben Simmons did not perform well in Game 1 against the Brooklyn Nets. The Philadelphia 76ers star posted a stat line of just eight points with seven rebounds, three blocks, and three steals.
More concerning was Simmons’ apparent lack of desire to shoot. He seemed to fade in the big moments of the game, and scorn came swiftly for him social media after the 76ers loss. Philly fans even booed the Sixers on the court, which angered Simmons.
But Game 3 is upon us, although Joel Embiid is not playing, and the series has shifted back to New York. As expected, fans in Brooklyn are doing their best to troll the Sixers.
We will see how Simmons responds after all of the back and forth about booing, not to mention his whole thing with Jared Dudley. If Simmons wants to be a star, now is the time to step up for his team with Embiid out.
Joel Embiid out with left knee soreness for Game 3 vs. Nets
The Philadelphia 76ers will be without Joel Embiid on Thursday night as they take on the Brooklyn Nets in Game 3 of their first round series.
Embiid is battling left knee soreness and although he had a statistically-important performance as the Sixers took Game 2, it was obvious he was in some kind of reduced state of ability.
Veteran center Greg Monroe will start in Embiid’s place, but it will be hard for the Sixers to match Embiid’s production. The Cameroonian star is Philadelphia’s best player, and the 76ers are a hot and cold team.
Not having Embiid on the floor will seriously alter how they respond to the spunky Nets, who already took Game 1 from the higher-seeded Sixers.
The fact that Embiid needs to rest is also drawing some ire from folks on social media. The question is why Embiid did not rest earlier in the series — or even the end of the regular season when he was in and out of the lineup — and prepare for the coming playoff run?
However things go on Thursday, folks around the league will have their eyes glued to the injury report to see updates on Embiid’s status.
Grizzlies’ Kyle Anderson undergoes thoracic outlet decompression surgery
For comparison, this is the same surgery the Lakers’ Brandon Ingram had.
Anderson is on a very reasonable contract, three years and $28 million remaining. He can be part of what is going to be built in Memphis going forward, but if they are tearing down and rebuilding — meaning a summer trade of Mike Conley — he could bring back assets in a trade.
Either way, he should be healthy and ready to go next summer.
Jerry West on NBA draft: ‘I don’t know how you could pass Zion Williamson’
A rumor started buzzing around NBA Twitter last week, a second-hand report that NBA legend and Clippers’ consultant Jerry West was praising Murray State guard Ja Morant, saying he would take him in front of the presumptive No. 1 pick Zion Williamson.
The source of that rumor: comedian Jeff Garlin, saying it on the Dan Patrick Show.
Jerry West himself went on the Dan Patrick show Thursday and shot that down saying “it Would Be Like Passing Jordan in the draft.”
Two players were picked in front Jordan in the 1984 Draft. The Houston Rockets took Hakeem Olajuwon, and while Jordan went on to be Jordan nobody can fault the Rockets for how this picked turned out — two titles and a Hall of Fame big man in your organization is an amazing draft.
The one everyone talks about was Portland at No. 2, when executive Stu Inman and coach Jack Ramsey decided they were set on the wing in Clyde Drexler and needed a big man, so they selected Sam Bowie out of Kentucky. Bowie might have had an excellent NBA career if injuries had not plagued him, but he was no Jordan. It’s the ultimate NBA cautionary tale — draft the best player on the board, not according to need.
Williamson is projected by teams as the best player on the board. By far. Even the Morant fans have him a clear second. Plus, Williamson comes in hugely popular and a brand unto himself — he will sell tickets and sponsorships. Not drafting him would be a stupid business decision, not to mention a basketball one.
Whoever lands second in next month’s draft lottery will do well with Morant. Whoever is third will likely get R.J. Barrett out of Duke and… let’s just say that’s where it gets interesting.