It’s been three years since San Antonio legend Manu Ginobli last suited up for Spurs inside AT&T Arena.
Now, though, fans of the Spurs may be seeing more and more of the four-time NBA champion and two-time All-Star after the team announced Ginobli was joining the front office in a player development-centric role.
ESPN Sources: Manu Ginobili is returning to the San Antonio Spurs as a special advisor to basketball operations. Ginobili will take on a player-centric role that’s focused on the development of players on and off the court.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 24, 2021
Ginobli already made an indellible mark in San Antonio during his 15 years under Gregg Popovich’s tutelage and had his No. 20 retired by the team in March of 2019.
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Ginobili teamed up with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker to form one of the most formidable and successful trios ever, winning more games than any other trio in NBA history. Ginobili played a large role on four of San Antonio’s five title teams, winning championships in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014 as part of a Spurs dynasty that spanned two decades.
Duncan and Ginobli spent their entire NBA careers with the Spurs, while Parker spent his final season playing 56 games in Charlotte during the 2018-19 season before retiring.
So far, both Duncan and now Ginobli have returned to the Spurs in various capacities.
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Whether it’s purely a nostalgia play on the part of the Spurs or if Ginobli will be a long term fixture in the team’s front office, hopefully Ginobli’s tenure goes better than Duncan’s did.
Duncan originally joined the Spurs staff as an assistant coach in 2019 and even served as acting head coach for a game where the Spurs won 104-103, but after the win, Duncan said he had no intentions of becoming a full-time head coach.
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He ultimately stepped down as an assistant coach after just one season on the job and returned to the team to provide support in the area of player development.
The Spurs’ Tim Duncan is stepping away from full-time coaching after spending last season on the bench on Gregg Popovich’s staff, @NYTSports has learned
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 11, 2020
The Spurs open their season Oct. 20 hosting Orlando and are coming off a season last year where they failed to qualify for the postseason and finished with a losing record for the first time since the 1996-97 season, Gregg Popovich’s first at the helm.