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Spurs to retire Manu Ginobili’s No. 20 in March

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The Spurs gave Manu Ginobili a great retirement gift – his 2018-19 salary.

Soon, they’ll honor him in another way.

Spurs release:

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they will retire Manu Ginobili’s No. 20 jersey on Thursday, March 28 when the Silver and Black host the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7:30 p.m. CDT. A special postgame ceremony honoring Ginobili will take place

I’m a little surprised this isn’t happening Jan. 14, when the Spurs host Tony Parker and the Hornets. But perhaps Ginobili has scheduling issues. It’s only truly important he is there.

Ginobili is one of the greatest Spurs of all-time. With Tim Duncan and Parker, Ginobili was instrumental in bringing San Antonio four championships. He was extremely productive, and his flair made him a fan favorite. This honor is very well-deserved.

Spurs waive Manu Ginobili, will likely continue paying him into retirement

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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.

Another guard down: Spurs’ Derrick White out indefinitely with plantar fascia tear

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San Antonio just cannot catch a break.

This summer Tony Parker left for Charlotte, but that was okay because Dejounte Murray had taken the point guard job from him last season and made strides over the summer, he was ready to lead the team now. Then Murray tore his ACL and is out for the season. That made Derrick White the starting point guard, until…

Gregg Popovich announced Friday that White will be out with a heel injury, although it is worse than that, it’s a left plantar fascia tear (a rip of the connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot). This is a non-surgical injury. Popovich said that White would be out 6-8 weeks, which is when he may be able to return to the court, although it can often take up to 12 weeks to get back to pre-injury form.

This is the latest in a rash of injuries to hit the Spurs’ backcourt. From Jeff McDonald at the San Antonio Express-News.

Over the last three exhibition games, the Spurs have seen each of their past three first-round draft picks succumb to injury, all of them guards. First it was Lonnie Walker IV, who tore meniscus in his right knee in a win over Detroit on Oct. 5, then Murray and now White.

“That’s three of our youngest, most talented, fastest kids,” coach Gregg Popovich said after another short-handed shootaround Friday morning at Orlando’s Amway Center. “We’ll have to deal with it.”

Bryn Forbes will now be the starting point guard, with Patty Mills getting a lot of time off the bench.

However, this preseason the Spurs have largely run the offense through DeMar DeRozan when the starters have been out on the court, DeRozan likely will take on more of the load now.

Still, this is a more significant setback for the Spurs than some fans realize. Murray was second-team NBA All-Defense last season and the Spurs were high on the improvements to his offensive game, they thought he was ready to make a leap. White had shown a lot of promise in Summer League and was seen as more of a quality guy off the bench, but the Spurs have a way of making those guys stand out… and now he’s out. Forbes is more score first (as is Mills) and Popovich doesn’t have Manu Ginobili to fall back on to run the offense anymore.

This is a lot of setbacks for the Spurs. Is this the season the playoff streak (21 years and counting) ends?

Manu Ginobili’s personal career highlight: Spurs title in 2014

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The 2014 Spurs — which won 62 regular season games, then got revenge on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals to win the franchise’s fifth title — played arguably the most beautiful ball-movement, sharply-executed basketball the league has ever seen. By the end of that season, the Spurs were a force of athleticism and high IQ players who just shredded opponents.

With the door officially being closed on San Antonio’s “big three” era after the retirement of Manu Ginobili, that is one team worth looking back on with pride. Ginobili does. He met with the media this weekend in San Antonio and was asked about the greatest highlight of his Hall of Fame career, and it was that team — and how it responded to the crushing loss to the Heat the season before in the Finals — that he talked about. Via ESPN:

“I was carrying a very heavy load in my bag for what happened the year before,” Ginobili said. “Being able to leave that aside, feel that I helped the team to accomplish that goal, was huge. A very important moment of my career. We did it with a great team, a team that played great in a fun way, altruistically. And I was already older. When I got here and we won the first championship, I didn’t appreciate it. I didn’t know what was going on, how hard it was. At 37, and after a couple of frustrating moments where we were very close, that was very fulfilling and a big joy.”

Watching Ginobili play was a joy. Talking to him as a media member was a joy, he was always gracious. The league will not be quite the same without him.

Manu Ginobili points to moment he knew NBA retirement was final

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Former San Antonio Spurs wing Manu Ginobili is done with the NBA. That much is for certain.

Ginobili addressed the media on Saturday, confirming his decision to remain retired and that last season would be his final in the Association. Speaking to reporters, Ginobili said that he needed to take a couple of weeks to gather himself after he announced his retirement before he answered questions and faced the media.

Most interestingly, Ginobili said there was one specific moment when he returned to the Spurs practice facility that confirmed to him that he wasn’t going to come back to play for San Antonio in 2018-19.

Upon arriving to the PF, Ginobili saw some of the younger Spurs players working out, yet didn’t feel any connection or motivation to wanting to do the same.

Via ESPN:

“I took last season mentally as my last season,” Ginobili said. “So every place I went, every situation, I kind of knew it was going to be the last one. But I left the door open, just in case. Slowly, the door started to close more. I couldn’t see my body going through that kind of grind again. I felt that I had a good season, that I left everything I had in that previous season both physically and mentally.

“When I came back here and I came to work out a little bit, to lift, bike or whatever, I saw Bryn [Forbes], I saw Dejounte [Murray], I saw some of the guys working out and preparing for the season. And I was so far from that. That’s when I said, ‘For sure, this is it.’ There was a little bit of that door opened, but it closed pretty quick. I couldn’t see me getting ready for another 82-game season, 65 in my case.”

Ginobili said that the decision would stand, and Coach Gregg Popovich of course was respectful of his wishes. Ginobili said Popovich tried to change his mind but only for a moment, “He briefly tried to convince me. He saw me very convinced. I guess he saw it right away. He respected my decision, of course, and we had a great talk.”

The 37-year-old Argentinian veteran said that one of his favorite moments from his career was the 2014 NBA championship, and that he would cherish memories from all over his 16-year NBA career.

Ginobili ends his run in San Antonio as a four-time NBA champion, two-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA recipient, and as the 2007-08 NBA Sixth Man of the Year.