Manu Ginobili

Southwest Notes: Paul, Leonard, Evans, Pelicans

Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni provided an update on injured point guard Chris Paul, who has missed all but one game this season due to a bruised left knee. At this stage, D’Antoni feels his prized offseason addition is closer than he has been to a return (via ESPN’s Tim MacMahon).

“He’s probably rounding second and pretty close to third,” D’Antoni said of Paul’s estimated return. Once Paul is cleared for basketball activities, D’Antoni said that Paul needs “five days or so” of practice to get his endurance up to par. The Rockets have been fine without Paul, boasting an 8-3 record, tied for first with the defending champion Warriors.

“I just hope we can get him back quickly so we can start building on what we really have,” the Rockets coach added.

Paul averaged 18.1 PPG and 9.2 APG in 61 games for the Clippers last season. The nine-time All-Star joined Houston in an offseason trade, creating a dynamic one-two punch with last year’s Most Valuable Player runner-up, James Harden.

Check out other news in the Southwest Division:

Manu Ginobili Signs Two-Year Deal With Spurs

Manu Ginobili will return to the Spurs, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical. The veteran guard has signed a two-year, fully guaranteed deal worth $5MM.

The 40-year-old was a second-round pick by San Antonio way back in 1999. He came to the NBA in 2002 and has been an important part of the Spurs’ rotation ever since. He is a two-time All-Star and has been part of four NBA championship teams.

The Argentinian star has remained productive through his late 30s, averaging 7.5 points in 69 games last season and helping the Spurs reach the Western Conference finals.

The signing brings San Antonio to 17 players, three short of the maximum for training camp. The Spurs have 14 players with guaranteed money and one on a two-way contract.

Players Who Can Veto Trades In 2017/18

No-trade clauses are rare in the NBA, but one such provision has been the subject of much discussion so far in 2017, as Carmelo Anthony made use of his NTC to block the Knicks from sending him to an undesirable destination. For much of the offseason, Anthony was focused on joining the Rockets, but he eventually agreed to a deal that sent him to Oklahoma City.

Anthony is one of just two NBA players whose contract includes an explicit no-trade clause, but there are still several players each year who have the ability to veto trades. A player who re-signs with his previous team on a one-year contract – or a two-year deal with an option year – is given no-trade protection, and so is a player who signs an offer sheet and has that offer matched by his previous team. Players who accept qualifying offers after their rookie deals expire can also block deals, though no restricted free agents have signed their QOs so far this year.

Taking into account that list of criteria, here are the players who must give their consent if their teams want to trade them during the 2017/18 league year:

No-trade clauses

Players whose offer sheets were matched

  • Otto Porter (Wizards)
    • Note: Even with his consent, Porter cannot be traded to the Nets during the 2017/18 league year.

Players accepting qualifying offers

Players re-signing for one year (or two years including an option)

In addition to the players listed above who can veto trades through the 2017/18 league year, there’s another small handful of players who can’t be dealt under any circumstance until at least next July. The following players signed a Designated Veteran Extension this season, which precludes them from being traded for a full calendar year:

Information from Basketball Insiders and ESPN was used in the creation of this post.

Southwest Notes: Ginobili, Rockets, Noel

Manu Ginobili said the decision to return to the Spurs for his 16th season was not an easy one to make, Jeff McDonald of Spurs Nation relays.

“[Coach Gregg Popovich] told me that he wanted me to continue and he needed me on the team,” Ginobili said.“If he did not want me, it would have been easier for me.”

The future Hall of Famer added that he didn’t want to walk away while he could still play at a high level.

“I accepted because it is a great honor to be with such a franchise, at 40 years old, feeling important, with people who tell me that they love me and that I am still important to the team,” Ginobili wrote. “Everything I had in mind if I retired, I can postpone for another time. On the other hand, if I retired and took a year (off), I would not be able to compete again at 41.”

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Multiple sources tell Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link) that Daryl Morey and the Rockets‘ management team is not attempting to put together a group to buy the franchise. Leslie Alexander announced earlier this week that he is selling the team after 24 years of ownership.
  • Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News speculates that Nerlens Noel could end up signing a one-year deal with the Mavericks. Noel has yet to reach an agreement with the franchise and the scribe believes the center is searching for leverage, but Dallas’ ability to match any offer limits his negotiation power.
  • Brandon Paul, who signed a two-year deal with the Spurs this summer, is thrilled for the chance to play for the franchise, as he tells Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Paul played in Russia, Spain, and Turkey in addition to the G-League before landing his first NBA contract.

Spurs, Manu Ginobili Finalizing Agreement

The Spurs are finalizing the details on a new agreement with longtime guard Manu Ginobili, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Ginobili had considered the possibility of retirement, but appears poised to return for at least one more season. It will be his 16th in the NBA.Manu Ginobili vertical

Ginobili, who will turn 40 later this month, has been a Spur since the 2002/03 season, and continued to play a key role for the team last year. Although he set new career lows in several categories, including PPG (7.5), FG% (.390), and MPG (18.7), the Argentinian made 39.2% of his three-point attempts, and the Spurs had slightly better offensive and defensive numbers when he was on the court.

