Things just keep getting better this summer for the San Antonio Spurs.
A year removed from their last NBA championship, the team made a rare big-name free agent splash over the weekend, adding an in-his-prime superstar in LaMarcus Aldridge to pair with two re-signed young studs, 2014 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and three-and-D threat Danny Green. Oh, and some guy named Tim Duncan decided to return last week. So looks like ol’ Timmy will be playing out his career’s remaining days on a frightening contender, right?
That’s even more the case now that his buddy Manu Ginobili is back in the fold.
The hashtag says it all. Indeed, Duncan would have missed his longtime running mate had Ginobili opted to not come back for at least one more rodeo. Ditto for Coach Gregg Popovich and the other spoke of the team’s “Big Three,” Tony Parker. The Spurs had reportedly been expecting an announcement of Ginobili’s return, likely coming from an Argentinean newspaper, but instead they received the above tweet.
Returning for his 14th season with the Spurs, the veteran guard, who will be 38 when the season begins, isn’t quite the same slithery threat to attack the paint that he used to be. But he can still provide much-needed firepower off the bench, a key component in a contender’s arsenal.
An endlessly crafty and creative scorer and passer with a second-nature feel for Popovich’s system, Ginobili tends to be at his most dangerous in the playoffs. And after the Spurs fell to the Clippers on Chris Paul’s Game 7 dagger in this year’s first round, Ginobili likely wants a different final chapter for his career.
With Aldridge, Leonard, Duncan, Parker, Green and Popovich all saddling up for a title run, the lure of yet another ring was probably too great for Ginobili to pass up.
UPDATE: The Spurs just landed even more depth (seriously, this is getting crazy) by signing veteran big man David West, per David Aldridge.
West was Chris Paul’s primary target in New Orleans, where he was an all-star in 2008 and 2009, before becoming a critical emotional leader on Indiana’s teams that routinely tested the LeBron James-led Heat in the playoffs. In San Antonio, West will likely help keep Duncan’s minutes down by providing toughness and veteran savvy off the bench. And yes, as Aldridge notes above, the soon-to-be 35-year-old left a lot of money on the table to chase a ring with these guys.
Then there’s this:
Now we simply await the inevitable bump of San Antonio’s 2016 title odds from Vegas. In the meantime, enjoy the Popovich memes.