JULY 20TH, 12:06pm: The deal is official, the team announced via press release. Since it indeed looks like Ginobili is going into the room exception, San Antonio will be limited to giving the minimum salary to outside free agents.
JULY 7TH, 8:24am: Manu Ginobili will come back to the Spurs on a deal worth $5.7MM over two years, with a player option on year two, sources tell Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). Ginobili publicly announced Monday that he would return for 2015/16, and while it was thus expected that he would re-sign with San Antonio, the team and the Herb Rudoy client had yet to work out any terms. That $5.7MM figure would be slightly less than the full $5,754,630 two-year value of the room exception, but it’s quite possible that it’s because of rounding. Using the room exception would allow San Antonio to renounce Ginobili’s Bird rights and clear his $10.5MM cap hold to accommodate the team’s deals for LaMarcus Aldridge and others.
Ginobili wasn’t a safe bet to return, as conflicting reports about San Antonio’s confidence about his continued desire to play painted a cloudy picture. His role has gradually been shrinking, and he’s played fewer than 24 minutes a game each of the past four seasons. His 10.5 points and 22.7 minutes were his lowest per-game averages since he was a rookie, and he saw just 18.7 minutes per game in the playoffs. Still, Ginobili, who turns 38 next month, has no shortage of institutional knowledge, and his 16.2 PER shows he’s still fairly efficient when he’s on the floor.
The move helps San Antonio keep its core together amid a summer of momentous changes. Aldridge and David West are set to join the Spurs, who’ve agreed to trade Tiago Splitter to the Hawks. Still, the majority of the team’s five free agent agreements so far have been internal, as Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, just like Manu Ginobili, have agreed to re-sign. Tim Duncan, who’s also decided to put off retirement for at least another year, is expected to follow suit.