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News » Equation changes, Ginobili doesn't

Equation changes, Ginobili doesn't

Equation changes, Ginobili doesn't His agent was talking earlier in the day, about how it was just a matter of waiting.

"We can't push it," Herb Rudoy was saying. "When they are ready to talk, they will talk."

So he waits, as does Manu Ginobili, as do the Spurs . And probably every night, the equation changes.

But something isn't changing, and that's Ginobili. He followed a 36-point game against Toronto with a more cautious game against Dallas, and the motivation had little to do with his pending free agency.

Anyone who knows him knows that.

There are other sides to this, and Dallas has one. Erick Dampier has another year left on a contract considerably stronger than his game, but he has to meet an incentive to trigger that final year. He has to average at least 30 minutes over 70 games, and that's unlikely to happen.

Surprise, then. After years of slogging around the league, Dampier grabbed 20 rebounds in Houston and is looking alive again. In NBA parlance, this is called "playing for a contract."

Ginobili is not against earning a nice income. Last summer, when the Spurs traded for Richard Jefferson, he and Rudoy were both concerned with how the Spurs' economics might impact his future in San Antonio.

Their concern was shared with the Spurs . But the Spurs had their reasons to wait, given Ginobili's history.

What the Spurs did made sense. But it wouldn't have been a stretch for someone with Ginobili's record to feel slighted.

Hadn't he won three rings for the Spurs ? Isn't he, by most measures, the most popular player in San Antonio? And didn't he agree to the current deal without leveraging another team against the Spurs ?

Instead, there wasn't the hint of a Stephen Jackson pout. "I have a very mature client," Rudoy said. "He just wants to go about his business."

Ginobili has, and with the same emotions. Wednesday night, Ginobili picked up the 10th technical foul of his career, which isn't many. He also says two of them were later rescinded.

What's noteworthy is that three of them have come against Dallas. Is it something about the Mavericks?

"I think it is," he said. "It's a rivalry, and it gets rough."

This time, Ginobili gave Dirk Nowitzki a push, something he said he regretted. But Ginobili couldn't get as rough as he would have liked.

With his right hamstring tightening in the second half, he didn't drive. He ran the offense, trying to find holes in the Dallas zone. Jefferson, with 29 points, earned his salary.

"I don't want to miss any more games," Ginobili said, smiling. "I'm a little paranoid."

This is the biggest part of the contract equation. If there were any guarantees that he would remain healthy, the Spurs would sign him today.

This is a sticky negotiation for the Spurs , too. The Toronto game suggests Ginobili's package of skills remain, and a few moments against Dallas said the same.

He put together back-to-back 3-pointers in the second quarter when the Spurs began to pull away. And at the end of the half, with Jason Kidd pressuring, his 3-pointer fell as the buzzer sounded.

The Spurs know what this guy means to the franchise, and they know how the city would react if he leaves. Rudoy seems to understand the leverage he will have.

"If Manu becomes a free agent," he said, "I will be getting phone calls on July 1. Of that I am certain."

The Spurs can sign him anytime until then. So now everyone waits, and the same player who squeezes through painful cracks to make plays, who gambled with his future in Beijing and who likes winning will remain the same player.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 13, 2009


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