On Thursday, not a month after Manu Ginobili turned 40 years old, the shooting guard signed a fully guaranteed two-year deal worth $5 million to return to the San Antonio Spurs for season no. 16, per Shams Charania of The Vertical.
Ginobili announced on Twitter in July that he was planning to return, despite the send-off in the playoffs from fans who thought he might retire. Ending there would’ve sent him out on a high note, as Manu transformed into an earlier (and springier) version of himself in the postseason. Ginobili sealed a Game 5 win in overtime against Houston by blocking James Har — who am I kidding? You remember this:
Against the Warriors in the conference finals, Ginobili put up solid performances, going for 17, 21, and 15 points, before San Antonio was knocked out by the eventual champions. It was an aberration when compared to the regular season, when the beloved Argentine averaged the fewest points, trips to the line, and minutes of his career.
If Ginobili plays the two years he re-signed for, he’ll be the sixth-oldest player in the NBA in history. Vince Carter, who just signed a one-year deal with the Sacramento Kings, has a few months on the Spurs legend, and from the looks of last season —
—doesn’t plan on throwing out his bottled Fountain of Youth stash anytime soon. Of the two, Manu looks less likely to be in the league in 2019, but San Antonio is an organization that appreciates such veteran presence. Which, pending Jason Terry’s outcome in free agency, makes Gino the only remaining selection from the 1999 draft still in the league. The Spurs are a team to grow old with — in NBA years, of course.