After losing franchise cornerstone Tim Duncan this offseason when the future Hall-of-Famer decided to retire after 19 seasons, the San Antonio Spurs came close to losing another of their aging stars.
To be sure, we don’t really know how close Manu Ginobili came to signing with the Philadelphia 76ers, before the Spurs awarded the veteran shooting guard with a lucrative contract that should keep him in silver and black as he plays out his career.
But, 76ers GM Bryan Colangelo put on a full court press in hopes of adding a veteran presence with championship experience to his young roster. Several reports claimed the Spurs came back with a second offer to Ginobili after the 76ers, armed with a boatload of cap space, made a rich offer to the 14-year veteran.
Colangelo was recently on an episode of The Vertical podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski and talked about Ginobili being a great fit for the franchise.
“One of the things that you can look at when you look at someone like Manu in general, he’s a culture beast. He would’ve been a nice fit for us. It was a situation where the team was lacking leadership, and we did end up finding some of that in a Jerryd Bayless and Gerald Henderson, and Elton Brand coming back,” Colangelo told Wojnarowski.
Colangelo also said that 76ers head coach and former Spurs assistant, Brett Brown, was hesitant at the idea of going after Ginobili.
“He was not entirely comfortable the entire time we were talking about it, but at the end of the day, he realized and knew what this organization needed,” Colangelo said. “But Manu Ginobili would have been a nice piece and there were certainly some moments of hesitation on Brett’s part. I’m happy for the Spurs that they were able to retain him. I’m happy for Manu that he was able to be rewarded for a lot of what he did, but it was an interesting dynamic to say the least.”
While the 76ers missed out on Ginobili, that doesn’t mean he won’t make an impact on the team.
According to Philly.com via Nick Moyle of the San Antonio Express-News, Brown tasked guard Nik Stauskas with watching video of Ginobili. It’s all part of Brown’s plan to move Stauskas into more of a playmaker’s role and give him more ball-handling responsibilities, especially with recent injuries.
“Also, his playmaking ability—he was a great passer. He would get into the lane and throw passes to his teammates and make plays—not to mention he could shoot the ball, too. Just seeing all those different things, that’s something I can aspire to.”
Stauskas may have a continually-growing library of Ginobili highlights with Ginobili recently saying he has no time frame in mind for retirement.