The Spurs hold Ginobili’s Bird rights, so the team won’t be limited in its ability to offer him a fair salary. While the former second-round pick won’t necessarily be in line for a big payday at this stage in his career based on his 2016/17 production, San Antonio has less than $100MM in team salary on its books for 2017/18, and has already used its full mid-level exception.

As such, the Spurs may be willing to overpay Ginobili a little to reward him for his performance with the franchise over the years, since doing so wouldn’t really limit the team’s spending flexibility. However, the club will also have to account for a new contract for Pau Gasol, who is expected to re-sign at some point.

Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks) and Tony Parker (Spurs) are the only players who have been on the same team’s NBA roster longer than Ginobili. Nowitzki has been a Maverick since 1998, while Parker joined the Spurs in 2001. Ginobili was technically drafted in 1999, but didn’t sign with the Spurs until 2002.

Ginobili is currently the second-oldest player in the NBA behind Vince Carter, who turned 40 earlier this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Rumors: Lowry, Ginobili, Teague, Sixers

In the wake of a report that cast some doubts on whether Kyle Lowry intends to re-sign with the Raptors, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News examines the point guard’s situation, suggesting that Lowry returning to Toronto is still the most likely outcome. However, Deveney pointed to a couple other teams as potential Lowry suitors.

Sources have indicated to Deveney that there’s a chance the Knicks will pursue Lowry, though if the 31-year-old wants to join a contending team, that may take New York out of the equation. According to Deveney, the Nuggets may be another team to watch, since they have cap room necessary to make a splash and could use a long-term solution at the point. They’ve also shown a willingness to go after impact players — I suggested last week that the Nuggets may be a good bet to pursue a free agent point guard.

Meanwhile, Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Jimmy Butler “has been in [Lowry’s] ear” about joining the Bulls since the two played together for Team USA. A Bulls source tells Cowley that Butler and Dwyane Wade would prefer to play with a point guard who can space the floor better than Rajon Rondo, and Lowry would certainly fit that bill. I don’t think the Bulls signing Lowry is a very realistic scenario, but I also didn’t expect the club to add Wade and Rondo a year ago, so we’ll see how the offseason plays out.

Here are a few other free agent notes from around the NBA:

  • Manu Ginobili, who is an unrestricted free agent this summer, has yet to make a final decision on his future. However, there have been positive indications that he’s leaning toward returning to the Spurs for another year, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
  • Pacers president Kevin Pritchard is mulling the possibility of having Lance Stephenson run the point in Indiana if the team embarks on a rebuild, tweets Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star. While Doyel doesn’t come out and say it, that wouldn’t be a good sign for Jeff Teague‘s odds of re-signing with the Pacers this offseason.
  • Speaking to reporters on Monday, Sixers president Bryan Colangelo downplayed the idea of the Sixers foraying into free agency much this summer, suggesting the club wants to maintain maximum flexibility for 2018, when its core is “more ready” (Twitter link via Derek Bodner).
  • Kincade Upstill of The Deseret News explores possible next steps for the Jazz if Gordon Hayward departs in free agency next month.

Western Rumors: Ginobili, Kings, Evans, Jazz

Spurs guard Manu Ginobili still hasn’t decided whether he’ll retire, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News relays via an interview with Ginobili’s brother conducted by NBA Para Todos. Sepo Ginobili said Manu is trying to decide whether he can still be effective player at age 40, a birthday he’ll reach on July 28. “If he can help and be useful to the team, he will continue,” Sepo said. Manu offered a vague timetable after the Spurs were swept by the Warriors in the Westen Conference finals, saying he would take “three weeks, four weeks, whatever” before he would make a final decision, Orsborn adds.

In other news around the Western Conference:

  • Despite dealing DeMarcus Cousins at the trade deadline, the Kings do not have a need at center as the draft approaches, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee. The Kings, who have the No. 5 and 10 picks  in the first round, drafted Willie Cauley-Stein and Georgios Papagiannis in the first round the past two seasons. They also have a solid veteran in Kosta Koufos on the roster but Cauley-Stein ought to be the starter next season, Jones continues. Cauley-Stein averaged 12.9 PPG and 8.1 RPG after the Cousins trade and can be the key to their interior defense, Jones adds.
  • Oklahoma State guard Jawun Evans could fill the Thunder’s need for a backup point, John Helsley of The Oklahoman writes. The Thunder hold the No. 21 overall pick and Evans excels in pick-and-rolls, though he lacks size and isn’t particularly atheltic, Helsley continues. Originally viewed as a second-round pick, Evans has moved into the first round in many mock drafts, Helsley adds.
  • Uncertainty over how free agency will play out complicates the Jazz’s draft decisions, as Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune explains. Small forward Gordon Hayward, point guard George Hill and shooting guard Joe Ingles will be on the market in July but the Jazz won’t know if they need to replace them. GM Dennis Lindsey believes the NBA should change that, as he told Jones. “I — and many league executives — would prefer free agency come before the draft,” Lindsey said. “Free agency both fills voids and creates holes, so I think we’d like some clarity before the draft.” Utah has two late first-rounders at No. 24 and 30.

