Duncan won’t play elsewhere

Buck Harvey of Spurs Nation wrote this great piece about why Tim Duncan will stay in San Antonio. A MUST READ for all Spurs fans.

Tim Duncan has been the face of the Spurs franchise since his rookie year. He is one of the main reasons why San Antonio have won four (4) NBA titles.

Duncan won’t leave San Antonio as Peyton Manning did Indianapolis.

For one, Duncan won’t wear a suit and tie and field questions on live television.

He’d play until he was 60 to avoid that.

But he also won’t face what Manning did Wednesday, because everything is different for Duncan. From his sport to the economics to his franchise.

The Spurs will be careful this summer — when Duncan is as free as Manning is now.

The Colts made the right move this week. Various contractual and salary cap implications made Manning’s return to the Colts tricky, and Andrew Luck made it illogical.

But the Colts’ owner, Jim Irsay, was clumsy with an already combustible situation. He’s fired off tweets in the middle of the night, refuting both medical and media opinions, which is why he needed Wednesday’s press conference more than Manning did.

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Splitter, Ford might return to action, Spurs still have a lot of work to do

This article is cross-posted at Spurs Basketball

The San Antonio Spurs have outdid themselves during the first half of the season finishing with a 24-10 record, good for second-best in the West and TNT analyst Charles Barkley picked the Spurs over the weekend to win the Western Conference.

After missing 24 games this season, T.J. Ford might be able to play Wednesday night against the Chicago Bulls.

But it doesn’t mean the team is letting their guards down.

“I saw that,” Tony Parker said. “ But we have a lot of work to do and we need Manu Ginobili at 100 percent.

It’s like I told everybody at the All-Star break. We’re not going anywhere without Manu at 100 percent.

“Oklahoma City is a very, very good team. The Clippers are a very, very good. Dallas is good, too. We need everybody ready to go and at full strength. If not, we aren’t going to go anywhere.”

There is some good news too, the Spurs’ injury situation appears to be getting a little better (via Spurs Nation).

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Manu taking it easy, Ford still not ready

Manu Ginobili is still rounding into shape.

After missing 22 games with a broken left hand, San Antonio Spurs star guard Manu Ginobili is trying to play his way back into shape after his first three games since returning to action February 11 at New Jersey.

“I’m a little tired,” Ginobili said. “My legs are a little sore after the long lockout and the short training camp.” (Hat tip Spurs Nation)

Even before his injury, Ginobili said his conditioning suffered.

“In the four games before I got hurt, I wasn’t even there in great shape and sitting for 40 days didn’t help me,” Ginobili said. “That’s why I have to be patient, take it easy and let the game come to me slowly. I’m not looking forward to too many things, taking too many shots. Just let it come to me.”

With the Spurs’ depth, Ginobili said he doesn’t feel it’s necessary to rush back into the team’s offense.

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Spurs notes: Manu nearing return, TD on NBA’s Top 20 rebounding list and more

After missing 21 games this season, it looked like San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili will be returning to the Spurs line up pretty soon.

Manu could be back in San Antonio's lineup as early as next week, while Duncan is now on the NBA's Top 20 rebounding list.

According to Jeff McDonald of Spurs Nation, coach Gregg Popovich gave an optimistic assessment of his All-Star guard’s progress.

“The doctors say he’s healed and healthy,” Popovich said before the Spurs’ 89-84 win over the Grizzlies. “It’s just a matter of conditioning and timing, rhythm and confidence, all those things right now.

“I’d expect him in the next week or so.”

Ginobili has missed games since breaking his shooting hand last January 2 in Minnesota, an injury that required surgery.

“It just feels great to see him out here, doing teardrops and moving around,” Parker said. “Hopefully he can come back soon.”

When Ginobili does return, Popovich said he’s leaning toward bringing the former Sixth Man of the Year off the bench in order to ease him into game action.

The Spurs are 14-7 this season without Manu in the lineup.

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Spurs Nation: Spurs to retire Bowen’s No. 12

The San Antonio Spurs will retire Bowen's jersey on March 21.

As reported by Mike Monroe of Spurs Nation.

When the Spurs added Bruce Bowen to their roster for the 2001-02 season, it was not because they needed scoring.

Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Steve Smith and a teenage rookie named Tony Parker did plenty of that.

And Bowen?

“People said I couldn’t hit the side of a barn with a beach ball,” he said.

