That does not mean he is off, back to live the good life in Buenos Aries. No, he is staying around San Antonio — and will be around to help the Spurs, he wrote in the Argentine newspaper La Nacion, hat tip Tom Osborne of the San Antonio Express-News.
“What I made clear to Pop is that it’s not ‘Ciao, I’m leaving,’ ” he wrote. “My children have already started classes and while I’m in town I’ll be close to the team and the franchise. Maybe I cannot help (anymore) by taking a (charge) or (with a steal) or something, but I’ll try to add in what I can. I have a great appreciation for my teammates, for the staff and all the people on the team and I want it to go as well as possible. If I can help from the outside, I will do it with pleasure.”
The other interesting note from the column: While he didn’t make it official until Monday, he played all of last season knowing it would be his last.
“I never externalized it because there was no sense limiting my options. I wanted to leave the door open for doubts that changed my mind or that I still felt the physical and mental strength needed to face (another) season.”
Like a lot of athletes, he still loved the games, but the preparation needed to get his 41-year-old body ready for those games, and to recover from them, became too much.
You can be sure Popovich will turn to Ginobili — and his insane basketball IQ — to help guide the Spurs this season at points. It’s easy to envision Ginobili sitting down with DeMar DeRozan to talk about how he found spaces to work within the Spurs offense, how DeRozan can put himself in better positions. Ginobili, the fan favorite in San Antonio, will still have his place with the Spurs.