Originally posted on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 3/22/13
The talk this season for the San Antonio Spurs' upcoming offseason has mainly been about Tiago Splitter. He's a free agent this season and his improving play has earned him the attention for it. The team also has other free agents such as Manu Ginobili and Stephen Jackson, but they've been seen as players who'll return with a discount. While it's believed they both won't earn what they're earning right now, it was still a shock to learn from an Argentinean website, Ole, that the Spurs are preparing to offer Ginobili a new contract. In fact, this rumored deal is believed to be for three years. H/T Pounding The Rock. At 35 (Ginobili) understands the game better than ever and he still dunks, from time to time, but he knows the end of his career is nearing. "I want to play two more years, minimum," Ginobili said when asked about his future. His contract expires after this season and then it's time to start the negotiations. He's the highest paid Spur this season, with Parker ranking second and Duncan in a surprising fourth place after Stephen Jackson. How much could Ginobili get in the open market as a free agent? The Spurs' front office doesn't even want to think about that and is trying to get ahead of the game by planning to offer a three year deal. It looks like number 20 will wear Silver and Black until 2016... The news of a contract extension for Ginobili at this time comes as a surprise since it'll most likely be the postseason where Ginobili's current value is determined, especially with him being the highest paid player on the team. The most shocking part is the length of the contract. As the article states, GInobili's deal would eclipse the length of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker's current contracts. Duncan has stated he could play for a few more years with his body feeling healthy, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll test that out. Many fans believe that if the Spurs were to win a title before his contract expires, he may go out on a high note like David Robinson did. If that happens, the Spurs keeping Ginobili would seem useless as they probably wouldn't be seen as legitimate contenders without the Big Fundamental in the frontcourt. The other interesting part of the article from Ole seems to be that the author is implying a team may swoop in and offer Ginobili a huge deal that the Spurs wouldn't think about matching. We know Ginobili is all about winning and contenders in the NBA will be over the salary cap. This means that they'll only have the Mid-Level Exception to offer him and it's likely the Spurs would match or offer him a bit more than what that will be. The teams that may try to pry Ginobili from the Spurs with cap room are teams that mostly will be rebuilding and will have no need for Manu to be on the team at this point of his career with a big contract. It's also important to note the original article offers no credible source or a source at all. It'd be out of character for the Spurs to jump in out of no where and try to secure a player who would be around 37 or 38 years old at the end of the deal and who's had an injury prone history for an extension at this point of his career. If the team is waiting to see what Tiago Splitter brings to the table in the playoffs before making an offer for an extension, it wouldn't make sense to make Ginobili a priority at this point. Manu may be back with the Spurs next season and beyond, but his worth will be determined with a full season under his belt and his contributions in the playoffs.
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