Manu Ginobili has until Wednesday, June 23, to decide if he is going to pick up his $2.9 million player option for next season with the San Antonio Spurs. That could spark a big decision — does he want to play one more season, or retire and make the Rio Olympics his goodbye to basketball?
Tim Duncan faces a similar deadline and question on June 29.
Those contract deadlines are largely procedural. What either player decides this month does not necessarily signal their plans for next season.
For instance: Ginobili could opt in on Wednesday, then decide after the Olympics to retire from the NBA. He could opt out on Wednesday, then decide to re-sign another deal later in the summer.
Just because he opts in does not mean he plans to return for a 15th season. Likewise, a decision to opt out does not necessarily mean he plans to retire. Duncan faces an identical set of options.
That said, it would be better for the Spurs organization — and both men care deeply about the Spurs organization — to know their future status before free agency opens July 1. That is especially true in the case of Duncan, if he is not going to be back it impacts the guys they will need to go after to fill out a balanced roster this summer.
The Spurs will have other decisions to make this summer. Can they land a big time free agent? Boban Marjanovic is a restricted free agent this summer and will be near the top of the “he got paid how much?” list. Teams may try to overpay and poach Marjanovic, how much will San Antonio pay to keep him? Also, do the Spurs want David West back (yes), and at what price?
What Duncan and Ginobili choose to do could inform all those decisions. But those guys have the right to decide on their own timeline, not by when their contracts are up.