After announcing his retirement from international basketball, it seems Manu Ginobili is also planning on leaving the NBA and the San Antonio Spurs once the 2017 season ends. According to reports, his retirement from playing for Argentina serves as a precursor of his departure from the league.
Ginobili officially announced his retirement from international basketball last week after Team Argentina suffered a major loss at the hands of Team USA. After that match, the athlete got emotional as he said goodbye to his national team.
"An amazing journey," he said according to the Washington Post. "I've been so lucky to have the opportunity to play four times in this type of event. Very successfully sometimes. Sometimes, not quite."
"But anyways competing at the highest level," he added. "Enjoying what my team did and taking a lot from it. I learned a lot. It was an unbelievable experience."
Like Ginobili, his Spurs teammate Tony Parker also retired from international basketball after France was eliminated by Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Although Parker is still determined to continue playing for San Antonio for a long time, it seems Ginobili is about to enter his final year with the team.
As noted by Sportsrageous, Ginobili previously signed a 1-year contract with the Spurs that's worth $14 million. This move strongly suggests that he's not considering returning to the league after next offseason.
Parker also hinted about Ginobili's exit from the Spurs after he announced his retirement from Team France.
"I'm happy that Manu got one more year, so it's not everybody at the same time," he said according to ESPN. "That day will come too, and then my day will come. It's just life."
"I think there's a lot of great guys - it was a great 10 years with Kobe [Bryant] and Shaq [O'Neal] and all the rivalries and stuff like that - but everything comes to an end," he added.
Retiring from the Spurs will most likely be a major event for both Ginobili and San Antonio especially since he's been with the team since he debuted in the NBA in 2002. Like the team's other celebrated veteran Tim Duncan, Ginobili has been known as one of the main pillars of the team.