Even off the floor Emanuel David Ginobili continued to be an enigma trapped inside a riddle hidden inside a cookie you can't erase from your browser history no matter how much anti-malware software you buy. We're only a few days from the start of free agency and while Tim Duncan has left all sorts of little hints for us to signal his intention to play another year at least, the same can't be said of his Argentine wing-man.
After Game 6 against the Clippers, I was all but certain Ginobili was going to hang 'em up. After Game 7 though, he left the door open, which surprised me. A couple days after that, Gregg Popovich said in an interview that he expected both Duncan and Ginobili to return. Manu then penned a column for La Nacion where it sure seemed like he conceded that he'll probably return if Duncan does. Then last week, before leaving for China on a promotional trip, Tony Parker told the Express-News that he expects his "Big Three" teammates to come back.
Against my cynical nature, I was starting to gain some optimism that maybe Duncan and co. will convince him to play one more year.
An update from Mike Monroe of the Express-News has me leaning back the other day, however. Ginobili told Monroe that he will announce, exclusively in another self-penned column for La Nacion, what his decision is, "When the time comes."
I'm sure the Spurs have communicated to him that they need word relatively soon since free agency starts Tuesday at midnight, though obviously they wouldn't want to pressure such an important decision. One avenue that's potentially available to them, unlike with Duncan, would be to simply renounce Ginobili regardless of whether he's ready to make a decision or not. As Jesus Gomez pointed out, they can re-sign him with the room exception even if they're over the cap. Duncan's contract will be more lucrative than that, so he'll have to sign as early as possible to knock his exorbitant cap hold off the books.
My concern is that one in Ginobili's position wouldn't feel the need to write a column to explain why he intends to return as expected. Making an exclusive announcement, not even by interview but from his own keyboard, sounds like a momentous, dramatic thing. In the past Ginobili has written to explain why he's not playing in international tournaments and why he's retiring from the team. My inclination is that retiring from the Spurs would come about in a similar fashion, though hopefully I'm wrong.
Gomez pointed out to me that Ginobili used La Nacion to announce his return in the summer of 2013 amid speculation that he was set to retire after a crummy Finals, so maybe I'm way off on how I'm interpreting this.
What do you think he's going to do, Pounders?