Imagining the San Antonio Spurs without Manu Ginobili is almost sacrilegious to the few fans of arguably the NBA‘s least popular team. However, Spurs fans are going to have to get used to it if the team is smart and that’s coming from a guy wearing a Ginobili jersey while writing this. Ginbobili has never been able to stay healthy and his injury-proneness is getting worse as he ages. Thus, the Spurs have no choice but to let him walk after his contract expires at the end of this season.
I know, Spurs fans; it feels horrible to even think about it, but it’s not optional at this point. Ginobili can make some great plays when he’s on the floor, but that’s becoming less and less often and the team simply can’t afford to keep paying him over $14 million per year to sit on the sidelines in street clothes for what seems like a majority of the time.
Fortunately, the Spurs have enough rising young stars to absorb the blow of losing Ginobili, who probably won’t re-sign for significantly less money. Hopefully he does so San Antonio can afford to keep him, but it’s highly unlikely. Granted he does leave, youngsters like Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green will be forced to pick up the slack on both ends of the floor. Gary Neal has proven he can make the tough (and sometimes seemingly impossible) shot, which has been a staple of Ginobili’s for a long time in San Antonio. Trust me, if there’s a coach who can get a team to adjust after losing a player like Ginobili, it’s Gregg Popovich.
It stinks all the way around. Spurs fans love Ginobili, and for good reason–he helped bring championships to San Antonio. However, all good things must come to an end and it appears Ginobili’s time with the Spurs is almost up.