Even then, retirement remained on his mind.
He wasn’t sure that he would ever actually play the second year of that deal. Because Manu struggled so badly last season, he thought seriously about retirement. But with the way Manu is playing now, he told me last week, he’s pretty sure we’re going to see him again next season.
The 36-year-old Ginobili has come back strong, averaging 12.5 points on 47 percent shooting and 4.4 assists in 23.1 minutes per game. San Antonio’s already solid offense (104.0 points per 100 possessions) rises to elite levels when he plays (114.4).
It really seems the Spurs are geared to making title runs this year and next. Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard – and role players Danny Green and Marco Belinelli – have contracts that expire after next season.
Somehow, San Antonio is 54-16 and holds the NBA’s best record. Anyone who thought they’d be too old this season, including Ginobili, has been proven wrong. This team can absolutely win the 2014 championship.
Will the Spurs finally be too old in 2014-15? Maybe, but as this season showed, it’s worth everyone coming back one more year to find out.