As LeBron James and the Cavaliers celebrated Cleveland’s first championship in 52 years, the NBA’s off-season began in earnest with the New York Knicks welcoming Derrick Rose to their roster. The Knicks sent Cubano Robin Lopez and Spaniard Jose Calderon, along with guard Jerian Grant, to Chicago in exchange for the former MVP, giving the Big Apple its own iteration of the big three.
For hoops fans in South Texas and South America, the big news centered on the possible return of Argentine icon Manu Ginobili to the San Antonio Spurs. According to The Vertical, Ginobili opted out of his $2.9 million player option for the upcoming season, to possibly return to the Spurs under a new contract. The four-time NBA champion is “leaning toward” another title run with the Spurs, a fifth for the franchise, which is referred to in San Antonio as the “Race for Seis.”
Despite averaging a career-low in minutes, Ginobili was a solid contributor for the Spurs last season, posting nine points, three assists, and two rebounds off the bench. Ginobili turns 39 next month, as he gears up for the Olympics in Rio, which should remain a concern for Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Despite the fact that San Antonio’s success no longer hinges on Ginobili’s health, he remains a key cog for their second unit.
With no contract currently in place, Knicks fan John Leguizamo took to Twitter to recruit Manu.
Although a lineup featuring Rose and Ginobili in the backcourt, with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis in the frontcourt, is no doubt intriguing, Manu will ultimately retire as a Spur. After setting the franchise mark for a regular season campaign, only to fall in the second-round of the playoffs, Ginobili’s return to San Antonio makes sense. Olympic glory in Rio could be a nice precursor to Manu’s final Race for Seis.