The Spurs are still paying Tim Duncan, who retired in 2016.
It seems they’ll also give Manu Ginobili, who retired this summer, a similar golden parachute.
Duncan will earn $1,881,250 this season, the final installment of his three years of post-retirement income. When he retired, Duncan had one season remaining on his contract with a $6,393,750 salary. San Antonio didn’t have to pay him that money. Duncan wasn’t coming to work anymore. But the Spurs graciously allowed the all-time great to receive all but $750,000 of his remaining salary and stretched the payments over three years. That money still counted against the cap and was paid despite San Antonio trying to clear cap space in both 2016 and 2017.
The Spurs waived Ginobili yesterday, and no word has emerged on a buyout amount. He was due $2.5 million this season.
Based on the process and Duncan precedent, it seems highly likely Ginobili will continue to draw paychecks from San Antonio.
The Spurs would do well to pay Ginobili all his money this season, whether it’s the full $2.5 million or a negotiated reduced amount. They’re already over the cap and still below the luxury-tax line, so there’s minimal flexibility harm. The only other option – stretching Ginobili’s payments into equal thirds over the next three seasons – could interfere with roster building in future years.
Of course, the other option was getting Ginobili removed from the books entirely. But it seems that route has passed with waiving him.
San Antonio wants to treat its legends well, and that means paying them more than necessary – even with that money counting toward the cap as the Spurs transition into their next era.