The 36-year-old confirmed that he will be returning next season for the final year of his two-year contract, per Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News:
Manu finished with: "My idea is to honor the 2-year deal I signed last year." So Manu's in, Pop said he plans to return, Tim? #Spurs— Jabari Young (@jabari_young) June 17, 2014
After 12 years with the Spurs, Ginobili could have easily called it quits following the huge win over the Miami Heat in the Finals. But with the contract he signed prior to the season allotting him one more year, the Argentinian has decided to stick around for one more run.
Following the Finals win, Ginobili expressed his excitement via his personal Twitter account:
NBA CHAMPS AGAIN!! So happy and proud of this team! What an incredible feeling! Thank you all for your support.— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) June 16, 2014
Despite his age, Ginobili showed no signs of slowing down this season.
The two-time All-Star and 2007-08 Sixth Man of the Year notched an average of 12.3 points, 4.3 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. While the points and rebounds are slightly down, he had more assists than his career average in 2014 and shined in the postseason yet again.
This is obviously a huge change from what Ginobili felt last season, as Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated notes:
Around this time a year ago, Ginobili was trapped in his own head, dwelling in defeat as he wondered if his NBA career was over. Now he stands triumphant over the defending champions and basketball’s living memory. What’s past is prologue, and what to come in Manu’s discharge.
After the huge run, Ginobili might just be the first piece of the puzzle returning for the Spurs. Tim Duncan could be the next player to return to the star-studded roster, but there are talks he might just call it quits after a brilliant 17-year career in San Antonio.
The veteran lineup is strong, but convincing Duncan and Tony Parker to return might prove difficult for San Antonio. Even after announcing he would stick around, Ginobili added a small tidbit to reporters, via Young:
Manu said he'd return, paused, then added unless something dramatic happens...Thinking if Tim/Tony are gone, then he walks #Spurs— Jabari Young (@jabari_young) June 17, 2014
With another championship banner hanging in the rafters—the franchise's fifth—the future still looks bright even without the veteran leaders. Kawhi Leonard rose to the occasion and earned Finals MVP, while Boris Diaw and Danny Green proved once again they can hit big shots when called upon.
Ginobili returning could key the comeback for the rest of the big three. Regardless, the dynasty in San Antonio will remain strong, and with Gregg Popovich still leading the roster, anything is possible.
Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.