Manu Ginobili has decided opt out of his current contract for the 2016/17 season, according to the Vertical. But he's "leaning toward playing next season," according to sources.
While Ginobili had been expected to exercise his option, by opting out he potentially frees up money for the Spurs to pursue other free agents, as they could renounce him and re-sign him at a lower salary. Ginobili would have been on the books for $2.9 million, a very reasonable amount considering he was still a productive player last season, but still almost twice what he would get if he agrees to sign for the minimum.
Whether Tim Duncan will decline his player option as well is unknown. While Ginobili opting out has a small effect on the Spurs' cap numbers, Duncan't decision could really make an impact on San Antonio's free agency options, as he is slated to make $6.3 million next year. If he opts in, that would put the Spurs at $82 million in committed salary with the cap projected to be set at $92 million. That's simply not enough money to make a big time addition.
There will be time to worry about cap figures. We won't know whether Ginobili or Duncan will play another year or not for a few more days but at least we know that on June 22, Manu was not certain he would retire. I count that as a positive, because it means he could still decide to return.
The next few days will be busy. David West has already declined his player option but the deadline for Tim Duncan to make a decision is June 29. The deadline to guarantee Boris Diaw's contract in full is June 30. On July 1, the moratorium starts.
Manu Ginobili averaged nine points, two rebounds, three assists and one steal per game last season while shooting 45 percent from the floor and 39 percent from beyond the arc.