Ball Don't Lie

Manu Ginobili returns to the San Antonio Spurs for a rate that is passable for both sides

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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Manu Ginobili also had issues choosing which rim to shoot at during the Finals (Getty Images)

He’s a legend, and there’s always the very good chance a summer off could heal what ails future Basketball Hall of Famer Manu Ginobili, but doesn’t $7 million a year seem like quite a bit for Ginobili’s talents, at this point in his career?

That’s what Manu is set to make this year and next with the San Antonio Spurs, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Though the figure is just a tick over the NBA’s average salary, for a remarkable player, it’s fair to wonder if the Spurs maybe overpaid a bit, even while getting a hometown discount from Manu.

Fair to wonder, if not entirely conclude.

It wasn’t as if the Spurs were doing anything with that cap space. Ginobili was never going to retire, after becoming a free agent, and the team’s contract extension for Tiago Splitter set the “we’re bringin’ ‘em all back!”-tone for the summer. The Spurs will be just about capped out, and they’re likely working with no plans to use the amnesty clause on Matt Bonner. By delaying the official signing of Ginobili and Splitter until after the team shops a bit more, they can still utilize the mid-level exception despite technically being under the salary cap. Sound moves, all. These are your defending Western Conference champs, moving forward.

It’s fair to worry about Manu’s contributions, moving forward. The reserve guard will turn 36 later this month, and if you excuse his masterful 24-point, 10-assist outing in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, he shot just 38 percent from the field during the playoffs, while racking up a team-leading 2.6 turnovers a game in the postseason spread out over just 26.7 minutes per contest. Manu has always relied on skill and savvy just as much as he’s banked on his significant quickness and athleticism, but having the extra oomph on that step-back jumper or drive never hurt. And Ginobili shot just 30 percent from long range during the postseason, often having to force bombs over longer, quicker defenders.

Still, Ginobili will be returning to play two years for as much money as he made in total during 2012-13, in a system he knows inside-out, for a city that adores him. It might be a pricey return, but it’s a necessary one for team, player, and community.

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