Nevertheless, Bowen started every game he played that season because he was the perimeter defender the Spurs needed to slow the game’s most gifted perimeter players.

Bowen earned the first of eight straight NBA All-Defensive honors that season, and on Monday the Spurs announced another honor for the 6-foot-7 forward from Cal State-Fullerton: He will be the seventh Spurs player to have his jersey number retired.

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Gary Neal could spend spot duty at point guard

With George Hill traded to the Indiana Pacers on draft night and San Antonio Spurs rookie Cory Joseph as the only backup to Tony Parker on the current roster, I played with the idea of the Spurs targeting J.J. Barea once the NBA season resumes.

While acquiring Barea might be unlikely, Jeff McDonald of Spurs Nation wrote about the possibility of Gary Neal playing at the point.

With the Spurs thin on point guard rotation, coach Gregg Popovich will likely ask Neal to log spot duty at point guard.

But instead of spending the summer in the gym with Spurs development coach Chad Forcier, as Hill did between his rookie and sophomore campaigns, Neal has been left to figure out the nuances of a new position on his own.

“I feel like I have the ability to play point,” Neal said. “I’ve always been a scorer. I just think for those 10 or 15 minutes where I get to play point guard, I just have to change my mind-set. Pass off the pick-and-roll, not shoot it.”

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Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard playing in Impact Basketball?

The NBA lockout has affected players’ progress because it prohibits them to use their team’s training facilities and it also wiped out the entire Summer League, which in previous years have helped aspiring players and NBA rookies to hone their craft and show their talent to coaches and prospective teams.

(Photo via Spurs Nation)

Last year, San Antonio Spurs’ Gary Neal virtually earned his spot on the Spurs roster because of the summer league.

This year, rookies don’t have the same privilege, but young Spurs players like Kawhi Leonard might get another chance.

Impact Basketball, one of the top basketball training sites in the world, will launch their own league in September stocked with NBA-level players.

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Ginobili ranked among the NBA’s most underrated shooting guards

Tim Griffin of Spurs Nation wrote this piece about Manu Ginobili as being one of the NBA’s most underrated shooting guards.

Manu Ginobili has earned three NBA championship rings, an Olympic gold medal and likely is headed to the Basketball Hall of Fame after his career ends as one of the greatest players in history.

Despite all that acclaim, Ginobili still might be one of the more underrated players in NBA history.

Playing in the shadow of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker will do that. But the wise observers at ESPN.com’s 5-on-5 roundtable aren’t discounting Ginobili.

Chris Palmer ranks Ginobili as the league’s fourth-best shooting guard, ranking only behind Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Monta Ellis.

Here’s what he had to say about Ginobili in his summation:

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Spurs games to watch in 2011-12

The NBA released the schedule for the 2011-12 season as if  there is no lockout. Jeff McDonald of Spurs Nation suggested these must-see Spurs games.

But don’t get too excited, encircle these dates in pencil because the NBA labor crisis is still nowhere near a resolution, meaning some of these games, if not all could be cancelled.

Click here for the Spurs’ complete schedule.

Nov. 2 — The Spurs open the season at home against Milwaukee. The last time the Bucks visited the AT&T Center, Manu Ginobili sank them with a buzzer beater.

Nov. 4 – First visit of the season from the Dallas Mavericks, who much to the chagrin of folks in San Antonio can now add “defending NBA champions” to their official title. The Spurs also face the Mavs on Jan. 29 and March 17 in  Dallas and on April 8 again at home.

Nov. 9 — First of two visits out west to take on Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. After this, Spurs won’t face Lakers again until April, when they close the season by playing two of the final four games against their West Coast rivals.

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Spurs Nation: Manu talks retirement

Jeff McDonald of Spurs Nation wrote this piece about Ginobili talking about retirement.

Manu Ginobili talks about retirement

As if the NBA lockout hasn’t been hard enough on basketball fans, Thursday afternoon brought another bummer to Spurs faithful.

Manu Ginobili talking about his basketball mortality.

In an interview with an Argentine website, Ginobili says he isn’t necessarily committed to calling it quits once his current contract expires after the 2012-13 season, but he does recognize the reality that time is not on his side.

He will be 36 years old then, a ripe old age for an NBA shooting guard. It isn’t a stretch to assume that could be Ginobili’s final season in silver and black.

Loosed from the rigors of an NBA job, Ginobili would finally be free to pursue full-time his true passion: Pest control.

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