West Notes: Hayward, Nuggets, Spurs

Does the success of the Warriors impact Gordon Hayward‘s fate? Randy Hollis of the Deseret News suggests as much, noting that the reality of living in Golden State’s shadow may slightly reduce the forward’s chances of returning to the Jazz.

Hollis argues that the Jazz “probably won’t” win a title over the course of Hayward’s career and that the Warriors’ youth and makeup could result in some rather moot battles for conference supremacy over the course of the next half decade.

The scribe adds that a move to the Eastern Conference, then, could be more appealing for Hayward (or any free agent in a similar situation) where he wouldn’t need to worry about plateauing somewhere before the Finals as he may with the Jazz. Hollis does, however, recognize that winning the East still results in a seven-game showdown with the Warriors.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • A quick look through some of the big men the Nuggets have worked out reveals that the team could be aiming to improve their sub-optimal interior defense, Nick Kosmider of the Denver Post writes.
  • The Mavs aren’t afraid to search the globe for talent, writes Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. In the past month alone, team president Donnie Nelson and scout Tony Ronzone have been everywhere from Las Vegas to Iceland and Serbia.
  • The Spurs face a series of questions this offseason, Bobby Marks of the Vertical writes in his breakdown of the team’s summer agenda, including what to do with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

Spurs Notes: Ginobili, Hanga, Gasol, Mills

The end of the Spurs’ playoff run puts Manu Ginobili in a familiar position of deciding whether he wants to return for another season, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Ginobili, who will turn 40 in July, received two standing ovations late in Monday’s game from Spurs fans, who understood that it may have been his last night in the NBA. After 15 seasons, Ginobili said he will be in no hurry to decide if he wants another one. “I always wanted to let it sink in for three weeks, four weeks, whatever,” Ginobili said. “Then I will sit with my wife and see how it feels.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich recognized the magnitude of the moment, giving Ginobili his first start in three years. Ginobili responded with a 15-point, seven-assist performance that showed he might still have a future in the NBA. “It may or may not be the last game he ever plays in,” Popovich said. “I did not want to miss the opportunity to honor him in front of our home fans.”

There’s more news as the offseason begins in San Antonio:

  • Ginobili is among several veteran free agents on the roster, and the Spurs expect most of them to return next season, McDonald notes in the same story. Patty Mills and Jonathon Simmons will both be free agents this summer, although Simmons will be restricted, and Pau Gasol, David Lee and Dewayne Dedmon all have player options for 2017/18. LaMarcus Aldridge said the team still has unfinished business to address. “To get here with so many new guys and so much new transition going on, it’s not a bad season,” he said. “I don’t think guys are satisfied with it. To get to the conference finals wasn’t our goal.”
  • If Ginobili retires, the Spurs will consider bringing over Adam Hanga to replace him, tweets international basketball writer David Pick. The Hungarian swingman was named Defensive Player of the Year in the Euroleague. San Antonio has owned his rights since drafting him with the 59th choice in 2011.
  • Gasol sounds like his mind is already made up about returning, relays Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Gasol, who turns 37 in July, signed a two-year contract last summer that includes a nearly $16.2MM option for next season. “I look forward to continuing to grow” in San Antonio’s system, he said after Monday’s game.
  • Mills plans to consider his options carefully before free agency starts, tweets Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News. Mills, 28, has spent the past six years in San Antonio and made close to $3.6MM this season.

Western Notes: Ginobili, Malone, Anderson

Manu Ginobili has not yet made a decision on whether or not he will play during the 2017/18 season, but nothing that happens during this year’s playoff run with the Spurs will impact his choice, Jeff McDonald of Spurs Nation relays.

“I’m not going to say it’s irrelevant, but pretty close,” Ginobili said. “Winning or not winning is not going to change what I decide to do in the future.”

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Nuggets should afford coach Mike Malone at least one more season to get the team into the playoffs, Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post opines. The scribe acknowledges that Malone had a role in Jusuf Nurkic not reaching his potential on the team, but adds that the coach deserves credit for the development of Nikola Jokic, Gary Harris, and Jamal Murray.
  • Ryan Anderson, who signed with the Rockets last summer, believes the team’s chemistry is a major reason why Houston has been able to have success this season, Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle writes. “Chemistry goes a long way in this league, and it’s very rare to play on a team where everybody really enjoys their time together,” Anderson said. “Everybody is a piece of a puzzle, and it feels good to come to a team where you know you’re making a difference, and you’re having fun along the way.”
  • Free agent acquisition Eric Gordon enjoys being on the Rockets. He believes that he’s a much better fit in Houston than he was on his previous team in New Orleans, as he tells Zwerneman (same piece). “This team has better chemistry and probably better players,” Gordon said of the Rockets.
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