If you listen to the Spurscast on a regular basis, you know I been very outspoken about trading Manu one to two years ago while his value was high. Of course I got flack from Mike and listeners saying I was crazy. Mike also didn’t like how I called Manu “Damaged Goods” when it was very appropriate because it didn’t take a genius to see his body was wearing down and trading him then would have been great for the Spurs “youth movement”. They could have wrangled some high draft picks or a younger player.
Now here we are, news coming out Manu is done for the rest of the season leaving the “Big 3″ to a “Big 2″ and the hopes of going deep into the playoffs are shaky at best. I said time and time again, his decision to play in the Olympics was a horrible decision, the Spurs rely too much on him offensively, and you hear it yourself how much Spurs players and coaching staff openly admit they need his spark. Hell they were after Vince Carter this season. If that didn’t speak loudly about the condition of Manu then I don’t know what would.
What to do now? Well what I can do is tell you what I would have done differently. Manu “Damaged Goods” Ginobili would have been traded 1 or 2 seasons ago for some high draft picks or a legit big man. Had that trade with the Hornets gone down for JR Smith then by all means Manu would be out of San Antonio. Hell if the Spurs gave James White more time on the floor then defintely Manu would have been traded. Also I would have “cautioned” Manu not to play in the Olympics and it would be in his best interest to rest.
Yes it would have been painful to see Manu leave but the long term goal is to get younger. This is where Finely, Vaughn, Bowen, Oberto and possibly Udoka would have been traded or let go and replaced with the promising players the Spurs had such as Darius Washington, James White, and James Gist.
Trading or letting Manu walk would have made the Spurs fans cry and bitch like they did when Rose was traded to the Knicks but that trade paid off in a title. You got to keep that in mind when I said Manu had to be traded a while back. It was only to better long term goals rather than the short term goals. Put loyalty aside and focus on how the Spurs would have been better with what any team would have given the Spurs for Manu. Oh and for the Manu loyalists out there, loyalty belongs to the TEAM not to one player.
Now what to do? Here is what I would do. 1. Come to grips that the Spurs hopes for a 5th ring is out of the question this year. 2. Develop Mason and Hill with the minutes freed up. 3. DO NOT RESIGN MANU WHEN HE IS A FREE AGENT! LET HIM WALK OR TRADE HIM FOR YOUTH! It’s time to move on without him and might as well face it, Manu may be done in San Antonio.
So let the hate mail come and by the way. . . . I told you so!