Manu Ginobili talked this year as if he’d accepted that time was passing. It’s so unlike the player Gregg Popovich once called “the most aggressive player” he’d ever seen to be waxing philosophical, talking about sunsets. Of course, Ginobili is also one of the smartest guys in the NBA — and he knows what the clock says. After the Spurs too-hasty exit from the 2015 playoffs, Ginobili and his senior partner, Tim Duncan, will have more time than usual to consider their respective futures. (They often play into June.) And it sounds like Ginobili’s and Duncan’s futures are going to be as linked as their pasts have been.
Ginobili has said that Popovich wants him and Duncan back — that any rebuilding, such as it is, can wait. But Ginobili, it seems clear, will only return if Duncan also returns. Ginobili told canchallena.com he would “have a little talk with Tim, who seems to be on the same ledge as me.” So Duncan’s decision will drive Ginobili’s decision, two yeses or two nos. And once again No. 21 will influence what No. 20 does on the court, before both those numbers are raised to the San Antonio rafters. Ginobili will turn 38 in July. Duncan just turned 39. Ginobili clearly doesn’t want to be the oldest guy on the team!